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Women’s basketball: UVA falls 67-58 at North Carolina

uva basketballThe UVA women’s basketball team (11-5, 0-3 ACC) fell 67-58 to North Carolina (12-4, 1-2 ACC) on Sunday at Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill, N.C.

In a game with eight lead changes and four ties, the Cavaliers took a 58-57 lead on a jumper from freshman Dominique Toussaint (Staten Island, N.Y.) with 3:42 remaining, but the Tar Heels closed out the game on a 10-0 run to pick up the victory.

“We are playing great teams, but in some ways we are beating ourselves and we have to take ownership of that,” said Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle. “North Carolina got us out of our element early because we weren’t rebounding or moving the ball so we changed defenses. We ended up with 17 turnovers. We just can’t turn the ball over like we have been because in the ACC, those turnovers lead to transition layups for the other teams. Our spacing wasn’t good today. I thought we were right on top of each other. We had been doing a much better job, but today I felt like we were tired and our feet were stuck in mud. North Carolina wants to run and I don’t think we did our due-diligence early enough.”

Junior guard Aliyah Huland El (Randolph, N.J.) scored a team-high 13 points while also grabbing five rebounds. North Carolina native J’Kyra Brown (Rocky Mount, N.C.) scored 12 points.

Destinee Walker led North Carolina with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Stephanie Watts had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Virginia went 21-of-63 from the field (33.3 percent) while North Carolina shot 39.0 percent (23-of-59). Both teams grabbed 40 rebounds.

The Cavaliers built up an early 10-4 lead after Huland El and Brown hit three pointers in the opening three minutes. After starting the game making four of their first five field goal attempts, the Cavaliers’ offensive attack stalled. Four-straight turnovers began a span of 5:18 without a UVA field goal in which the Tar Heels erased the deficit and took the lead. A jumper in the lane from Toussaint ended the Cavaliers’ skid. Freshman guard Jocelyn Willoughby (East Orange, N.J.) and senior guard Breyana Mason (Woodbridge, Va.) closed out the period with back-to-back layups to cut the deficit to 17-16.

The Tar Heels scored the first five points of the second quarter until Huland El’s second three of the game put points on the board for Virginia. Freshman Lisa Jablonowski (Ernster, Luxembourg) hit a jumper for the Cavaliers with 6:31 remaining in the quarter to again make it a one-point deficit, 24-23. It would be the last field goal UVA would make in the half, however, the Cavaliers went 7-of-8 from the free throw line in the period to go into the half trailing by just six, 34-28.

The two teams started the third quarter a combined 1-of-16 shooting, but UVA found its stroke, going on a 10-3 run to retake the lead, 38-37, on a floater from Mason with four minutes remaining. The Cavaliers finished the quarter missing their final eight shots as the Tar Heels edged back out to a 47-43 lead.

The Cavaliers stormed back in the fourth quarter, making five-straight field goal attempts, holding a 58-57 lead after a jumper from Toussaint with 3:42 remaining. The Tar Heels forced the ninth lead change of the game on a jumper from Walker, and added to its advantage when Hillary Fuller hit a jumper right before the shot clock expired to put UNC up 61-58 with 1:47remaining. The Cavaliers missed their last eight field goal attempts in the game.

Virginia will be back at home on Sunday, Jan. 15, hosting Boston College (8-7, 1-1 ACC) at 2 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.

Single-game ticket prices for all home games are $10 for Reserved seating, $8 for adult General Admission and $6 for youth (18 & under), senior (60 & over) and UVA faculty/staff General Admission. Fans may purchase home game tickets through the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office online at VirginiaSports.com, by phone and in person. The Virginia Athletics Ticket Office is located in Bryant Hall at Scott Stadium and open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Telephone purchases can be made by calling 1-800-542-UVA1 (8821) or locally at 434-924-UVA1 (8821).

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