One is from North Carolina. One is from Australia. One is a senior. One is a junior. One is the reigning ACC Player of the Year. One had the first triple-double in school history. Their names are Elizabeth Kitley and Georgia Amoore, and together, they are the Queens of Cassell.
That is, according to their podcast of the same name, which they created prior to the season.
The Virginia Tech Hokies are currently No. 13 in the AP top 25 poll, and the two friends have been a big part of the reason why. Kitley is the reigning ACC Player of the Year, averaging 18.4 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game, which ranks in the top five of the conference in each category. Amoore is one of the top point guards in the league, as her 5.5 assists rank third and her 13.9 points put her at ninth.
The team’s ascent into the top 15 this year has given Kitley and Amoore much to discuss on their show. So far, they have had six episodes as part of a weekly podcast, which provides “a behind-the-scenes look at life as a Virginia Tech Women’s Basketball player,” according to the Apple podcast description. They have had fun doing it.
“Our conversations are definitely vast and continuous and we talk all the time and we’re really not like forcing anything, so every time we film, it’s pretty much just us pressing record on an every day, regular conversation,” Amoore said.
The idea for this podcast came about when the duo were interviewed on the “Sons of Saturday” podcast, which is associated with Virginia Tech athletics. Afterwards, one of the hosts proposed to them the idea of doing their own podcast.
“Within a week’s span, it came into force,” Amoore said.
They named themselves after their homecourt, Cassell Coliseum. In their first episode on Friday, Nov. 4, the three-year roommates laid out the structure for their show. They preview their upcoming games and recap their past games, if something really interesting happened, such as Amoore’s triple-double and their teammate Cayla King’s 33-point performance.
They also delve into what it’s like living together, as on their first show, they talked about throwing away food after a few days, as well as their favorite music, which includes Taylor Swift. A segment that they introduced on this first show includes highlighting freshman follies.
They never have trouble coming up with fresh content.
“Sometimes, it’s just fun and lighthearted to highlight that because not everyone’s perfect. We all have a laugh,” Amoore said.
The Queens have also had guests on the show, including coach Kenny Brooks, King, ESPN and ACC analyst Kelly Gramlich, former teammate and new WNBA champion Aisha Sheppard, former NC State and current Storm center Elissa Cunane and Amoore’s own mother, Kelly. They credit the “Sons” producer for helping them procure their interview subjects for the show.
“Really connecting us, that’s something that we’re grateful to him for,” Kitley said. “He reaches out to whoever we want.”
One guest that on their wish list is Sheppard’s teammate on the Las Vegas Aces, All-Star Chelsea Gray. They are thinking of other possible future guests, as well.
The podcast is sponsored by Phillips Real Estate, a local business in Blacksburg, as part of an NIL deal with Kitley, who with Amoore knows the business owner. Kitley is happy to handle that part, as Amoore can’t benefit from NIL because she is in the United States on a student visa.
“It’s a very complicated space, I think, and it’s not as easy as it sounds…as time goes on, I think we’ll see more and more of what the benefits can potentially be,” Kitley said.
This especially comes during a time when more and more athletes are venturing into media spaces with their own podcasts. Amoore is a fan of some NBA podcasts.
Though Kitley and Amoore are not the only Virginia Tech athletes to have their own podcast, they are the first, and are very popular with alumni, they say.
“I think that we’re just joining it at the right time and wouldn’t be surprised if more and more people start their own podcast,” Amoore said.
Both said they’d be open to continuing the show through the NCAA Tournament, if they have time.
“It’s not really seen as work for us, like it’s a bit of a release and it’s also like a way for us to document our lives. I think it’s going to be really fun to look back on,” Kitley said.
For now, she said she has learned a lot, which includes becoming a more well-rounded person by learning from guests of the show.
“It has opened my mind, I guess, to career paths and I think it’s made me a better speaker,” Kitley said.
Both players hope their podcast will bring more attention to the Hokie program in a year where they’ve already been ranked the highest in school history (6th) and when they are selling more home game tickets than ever before.
“We’ve just been trying to improve ourselves and as that happens, the team also gets better as well,” Kitley said.
Brooks sees the benefits of doing the podcast for Kitley and Amoore.
“I think it’s helping them become more humanized, an aspect to the fans, which will enable them to just be more comfortable with themselves and that will carry on far far after basketball’s over with,” he said.
After spending Christmas together in North Carolina, Kitley and Amoore returned to the court and are currently 3-3 in conference play. In this current four-game stretch, both continue to play at a high level together with more confidence, thanks to their podcast.
“I think this is an element that has given them some confidence that’s going to develop them as leaders, whether it’s here at Virginia Tech or at the next level, their next stop in life, the next chapter in life,” Brooks said.
Virginia takes on Louisville today.