Women’s basketball: Virginia faces South Carolina in NCAA Second Round

uva basketballThe No. 10 seed Virginia women’s basketball team (19-13) will face No. 2 Seed South Carolina (27-6) in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on Sunday, March 18 at 9 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena.

The game will be televised nationally on ESPN and will stream live online via WatchESPN. All of the 2017-18 Virginia women’s basketball games – home and away – are available locally on the radio on NewsRadio 1070 AM and 98.9 FM WINA.

The winner of Sunday’s game will advance to the Sweet 16 to play the winner of the second-round game being contested in Tallahassee, Fla. The first and second round games in Columbia and Tallahassee are part of the Albany Region which also encompasses first and second round contests being held in Storrs, Conn., and Athens, Ga.

The Cavaliers are making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2010 and their 25th overall appearance in the championship. The Cavaliers have made 12 trips to the Sweet 16, three runs to the Final Four (1990-92) and played in the NCAA title game in 1991.

Virginia advanced to the second round of the 2018 tournament after downing No. 7 seed California, 68-62, on Friday evening. Cal scored the first two baskets of the third quarter to move in front 35-30. Virginia went on a 20-8 run to lead 50-43. Cal scored 12 straight points in the fourth quarter to tie things at 57-all with 1:53 to play. Sophomore guard Dominique Toussaint (Staten Island, N.Y.) hit a tie-breaking three-pointer with 1:08 to go. Cal cut the deficit to one with a basket moments later before sophomore center Felicia Aiyeotan (Lagos, Nigeria) was alone for an uncontested basket to restore the Cavaliers’ margin. Sophomore guard Jocelyn Willoughby (East Orange, N.Y.) sealed the victory, making six free throws in the final 16 seconds.

Aiyeotan came off the bench against Cal to score a team-high 16 points, one shy of her season high. Aiyeotan had one of the best shooting games of her career, going 8-of-11 from the field (72.7 percent), including going 5-of-5 in the second half.

Toussaint scored 10 points against the Bears, going 2-of-3 from long range, including hitting the go-ahead three-pointer. Toussaint has scored in double figures in seven of the last nine games.

Senior guard Aliyah Huland El (Randolph, N.J.) scored 12 points against Cal. Huland El has scored in double figures in all three postseason games this year, averaging 14.7 points per game in those contests.

Sunday’s game will feature the top shotblocker in the ACC in Aiyeotan (2.1 per game) and the SEC leader in A’ja Wilson (3.3 per game).

Wilson, the ESPNw National Player of the Year, is the first player to be a three-time SEC Player of the Year. The SEC’s leading scorer is eighth in the nation with 22.6 points per game and 11th in the country in rebounding at 11.8 per game, and comes in ranked fifth in blocks per game. Wilson is the only player in the nation to rank among the top 40 of all three categories.

South Carolina is coached by former UVA All-American Dawn Staley. Staley lead the Cavaliers to three NCAA Final Fours, including earning MVP honors in 1991, while earning ACC Player of the Year National Player of the Year honors twice and being named the Honda Broderick Award winner in 1991. This is the third time that Staley has coached against her alma mater, but her first time at the helm of the Gamecocks. While as the head coach of Temple, the Owls twice played UVA in Charlottesville, falling 72-71 on Dec. 28, 2003 and falling 71-65 on Nov. 29, 2006. She is looking for her first win against the Cavaliers.

Tickets are available for purchase at TicketMaster.com.

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