UVa. rallies, beats Virginia Tech, 50-47
Virginia Tech started the game making six of its first eight three-point attempts and went into the half with a 30-24 lead. The Cavaliers erased an eight-point deficit, tying the game three times before taking a 46-45 lead on a jumper by Ataira Franklin (Jr., Bowie, Md.) with 2:59 remaining in the game.
The Hokies trailed by a point, 48-47, and had possession of the ball with 34 seconds left in the game. A strong defensive stand by the Cavaliers caused the Hokies to turn the ball over, with China Crosby (Sr., New York, N.Y.) grabbing a steal and then racing down court to score a fast break layup with 4 seconds left in the game.
The Hokies got off an off-balance three-point attempt with time expiring, but the ball clanged off the front of the rim, with Virginia escaping with the victory to improve to 15-8 on the season (7-5 ACC). Virginia Tech fell to 8-15 (2-10 ACC).
“We are just happy to get the win as every game with Virginia Tech is a grind,” said Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle. “Virginia Tech is a really good defensive team. They make you take tough shots.”
Franklin and Telia McCall (Sr., Marietta, Ga.) each scored 12 points. McCall also had eight rebounds and an assist. Sarah Imovbioh scored eight points with 11 rebounds. Crosby scored five points with five assists and four rebounds.
After the Cavaliers took an early 8-3 lead, the Hokies began their outside shooting assault, going up 22-16 with 5:30 left in the first half. Jumpers from Franklin and Simone Egwu (Sr., Odenton, Md.) narrowed the gap to 23-20 with 4:23 left in the first half.
Trailing 25-22, Egwu drove through the lane, converting the layup while drawing contact and a foul call. She went to the free throw line with a chance to tie the game, but missed. Virginia Tech came up with the rebound and hit a jumper on the other end to extend the lead. After a Virginia offensive foul, Tech drained its seventh three-pointer of the period to take a 30-24 lead into the halftime break.
The Cavaliers, who had been playing a zone defense through the entire first half, switched to a man-to-man matchup after the break.
Virginia Tech, who did not make a single three-pointer in the second half, extended its lead to eight, 38-30, with 15 minutes left in the second half, when Virginia began to chip away at the lead. McCall converted an and-one. Crosby pulled up for a jumper just beyond the free throw line. A free throw from Imovbioh pulled the Cavaliers to within two, 38-36. After Franklin grabbed a steal, McCall drove to the hoop, getting fouled in the process. She made both free throws to tie the game, 38-38.
After Virginia Tech retook the lead twice, the Cavaliers came back to tie the game both times, but didn’t take their first lead of the second until Franklin hit her fade-away jumper from just outside the lane with 2:59 left in the game.
Franklin blocked the Hokies next shot attempt with Crosby grabbing the loose ball, racing down the court on a breakaway. Crosby was fouled going to the hoop, but missed both free throws. Imovbioh fought for the rebound, going up through three defenders to get the put-back, giving Virginia a 48-45 lead with 2:30left in the game.
Virginia Tech narrowed the gap to one, 48-47, after converting a Cavalier turnover to a fast-break layup with 1:06 left on the clock.
On the ensuing Virginia possession, Kelsey Wolfe (Jr., Germantown, Md.) threw up a shot with the shot clock expiring, with the two teams converging on the rebound, tying up the ball up with possession going to Virginia Tech.
Tech had 34 seconds on the clock when they inbounded the ball under the Virginiabasket. The Cavalier defense locked down, with Tech struggling to pass the ball around the top of the arc. An errant pass was bobbled by Tech’s Monet Tellier, with the ball glancing off her foot. Crosby scooped up the loose ball, racing down the court to score a layup to give Virginia a 50-47 lead with 4.5 seconds left in the game.
“I was guarding [Tellier] on that play and my thought process was ‘She cannot score’,” Franklin said. “When it went off her foot, I was really surprised and China was right there to get the steal. I was denying her as hard as I could, the ball came in and at that point, I just had to lock up.”
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Cavaliers and was Virginia’s 14th consecutive victory over Virginia Tech.
The Cavaliers will travel to Boston College to take on the Eagles on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. After the Valentines Day game at Boston College, the Cavalierswill return home to host No. 7 Maryland on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN2. The Maryland game will be the Play 4Kay game. All fans in attendance are encouraged to wear pink to the game.