Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley suffers torn ACL, won't play in NCAA tournament

Elizabeth Kitley's fifth year of eligibility will not end the way she wanted.

The Virginia Tech center returned to Blacksburg, Virginia, to build off last year's success and to take the Hokies back to the Final Four.

Now, she won't have the chance after announcing that she tore her left ACL in Virginia Tech's regular-season finale.

"On March 3rd I suffered a knee injury that is keeping me out of this year's NCAA tournament," Kitly posted on Instagram. "This is not at all how I anticipated ending this year with my team, but I'm so proud of all of our accomplishments, and I'm excited to see my girls continue to compete. Thank you to all of Hokie Nation for being so supportive during this tough time. I'm looking forward to making a strong comeback."

The reigning ACC champions will have trudge along without the three-time All-American.

And that's no small ask as the 6-foot-6 center was averaging 22.8 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. Kitley's campaign also included becoming the ACC's all-time leader in rebounds and double-doubles.

She was a major catalyst for the Hokies earning their first conference regular-season crown this season.

The No. 4 Hokies will begin their NCAA tournament play Friday, when they host No. 13 Marshall at 3:30 p.m. ET.

"She's been emotional," Hokies head coach Kenny Brooks told reporters Thursday. "I've been emotional. We probably text 30 times a day.

"She's put everything into this. She's the reason we're here. ... The kid [ate,] slept, drank everything Hokies basketball. ... For everything to be taken away from you in a split second, it's devastating."