When Kenny Brooks took over as head coach of Virginia Tech women’s basketball, he left behind a mid-major program he built into one feared by Power Five programs across the land.
Hall of Famer and LSU head coach Kim Mulkey reiterated that in her comments about Brooks this week ahead of the Final Four.
“Kenny was at James Madison, and nobody ever wanted to play him because he was that good of a coach and just really did wonderful things there,” Mulkey said.
Brooks, a Virginia native from Waynesboro, took JMU to 11 consecutive postseason appearances ahead of taking over at Virginia Tech. He continued that pattern with the Hokies. In his seven years with the program, the team has played in the postseason six times. The exception was the year postseason tournaments were canceled due to COVID-19.
Before he arrived at Virginia Tech, the team had yet to earn a March Madness berth in 15 years. Now, the Hokies are on the threshold of their first-ever national championship.
Virginia Tech history-making season so far
Heading into the program’s first-ever appearance at the Final Four, the Hokies are 31-4. The 31 victories are the most in program history, breaking the previous record of 28.
This season, the team also reached the Elite Eight and Final Four for the first time. As icing on the cake, the team received its first-ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Given the team’s results so far in March Madness, that seeding was on the mark. The Hokies will put it to the test in the Final Four against LSU and Mulkey, a three-time national champion at Baylor who makes her fifth appearance in the semifinal round.
Five-star players lead to blue chip results
In her comments about Brooks, Mulkey also said that he can now attract a higher caliber of players, what she describes as five-star athletes. For the Hokies coach, that comes down to four players who helped him put the program on the national radar.
“It starts with the foundation: Elizabeth Kitley, Georgia Amoore, Taylor Geiman, Cayla King.”
Brooks said those players “really transformed the culture of this program, and we’ve been able to build off of that, and to see the culmination of work come to this, it’s just an unbelievable feeling for me because I know how hard they work.”
Kitley is the team’s leading scorer, who puts up 18.2 points per contest. Amoore is a junior guard from Australia who recorded the program’s first triple-double back in December. She averages 16.3 points per game. Geiman doesn’t produce in double figures but is a crucial player in the team’s leadership. King adds 8.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per outing.
DIII Christopher Newport hopes for double championship
Brooks is a good friend of Bill Broderick, the head coach of undefeated Division-III Christopher Newport University (31-0). CNU is also in Dallas as the team will play for the D3 championship vs. Transylvania University on Saturday at noon ET. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
So, sports fans in Virginia can look forward to at least two high-caliber women’s basketball games on TV this weekend from home-state teams. (Of note, the Christopher Newport men’s team claimed the national title earlier this month.)
The Hokies will face No. 3 LSU on Friday at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN. Fans in Virginia can also listen to the game on the VT Sports Network.
While Virginia sports betting users cannot bet on the game, for context, LSU is a 1.5-point favorite in Friday’s contest, where a spot in the national championship game is on the line.