College basketball in the tropics during Thanksgiving week – a tradition like no other.
At this week’s Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship, which showcased some of the best teams and players in women’s college basketball over two days of games, those who checked in to see what the event was all about were treated to stars and radiant moments spoils Nassau, the capital and largest city of the Bahamas.
Now that the annual gathering at the Baha Mar Convention Center has been held for another year, there was much to take away from the eight games that took place. There are more good things to take away for some teams in the field than for others.
Here’s a recap of everything that happened at the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship, who and what impressed, along with some of the storylines that emerged from the two-day event in the Caribbean.
The entire action was broadcast live on FloHoops.
Kitley dominates to keep Hokies undefeated
Still trying to shake off the sour taste of an NCAA tournament upset last season — the No. 5-seeded Hokies lost to 12th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast — Virginia Tech a year ago in the first round of March Madness appeared this season as a team on a revenge spree.
At the moment the team is definitely playing like they have something to prove and those emotions were evident at Baha Mar.
Tech stormed 29-8 in the first quarter and managed to roll out the rest of the way in his opening win over Kentucky on Monday, then the Hokies hit the accelerator in the second half of a 73-57 win over Missouri to take the Closing show on Wednesday.
They are 5-0 unbeaten this year and have passed the first tests of the season with flying colors against top-flight opponents.
The Hokies, No. 11 in the country, are currently holding opponents to just 48.2 points per game on the season while dominating the glass itself, with opponents limited to an average of just 27.6 rebounds per game, which is a odds which is second in the country as of Wednesday evening.
Much of that has to do with the play of 6-foot-6 senior center — and reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year — Elizabeth Kitley and her double-double average earlier in the year (19.0 points, 11.0 rebounds per night ) to do. but Tech wouldn’t have looked so good in the Bahamas had it not been for the strong performance of her supporting cast.
have a day @elisabethkitley 👏👏
✅ got the dub
📈 has reached another milestone
Proud of you 3️⃣3️⃣ pic.twitter.com/kCIq72ygzy
— Virginia Tech Women’s Basketball (@HokiesWBB) November 24, 2022
Kitley’s 25-point performance against the Wildcats was paired with double-digit goals from Ashley Owusu, Taylor Soule and Georgia Amoore, while Kayana Traylor added a team-high with 18 points from the bench in the win over the Tigers.
Don’t be shocked if the Hokies climb higher than their current rankings – and if they continue to play well into March.
Utah remains perfect after back-to-back wins
Along with Virginia Tech, the other team in the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship field to keep a perfect record intact was Utah, who also improved to 6-0 thanks in large part to an electric offense that earned the second-highest scoring in America at a is rapid pace of 95.0 points per game.
Just two years away from just five wins, the Utes looked spectacular this year under coach Lynne Roberts, picking up victories over Alabama and Ole Miss to boost their resume for what is hoped to be the first iteration of the program at the NCAA tournament since 2008 and 2009.
Junior forward Alissa Pili, a USC transfer, appears to be rediscovering the form that helped her become Pac-12 Freshman of the Year with the Trojans in the 2019-2020 season.
She’s striding up the pace at 18.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in Utah — including a game-high 21 in her team’s thrilling 69-67 win over the Rebels on Wednesday to end its stint at Baha Mar.
But it’s elite shooting numbers from across the floor (52.4% from the field, third in the country) that get the Utes going, and while Pili’s ridiculous recent clip of 68.1% from the floor is a key reason, is she just one of them? Six Utah players make at least half of their shots.
Super students Gianna Kneepkens (14.8 points per game, 43.8% from 3-point range) and Jenna Johnson (14.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists per game) also wear theirs Help keep Utah a dangerous team Rest of preseason roster and eventually conference play.
The Ole Miss coach returns home to the Bahamas
The Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship was a special homecoming for at least one person.
A native of Freeport, Bahamas, Ole Miss coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin has deep connections that build and grow the sport in the islands in many ways, with a rich talent pool that includes Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield and the former WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones.
McPhee-McCuin was the first Bahamian woman to sign a Division I letter of intent in the early 2000s while playing for Rhode Island in the United States for multiple programs.
— Ole Miss Women’s BB (@OleMissWBB) November 24, 2022
The Rebels’ fifth-year coach broke barriers and made history by taking on an assistant coaching role for the Bahamas men’s national team during the ongoing FIBA World Cup qualifying campaign.
McPhee-McCuin, who is returning to the Caribbean for a home game with her Ole Miss team, should be pleased with how the Rebels’ early games of the year went.
Ole Miss started his time at the event with a 63-50 win over Dayton on Monday, and while the Rebels weren’t quite able to pull off a narrow win over a talented Utah team, a 5-1 Certainly a start to the season, nothing to be ashamed of, especially when Senior Angel Baker (14.2 points, 2.2 steals per game) plays like one of the Southeastern Conference’s best two-way guards.
While it might not have been a perfect return to the Bahamas for McPhee-McCuin — a second win straight away would have helped her get there — her team got a taste of some elite talent in their home country and an experience that could help her learn you in more ways than one.