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Elizabeth Kitley hits game-winner to stun No. 3 NC State

BLACKSBURG, VIRGINIA - JANUARY 7: Elizabeth Kitley #33 of the Virginia Tech Hokies shoots over Mimi Collins #2 of the NC State Wolfpack in the first half during a game at Cassell Coliseum on January 7, 2024 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan Hunt/Getty Images)

Elizabeth Kitley delivered big on Sunday, helping No. 13 Virginia Tech upset previously undefeated No. 3 NC State with a last-second layup.

The layup came off of a cross-court inbound pass from Cayla King, leaving less than a second left for NC State to respond and avoid the upset. But the Wolfpack were unable to deny the Hokies of their victory.

Kitley finished with 27 points for Virginia Tech, who rallied from a 13-point deficit in the second half for their seventh-straight win. It was also their 19th straight win at home.

“I think we’ve gone over that play multiple times in practice,” Georgia Amoore said, calling the play “Old Faithful.” “And you know, Cayla has great vision and great accuracy with that pass, and I knew that it’s worked before. So, I was very, very confident.”

“Coach [Kenny] Brooks is really good in those situations, and he had something in his back pocket,” Kitley said. “Cayla had an absolute dime of a pass and it ended up working out for us.”

The Hokies’ coach said the team “needed” the win after two early season losses to ranked opponents.

“We just kind of like dug in and said, ‘Hey, we’re not trying to prove anybody wrong,” Brooks said. “We’re just going to continue to prove ourselves right,’ and that worked for us last year, and it continues to work for us.”

“It came down to just willing yourself to win,” he added. “A game like that, a win like that, is like feeding a monster because I think people are going to continue to come back.”

For the Wolfpack, it was their first loss this season. It also leaves just three undefeated teams left in women’s college basketball: No. 1 South Carolina, No. 2 UCLA and No. 6 Baylor.

“I think the heartbreaking thing is we have a lot of respect for their program, and you’re two seconds away from beating them on the road,” NC State coach Wes Moore said. “That’s heartbreaking. As a coach, you think I could have done something different, and we’d have won that game.”