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Virginia Tech knows you’re not talking about their team. That only adds fuel

Virginia Tech guard Georgia Amoore celebrates after the Hokies defeated Tennessee in the Sweet 16 of the 2023 NCAA women's basketball tournament (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Virginia Tech might have a “No. 1” next to its name for the 2023 NCAA women’s basketball tournament, but junior guard Georgia Amoore doesn’t think the Hokies have been getting enough love.

“I didn’t see a lot of positive stuff about us on social media, so that was a huge factor to it,” Amoore told ESPN’s Holly Rowe after scoring a career-high 29 points in Virginia Tech’s 73-64 win over Tennessee in the Sweet 16.

Head coach Kenny Brooks shared a similar sentiment ahead of his team’s Sweet 16 matchup. When asked how Virginia Tech was handling its status as the “favorite” against a storied program like Tennessee, he replied, “Favored by who? If you listen to the analysts, nobody’s favoring us.”

Brooks continued, calling out ESPN: “Heck, they gave us Andraya Carter, who is a Tennessee grad. She’s doing the game. And Rebecca Lobo is lurking around. She’s a UConn grad. So, no one’s picking us.”

Granted, it’s been a breakthrough season for Virginia Tech, which won its first ACC championship to earn a No. 1 seed in the 2023 NCAA tournament, another first. On Monday night, the Hokies will play in the Elite Eight, the deepest NCAA tournament run in program history. They tip off against No. 3 Ohio State at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Brooks has described his players as basketball junkies who read and watch as much about the sport as they can — even when those stories aren’t about them.

“I think they all saw the article that was on ESPN, is this the next chapter of Tennessee and UConn? They didn’t have to say a whole lot, but it just really motivated them and they understand that they belong as well,” Brooks said. “We might not have as much history as those programs, but these kids are helping to build our history with our program.”

“We definitely see it,” senior Elizabeth “Liz” Kitley said of the media’s blindspot. “We talk about it amongst ourselves in a motivating manner and like, if anything, it just fuels us.”

Even though the Virginia Tech might not have the same decorated history as UConn or Tennessee — and the recognition that comes with it — the Hokies understand that this season’s success could be the beginning of a new women’s basketball dynasty.

“They do know the magnitude of what a win would do for our program,” Brooks said.

“If you listen to Liz or Georgia or Cayla King, who’s been with me since the inception of us trying to turn this program around, I want it so bad for them, but they want it so bad for me. We won an ACC championship, and they’re like, ‘I’m so happy for you.’ And I’m like, ‘What do you mean happy for me?'”