#11 UNC tops UVa. women’s basketball, 80-74
Virginia narrowed a one-time 19-point deficit to four on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Faith Randolph (Derwood, Md.) with 16 seconds left in the game. After an immediate foul, North Carolina’s Diamond DeShields converted a pair of free throws with 13 seconds remaining. Randolph fired off a three-point attempt with eight seconds remaining, with junior center Sarah Imovbioh (Abuja, Nigeria) corralling the offensive rebound after it missed. Imovbioh tried going up for a layup, but had her shot blocked. North Carolina came up with the rebound to end the game and secure the victory.
Randolph finished with 24 points, going 7-of-15 from the field and 9-of-9 from the free throw line, also grabbing a career-high eight rebounds. Imovbioh posted her ninth double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Redshirt senior guard Lexie Gerson (Fort Washington, Pa.) scored 12 points with eight rebounds, three steals and two assists.
North Carolina’s Stephanie Mavunga had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Allisha Gray scored 18 points with five rebounds and four assists.
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the outcome,” said Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle. “We had a good game plan in the first half and just had a huge letdown at the start of the second half and had to fight our way back. Carolina is a very good team and it’s just tough to handle that many points.”
After trailing 10-4 in the opening minutes, Virginia mounted a 10-0 run, taking its first lead of the game on a three-pointer from Gerson with 14:47 remaining. The Cavaliers held a four-point lead, 20-16, with 9:50 remaining in the first half, when they went through a span of missing six-straight field goal attempts. The Tar Heels went 4-of-6 in that same span, taking back the lead. Virginia took a one-point lead, 26-25, on another three from Gerson with 5:28 remaining, the last field goal Virginia would make in the period. Carolina went into the break holding a 34-32 advantage.
North Carolina opened up the second half on a 14-4 scoring run, outrebounding the Cavaliers 11-2 in the opening minutes of the half to extend a two-point halftime advantage to 48-36 with 16:19 remaining.
The Cavaliers started the period making just one of their first 10 field goal attempts with a layup from Wolfe halting the shooting slump. After Carolina took its largest lead, 58-39, on a three-pointer from Allisha Gray with 11:28 remaining, the Cavaliers went on a 7-2 run to cut the deficit to 14 on a jumper by Randolph with 8:21 remaining. A three-pointer by Franklin followed by a layup from Imovbioh with 3:42remaining made it a 10-point game, 69-59. UNC answered with a layup from Latifah Coleman to halt the run.
Virginia cut into the Carolina lead in the final two minutes by drawing contact. The Cavaliers went 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the final 1:39 of the game to initially pull to within six, 77-71, with 40 seconds remaining. Carolina went to the line, making one free throw and missing the second. The Cavaliers came up with the rebound, setting up Randolph’s three-pointer.
“During our run, they were rattled,” Randolph said of North Carolina. “We were trying to get deflections on the ball and they didn’t know what to do. But once they started making layups down the floor, it started to deflate our momentum a little bit. We were putting pressure on them, but we needed to play like that earlier.”
UVa. shot 32.8 percent, going 20-of-61 from the field, but went 30-of-38 (78.9 percent) from the free throw line. Carolina shot 49.2 percent from the field (31-of-63) and were 13-of-20 (65.0 percent) from three-point range.
Next up, the Cavaliers will face their second-straight ranked opponent, playing at No. 14/16 NC State on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. Virginia returns home for its final regular-season home game onThursday, Feb. 27, hosting Miami at 7 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.
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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