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ACC notebook: Hidalgo breaks freshman scoring record, Hokies face back-to-back losses

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The last week of ACC play came with plenty of unanticipated twists and turns, highlighted by Virginia Tech’s consecutive losses despite heading heading into the conference tournament as the top seed. In one of those upsets, Hannah Hidalgo led Notre Dame to a stunning victory and surpassed the ACC freshman scoring record, all in the same night.

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NC State defeated Syracuse in overtime and cruised to victory over Wake Forest to sneak into the No. 2 spot in the ACC, with the official tournament bracket being released on Sunday. 

Here’s your week 17 ACC roundup.

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What everybody’s talking about: The ACC Tournament bracket is set

As of Sunday night, the ACC women’s basketball tournament bracket is locked. The teams are seeded as follows:

  1. Virginia Tech
  2. NC State
  3. Syracuse
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Louisville
  6. Florida State
  7. Duke
  8. North Carolina
  9. Miami
  10.  Georgia Tech
  11. Virginia
  12. Clemson
  13. Boston College
  14. Wake Forest
  15. Pitt

To no one’s surprise, Virginia Tech sits atop the standings and remains the only ACC team with a 14–4 record. NC State, Syracuse and Notre Dame closed out conference play at 13–5, while Louisville and Florida State both came in at 12–6. 

For the 24th time in the last 25 years, the conference tournament will be held at Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina. Last year’s championship game featured No. 3-seed Virginia Tech and No. 4-seed Louisville, with the Hokies pulling out a 75-67 victory.

This caught my attention: NC State shows grit in win over Syracuse

The Pack bounced back from week 17 losses to North Carolina and Duke to defeat Syracuse on Thursday and Wake Forest on Sunday. Their final effort was enough to steal the No. 2 ACC tournament seed out from under the Orange.

Behind 22 points from Saniya Rivers, NC State bested Syracuse 75-71 in overtime to secure a double bye in the conference tournament. Rivers was the driving force behind the Wolfpack’s offense all night long, consistently hitting shots when its momentum slowed and eventually sinking two free throws with 11 seconds remaining in the overtime to seal the win.

Despite its brief skid, the Wolfpack’s resilience and ability to finish out the regular season strong despite facing some adversity should alleviate any doubts that they are ready for the postseason. The red-and-white has proven it has what it takes to bear down and get the win against top-tier competition in high stakes contests, an attribute that becomes essential in March.

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Other notable headlines

Hokies fall to Notre Dame, Virginia

After clinching a double-bye in the conference tournament a week before the regular season concluded, the then-No. 5 Hokies couldn’t continue their winning ways in the final week of competition. Losses to Virginia and then-No. 17 Notre Dame left many fans doubting that Virginia Tech has what it takes to take the ACC tournament crown for the second year in a row.

The Irish delivered the first blow with a monster defensive effort on Thursday, snapping the Hokies’ 10-game win streak just days away from the end of the regular season. Notre Dame eventually defeated Virginia Tech 71-58, limiting them to just 12 points in the second quarter and 11 points in the fourth. 

A one-time slip up against a nationally-ranked opponent isn’t enough reason to sound the alarm, but Sunday’s date with Virginia only exacerbated the issue. Despite a career high 39-point performance from Georgia Amoore, Virginia Tech couldn’t get it done against the Cavaliers and went home with a 80-75 loss to the 11th-ranked team in the conference.

As a result of this week’s poor performance, the Hokies fell back six spots in the AP Poll after jumping up three places the week prior. With ACC play fast approaching, Virginia Tech will need to refocus it hopes to compete with top-tier opponents like No. 10 NC State and No. 20 Syracuse.

Hidalgo breaks ACC freshman scoring Record

Notre Dame’s Hannah Hidalgo surpassed the ACC freshman in the Irish’s win over Virginia Tech on Thursday. The previous record of 659 points was set by Florida State guard Ta’Niya Latson just last season. Hidalgo has now scored 689 points on the season with at least two games left to play. She also leads the ACC in scoring this season, 28 points ahead of second-leading scorer Elizabeth Kitley.

The freshman totaled 23 points against the Hokies in addition to 12 rebounds and six assists to lead Notre Dame in all three statistical categories for the second consecutive game. In the Irish’s 74-58 over Louisville on Sunday, Hidalgo led the charge once again with 26 points.

Hidalgo was named both ACC Player of the Week and ACC Rookie of the Week for the third time this season on Monday. The freshman is the only player in the country averaging over 20 points, five assists, five rebounds and four steals per game, per Her Hoop Stats.

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This week in ACC tournament action:

First round: Wednesday, March 6

  • Game 1: Boston College plays Clemson at 1 p.m. ET
  • Game 2: Pitt plays Georgia Tech at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Game 3: Wake Forest plays Virginia at 6:30 p.m. ET

Second round: Thursday, March 7

  • Game 4: Winner Game 1 plays Louisville at 11 a.m. ET
  • Game 5: Miami plays North Carolina at 1:30 p.m. ET
  • Game 6: Winner Game 2 plays Duke at 5 p.m. ET
  • Game 7: Winner Game 3 plays Florida State at 7:30 p.m. ET

Quarterfinals: Friday, March 8

  • Game 8: Winner Game 4 plays Notre Dame at 11 a.m. ET
  • Game 9: Winner Game 5 plays Virginia Tech at 1:30 p.m. ET
  • Game 10: Winner Game 6 plays NC State at 5 p.m. ET
  • Game 11: Winner Game 7 plays Syracuse at 7:30 p.m. ET

Semifinals: Saturday, March 9

  • Game 12: Winner Game 9 plays Winner Game 8 at 12 p.m. ET
  • Game 13: Winner Game 11 plays Winner Game 10 at 2:30 p.m. ET

Championship: Sunday, March 10

  • Game 14: Winner Game 12 plays Winner Game 13 at 1 p.m. ET

Written by Jenna Cuniowski

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