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UVA women’s basketball blows past hapless Howard, 74-53

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uva basketballThe UVA women’s basketball team (9-2) closed out a three-game week with a 74-53 victory over Howard (1-11) on Sunday (Dec. 21) at John Paul Jones Arena.

In a game in which the two teams combined for 49 turnovers, Virginia held a 35-21 lead at halftime and shot 50.0 percent from the field in the second half to improve to 7-0 at home this season. Howard took 28 three-point shots, starting the game 0-of-21 from long range before finishing the game with a two makes in the final six minutes.

“Hopefully that’s the ugliest we play all year, we got it out of our systems and we will just move on,” said associate head coach Kim McNeill. “I think it was a combination of fatigue, Christmas being right around the corner and Howard doing a good job defensively that caused us to struggle. That was a different zone than we’ve seen all year and it was hard to go against. I thought we had some good looks. We tried to force it a little bit, but we will take the win.”

Junior guard Faith Randolph (Derwood, Md.) matched her career high, scoring 26 points, while also adding seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block. Randolph, who scored 20 points in Friday’svictory over Saint Mary’s, had back-to-back 20-point games for the first time in her career.

Senior center Sarah Imovbioh (Abuja, Nigeria) scored 21 points with 10 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season. Imovbioh, who came into the game leading the ACC in shooting percentage, went 9-of-11 from the field.

Cheyenne Brown led the Bison with 15 points and eight rebounds.

Virginia used five Howard turnovers in a span of 2:47 in the first half to mount an 11-0 run to break open a one-point game and take a 26-14 lead with 6:02 remaining in the period. Howard got the deficit back to single digits, 26-17, on a free throw two minutes later, but a putback by sophomore forward Sydney Umeri (Acworth, Ga.) gave Virginia a 28-17 lead. The Cavaliers would lead by double-digits the remainder of the game.

Every single Cavalier player had at least one turnover, contributing to UVa’s season-high tally of 25. Howard turned the ball over 24 times. Seven Cavaliers combined for 16 steals with four different players grabbing three apiece.

“During the game it was a little rough offensively, and defensively we weren’t in certain positions that we needed to be, but we pushed through it and I thought our press really helped us get steals and get easy buckets in transition,” Randolph said.

Virginia shot 45.8 percent (27-of-59) for the game. Howard took 71 shots in the game, making 21, a 29.6 percent efficiency. Virginia held a 46-40 edge in rebounding.

For the third-straight game, McNeill served as the acting head coach as Joanne Boyle was on leave finalizing an adoption.

The Cavaliers will take a short break for the holidays before returning to game action on Sunday, Dec. 28 when they host the Cavalier Classic Presented by Holiday Inn University Area. Drexel and Miami (OH) open the tournament at 12 noon with Virginia taking on Davidson at 2:30 p.m. This year, the tournament will have set match-ups as opposed to a pure “classic” format, with Miami (OH) and Davidson playing at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 29 followed by Virginia and Drexel at 7 p.m. An All-Tournament Team will still be announced, but there will not be a tournament champion.

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 openMonday 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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