Elizabeth Kitley of Virginia Tech. Courtesy of Tech.
Elizabeth Kitley of Virginia Tech. Courtesy of Tech.

Although Virginia has only showed up in the women’s college basketball Top 25 one week since 2011, the Cavaliers have sparked some attention going into a 7 p.m. Thursday meeting with host Virginia Tech at Cassell Coliseum.

At 12-2, the Hokies are ranked No. 9 in the country. The Cavaliers, coming off a 69-63 victory last Thursday at Georgia Tech, are unranked but carry a 13-1 record under first-year head coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton. 

UVa’s lone women’s basketball loss this season was to Duke, 70-56, on Dec. 21. The Blue Devils are coached by Kara Lawson, a West Springfield native who was an All-American at Tennessee and is a member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. 

The Cavaliers have a 51-16 record against the Hokies in women’s basketball, but Tech has won four of the last five games, including a 71-42 rout in Charlottesville last year. Nine days before that, Tech had beaten UVa by 17 points in Blacksburg.

The teams did not play in 2021 due to COVID concerns. 

Recruiting

UVa has taken a women’s basketball commitment from Kymora Johnson, a 5-foot-7 guard from St. Anne’s-Belfield in Charlottesville who is rated the No. 24 women’s prospect in the country by HoopGurlz for ESPN.

In addition to Johnson, who has a five-star rating, UVa landed the No. 45 player on the list, 6-2 guard Olivia McGhee from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. 

Tech has four top 100 signees, including three in the top 75, led by No. 58 Carys Baker, a 6-foot-1 forward from Loomis Chafee School in Connecticut. 

Neither Tech nor UVa has a men’s basketball signee rated in the top 100, according to rivals.com.

Addition

News out of UVa on Wednesday was that the men’s basketball team had added a transfer, guard Dante Harris, who will enroll for the second semester and have three seasons of eligibility, starting with the 2013-14 season. 

Harris played in 55 games over two years at Georgetown, scoring in double figures in 20 games and averaging in double figures. Harris hails from Alcoa, Tennessee, and Lakeway Christian Academy. 

Football updates

After an earlier commitment to Virginia, defensive tackle Rodney Lora from Woodberry Forest signed with Notre Dame.

The highest-rated in-state prospect to sign with Tech was Antonio Cotman Jr., a defensive back from Life Academy in Chester, who is rated No. 4 in the state by rivals.com. He is listed as a Jan. 18 signee. 

UVa’s top in-state recruit was Kamren Robinson, a linebacker from Essex High School in Tappahannock, who was ninth on the rivals list. He had made a commitment July 1 but was one of the last in-state targets to sign with the Cavaliers.

The top prospect in the Roanoke Valley was Carmelo Taylor, a wide receiver from Patrick Henry who signed with Penn State and was rated 14th in the state overall. He had been committed since Aug. 10. Virginia Tech signee Hannes Hammer, an offensive lineman who resided in Germany before enrolling at North Cross, was rated 27th.

The 2024 recruiting class in Virginia includes two legacies in the top 15. D.J. Toliver, a 6-5, 265-pound offensive tackle from Lord Botetourt, is the son of ex-UVa standout Elton Toliver. Zahir Rainer, a defensive back from Trinity Episcopal in Richmond, is the son of former UVa standout Wali Rainer. 

Hayden Rollison, an all-state linebacker from Collegiate in Richmond, will join UVa’s football program next fall as a preferred walk-on.

Tough loss

Florida State is the destination of Fentrell Cypress, a second-team All-ACC defensive back for UVa this past season. Ohio State, LSU and UCLA were among the schools that had expressed interest in him.

“This is another fantastic addition to our program,” Florida State head coach Mike Norvell said in an FSU release. “Fentrell is a great player who possesses the unique combination of length and athleticism. He has a huge upside and brings a proven track record.”

Cypress, a second-team All-ACC selection, did not intercept a pass this past season but had a team-high 14 break-ups.

Doug Doughty

Doug Doughty has been writing for more than 50 years starting as a high school student in Washington, D.C., through his undergraduate years at the University of Virginia, and 47 years at the Roanoke Times...