Knee Injury Leads to Tears on the Bench for 2x ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley, Resulting in Narrow Loss

Published 03/04/2024, 6:38 AM EST

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On March 3, Georgia Amoore, with her 39, scored a single-game Virginia Tech record for an ACC contest. While that should’ve been a cause for celebration for the No.5 ranked Hokies, the night ended in disappointment based on two accounts.

Coming into the contest against the Virginia Cavaliers, the Hokies had put on quite an impressive season with an overall record of 23 wins and 5 losses and a conference record of 14-3. However, this game didn’t turn out to be that fruitful for Elizabeth Kitley’s side as they fell against the Cavaliers in a close 75-80 upset. But that wasn’t the only disappointment.

As March Madness comes ever closer, the team will need its star player, Elizabeth Kitley. However, after the game last night, things might not be looking good for Virginia Tech. In the third quarter, when the Hokies were trailing 39-41, Kitley suffered a sudden non-contact lower extremity injury. She went for a layup, and just as she made it, the two-time ACC Player of the Year hit the floor and clutched her left knee in agony.

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Her teammates and officials ran up to her, and she was helped off the floor to the bench. With tears in her eyes, all she could do was sit and watch the rest of the game play out. Following the loss, the Hokies’ head coach, Kenny Brooks, shared very few details about Kitley’s situation. When asked about the extent of his star player’s injury, he revealed, I don’t know Kitley’s status, and to be honest with you, that’s where my mind is. I’m not going to be able to give you guys anything just out of respect for her.” 

Expressing what he felt when he watched Kitley hit the floor – and the injury’s repercussions – Brooks added, “The air got sucked out of my sail. Because, you know, she’s everything to us. She’s more than a player. She’s more than 22 and 11 for us.” Notably, the 22-year-old was fouled by the Virginia Cavaliers’ Taylor Lauterbach before hitting the floor.

In her 22 minutes on the court, Kitley had 20 points, 9 rebounds, and an assist. Her 6-foot-6 stance makes her a force to be reckoned with, as the Hokies center shot with a field goal percentage of 81.8% before getting injured. This season, she has been averaging a double-double score with 22.9 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game, with a field goal percentage of 55%. Her time off the court will undoubtedly be a huge blow for Virginia Tech, just as it has been in the past.

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Elizabeth Kitley’s injury history

Rated a five-star recruit by ESPN, Elizabeth Kitley has been through tough times before. During her time in high school, Kitley suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during an Amateur Athletic Union game. After getting surgery for that, she was sidelined until the final two games of that season. Her next injury came in March 2022 when she was playing for Virginia Tech.

The Hokies were up against North Carolina in the 2022 ACC tournament quarterfinals. During the game, Kitley sustained a right shoulder injury. However, Virginia Tech won that game with a close score of 87-80. But after Kitley was sidelined because of her shoulder, the Hokies convincingly lost to NC State, 70-55, in the semifinals. That ended their run for the ACC Championship. Their star player was back for the first round of the NCAA tournament, though,

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This season has seen a lot of players going down with season-ending injuries, putting their respective teams in tough spots. Let’s hope we don’t see another player facing a similar fate any time soon.

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Written by:

Dimple Gupta

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Dimple Gupta is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Dimple is adept at in-depth coverage and brings insightful coverage with her captive chronicles. Her articles often discuss trade details, NIL deals, and other monetary aspects.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair