BLACKSBURG — Georgia Amoore and Asiah Jones shined in their Virginia Tech debuts Wednesday.
Amoore and Jones combined for 36 points as the Hokies squashed Richmond 85-64 in their season opener at Cassell Coliseum.
“I felt like it was Christmas morning,” Tech coach Kenny Brooks said. “For the last couple weeks I’ve been looking at that … shiny present up underneath the tree and I had no idea what was in it. And then today I finally got to open that box.
“To see Asiah Jones finally with the lights turned on and Georgia with the lights turned on, I was very pleased.
“They actually did better than I was hoping.”
Amoore, a freshman point guard from Australia, scored a game-high 19 points in her college debut.
“It’s always scary going into the first game, … but I think overall it went really well,” Amoore said.
“I was so hesitant [in the first half], and the mistakes I was making [were] because I was trying to play perfect. And once I get in my rhythm and just play, it just comes.”
She had four 3-pointers, four assists and four turnovers.
“I could’ve had a lot less turnovers or a lot less sticking the ball to one side, but that’s also just going to come with chemistry and learning where people want to catch the ball,” Amoore said.
Amoore enrolled at Tech in January and sat out the rest of last season. Wednesday was the first time she had played in a game since a 3-on-3 game in August 2019.
“I was a little nervous because I had that long period of not playing, but as soon as that ball went up, it just felt like it was natural again.”
“She’s going to be a work in progress all year long,” Brooks said.
Jones, a fifth-year senior power forward, had 17 points in her Tech debut. She sat out last season after transferring from Southern Cal.
“It felt really good to get out there and play,” Jones said.
Jones, who averaged 4.7 points as a backup for Southern Cal two seasons ago, was 8 of 14 from the field Wednesday.
“[Sitting out] last year helped me so, so, so much,” Jones said. “Half the things that I was doing today, I wasn’t even comfortable or confident enough to do it when I first got to Virginia Tech. … [It was] just being comfortable enough to take certain shots and having the confidence to know that it’s going to go in.
“A lot of the moves I made today, I learned those over the last year as well. So my offensive game has really elevated since I’ve been at Virginia Tech.”
Jones helped provide Tech with a 1-2 punch inside.
Tech center Elizabeth Kitley, who was named the ACC freshman of the year last season, had 15 points and 17 rebounds.
“They were doubling Liz, so that means I was open. … So I was just trying to capitalize,” Jones said.
Richmond was without five players, including one starter, because of injury and contact tracing reasons.
“We were missing a few kids and just had to play small, and that made it a tall order against a team like that,” Richmond coach Aaron Roussell said. “I didn’t mean that as an excuse.”
All five of Tech’s starters scored in double figures.
Aisha Sheppard had 15 points and five 3-pointers, while Cayla King added 11 points and three 3-pointers.
“They overplayed Shep and they overplayed Cayla, so the more I drove, the more defense stopped and then I had kick-outs,” Amoore said.
The Hokies sank 12 3-pointers against Richmond’s zone defense, while the Spiders made just five 3-pointers.
“They’ve just got so many shooters,” Roussell said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well today and we got outscored by 21 at the [3-point] arc, and we lost by 21.”
Kate Klimkiewicz had 14 points for the Spiders, who shot just 38.3% from the field and 20% from 3-point range.
“When you’re not getting a whole lot at the basket because of their length, it puts some pressure on you to make 3s,” Roussell said.
Tech got only eight points from its bench.
“We need more production from our bench,” Brooks said.
The game was played one day after Brooks’ four-year contract extension was announced. He is now under contract through the 2025-26 season.
“It just makes me happy because this is home. I want to be here,” said Brooks, in his fifth season at Tech. “We can build something very special here. And now we’ve got the backing and the support; we can move forward.”