Trip to Sweet 16 on the line as Virginia Tech prepares for No. 9 South Dakota State

Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 3:46 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - History will be on the line Sunday evening as the Virginia Tech Women’s Basketball Team has a chance to advance to the Sweet 16 for the second time in program history and the first time since 1999.

The number 9 seeded South Dakota State Jack Rabbits stand in the way of a trip to Seattle, Wa.

“They play really, really hard,” Virginia Tech Senior Forward Elizabeth Kitley Said. “We definitely have to be ready for that and match their physicality on offense and defense, because they’re definitely gonna come out punching.”

The Hokies spent Saturday recovering from their first round matchup and preparing for the Jack Rabbits.

“They’re a hardworking team,” Virginia Tech Forward Taylor Soule said. “They’re gritty, they’re determined, but so are we, so are all the teams that are playing right now, and so that’s how you got to play in March and so similar to them, we’re gonna go out there and play hard play together, have fun, especially with the home game and get the W.”

“They’re well coached,” Virginia Tech Head Coach Kenny Brooks said. “They understand what they want to do. They’re hard nosed, they’re going to get after it and we understand that.”

Soule says she will be ready to play in the second round after leaving Friday’s game in the third quarter.

“It was just cramping,” she said. Honestly, everyone in the program does a great job making sure we’re hydrated but sometimes you’re playing hard and you can’t always get the fluids you need.”

Even as the number one seed, Brooks says his squad knows it can’t overlook any opponent.

“They know that they’re not just going to be able to walk through anything regardless of what the number is beside you, and the teams that are left are always going to be good so they’re not overlooking them,” he said. “They know that if we’re going to win the basketball game we’re going to have to play extremely well; we’re going to have to play hard and we’re going to have to play disciplined basketball.”

Tipoff for Virginia Tech and South Dakota State is set for Sunday at 5 p.m. with a trip to Seattle on the line.

For Tech’s seniors, this will be the last game inside Cassell Coliseum and it will be in front of a sold out crowd.