Lady Hokies tabbed to finish second in the league

Virginia Tech Hokies center Elizabeth Kitley (33) shoots a jump shot during a NCAA basketball game between the Davidson Wildcats and the Virginia Tech Hokies at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Virginia. Brian Bishop/The Patriot

Elizabeth Kitley picked as ACC’s preseason Player of the Year

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced its preseason awards Wednesday afternoon with Virginia Tech seniors Elizabeth Kitley and Ashley Owusu and graduate student Taylor Soule earning accolades. Kitley was chosen to repeat as ACC Player of the Year, while Owusu and Soule each were included on the All-ACC Team. Owusu is also on the Newcomer Watch List.

This marks the first time that VT has placed three athletes on the preseason All-ACC team.

Kitley was amongst the league leaders in scoring (18.1), rebounds (9.8), blocks (2.4) and FG% (.551) throughout the season. Her 15 double-doubles led the conference as did her 13 games of 20 or more points. She scored 34 twice and finished the year with a 42-point performance in the NCAA Tournament, the second-most ever scored in the opening round of the competition. She recorded four or more blocks in nine different contests. Her 237 made field goals set a program record for a single season. She ranks ninth all-time at VT in scoring (1,410), fifth in rebounds (800) and third in blocks (187).

Her numerous accolades from last season include: AP All-America Third Team, Kay Yow Scholar Athlete of the Year, Finalist for the Lisa Leslie Award, Semifinalist for the Naismith Award, WBCA All-American, USBWA Third Team All-American and First Team All-ACC and All-Defensive Team.

Nine ACC women’s basketball athletes have won Player of the Year two or more times and on each occasion they did so in consecutive seasons.

Owusu, who transferred from Maryland, scored over 1,200 points in three seasons with the Terrapins. For her career, Owusu averages 14.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game and also shoots 76% from the free throw line. In 2021-22, Owusu averaged 14.3 points per game, 3.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists while shooting 42% from the field. She scored in double figures in 20 of 27 games played and registered eight 20-point games, scoring a season-high 30 points vs. Stanford in November.

The Woodbridge, Virginia native was the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award winner in 2021, and has been an AP All-American twice in addition to numerous other accolades including being a two-time Big Ten Tournament MVP.

She is also on the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Watch List this season.

Soule competed for the past four seasons at Boston College where she recorded 1,500 points and earned All-ACC honors in each of the past three years, including a Second Team nod in 2021-22 after averaging 16 points and 5.5 rebounds in 32 minutes of action per contest for the Eagles.

This past season, Soule led BC to a 21-12 record (10-8 in ACC) as they reached the Round of 16 in the WNIT. She scored in double figures in 30 games, posted 20 points or more nine times and dropped a career-high 33 in the penultimate game of the season vs Quinnipiac.

For her 123-game career, Soule averages 13.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and shoots .504 from the field. The West Lebanon, New Hampshire native owns 17 career double-doubles and has started in 102 games.

The Hokies are the first team since Notre Dame in 2018-19 to place three or more athletes on the preseason All-ACC Team.

Tech was picked second in the league, representing the highest predicted order of finish for the program since VT joined the ACC in 2004.

Last season the Hokies went 23-10 setting numerous records including ACC regular season wins (13) and ranked wins (five) in addition to reaching the semifinals of the ACC Tournament for the first time.

-Virginia Tech