“It’s exciting to get back home and get the win,” said Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle. “I felt like we did a good job with ball pressure.”
Junior center Sarah Imovbioh (Abuja, Nigeria) scored 19 points with nine rebounds helping to lead the Cavaliers to their 16th-consecutive victory over their in-state rival. Senior guard Ataira Franklin (Bowie, Md.) added 14 points with three assists, three steals and three rebounds.
“We were poised today,” Imovbioh said. “The screens for the guards were working and we were hitting our shots. We had confidence in our offense today.”
Virginia Tech’s Uju Ugoka had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Vanessa Panousis scored 19 points
Virginia jumped out to a 9-0 lead, scoring all of those points off seven turnovers committed by the Hokies in the first 5:03 of the game. The Cavaliers extended the lead to 16-8 on a three-pointer from Franklin with 11:28 remaining. Virginia Tech cut into the deficit, using an 8-0 run to pull within four, 22-18, but a three-pointer by freshman guard Breyana Mason (Woodbridge, Va.) halted the Hokie charge. Virginia took a 35-24 lead into the halftime break.
Imovbioh scored six points in the first 2:21 of the second half, including making a wide-open layup from right under the net with 17:39 left in the game, to give UVa a 43-28 advantage. Panousis scored 10 Hokie points in a span of just over three minutes, cutting the Cavalier lead to single digits, 49-41 with 13:10 remaining. Panousis’ scoring surge was the start of an 8-of-10 shooting stretch for the Hokies while the Cavaliers went 2-of-13 during that same span, with Virginia Tech pulling to within five, 54-49 with 8:49 remaining. Virginia regained its offensive footing, scoring on eight-straight possessions, including back-to-back baskets from Imovbioh and a three-pointer from redshirt senior guard Lexie Gerson (Fort Washington, Pa.) to take a 71-54 lead with 4:25 remaining.
Virginia had four players finish with double-digit points. In addition to Imovbioh and Franklin, senior guard Kelsey Wolfe scored 12 points with six rebounds and four assists. Sophomore guard Faith Randolph (Derwood, Md.) came off the bench to score 11 points with four rebounds and an assist. Mason scored nine points, all in the first half, going 4-of-6 from the field.
Virginia, who leads the ACC in turnover margin, forced 15 Tech turnovers while only turning the ball over six times.
The game was also Virginia’s annual Play4Kay game, with both teams wearing pink jerseys in honor of the late Kay Yow, the longtime head coach at NC State.
“Kay laid the foundation and the groundwork for all of us in the sport,” Boyle said. “She was so passionate about coaches and players. The pink game is a celebration of basketball and bringing people together and ultimately raising awareness for cancer research and is a great legacy of hers.”
It was the 16th consecutive victory for the Cavaliers over the Hokies with Virginia’s last loss in the series coming in a 60-58 game in Charlottesville on Feb. 15, 2007.
Next up, the Cavaliers will host No. 17/10 North Carolina on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised on the ACC Regional Sports Networks.
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 Mondaythrough 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).
Single-game ticket prices for all 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. Family Packages are available for $11 each and include a reserved ticket and a concessions voucher valued at $8. A minimum of four tickets must be purchased to receive package pricing.