By Marty Gordon
The Virginia Tech women were picked to finish seventh out of 15 teams in the ACC preseason women’s basketball poll released Wednesday. The Virginia Tech men dropped down to the 11th spot in the preseason predictions.
On the men’s side, Louisville received 45 first-place votes and was the preseason pick to win the conference this season. N.C. State finished second in the poll, followed by Syracuse, Notre Dame, North Carolina and Florida State. The University of Virginia was picked to finish 14th, just ahead of Pitt.
The Virginia Tech men slid into the 11th spot of the men’s preseason poll. UVA received 97 first place votes to take the league’s top spot, followed by Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, Louisville and Syracuse.
A pair of Lady Hokies, senior guard Aisha Sheppard and sophomore center Elizabeth Kitlley were named to the Preseason All-ACC Team as announced Tuesday morning. Sheppard and Kitley represent the second-highest scoring duo (27.3 points per game) to return to the ACC this season.
A first-team All-ACC member in 2020, Sheppard last season became the 28th VT woman to score 1,000 points. She enters the season in second place all-time in the VT record book with 219 3-point field goals, just 50 behind Vanessa Panousis’ 269.
Sheppard averaged 14.8 points per game in 2019-20 and played more than 33 minutes per game. She will be an integral piece to the Hokies’ success again this campaign.
The Alexandria native graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism in the summer and is enrolled in grad school.
Kitley begins her sophomore season as the reigning ACC Freshman of the Year, an award she collected after posting 12.5 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per contest last season. Both totals ranked second on the squad. She is the Hokies’ top returning rebounder.
After recording 27 points in her first game as a Hokie, Kitley went on to score in double figures 19 times her freshman season. She collected six double-doubles, all in Tech victories.
The Summerfield, N.C., native already owns program records for most blocks in an ACC contest (eight) and has the best field goal percentage for an ACC season (.573) as well as most blocks in a season (41).