The UVa. women’s basketball team (3-4) fell to Kansas State (3-3), 49-46, in the consolation final of the Junkanoo Jam Tournament on Grand Bahama Island.
After trailing by seven points with four minutes remaining, the Cavaliers narrowed the gap to two, 47-45, on a pair of free throws from senior guard Kelsey Wolfe (Germantown, Md.) with 1:53 remaining. After the two teams traded missed baskets and rebounds, Kansas State made a layup to go back up by four, 49-45, with 1:21 remaining.
The Cavaliers missed three of four free throws in the final minute but still had a chance to tie when they had possession, trailing by three, with 12.1 seconds remaining. UVa got off two three-point attempts in the final seconds, but missed both.
“We were tired, but the real problem was we just got pounded on the boards in the first half against a team where that’s not their strength,” said head coach Joanne Boyle. “We got pounded, but we grinded it out to get back into the game. We really didn’t have enough legs, but when we subbed, we weren’t getting a whole lot, so we stayed with our veterans. We just fell short.”
Junior center Sarah Imovbioh (Abuja, Nigeria) had her fourth double-double of the season with 20 points, one shy of matching her career high, and 15 rebounds. Senior guard Kelsey Wolfe (Germantown, Md.) scored 18 points with six assists and a steal.
Kansas State’s Haley Texada scored 13 points with seven rebounds. Two Wildcats had double-digit rebounds with Leticia Romero grabbing 12 and Breanna Lewis corralling 10 with Lewis also adding eight points.
Kansas State held a 45-33 rebounding edge. The Wildcats shot 32.8 percent (19-of-58), making seven of their 33 three-point attempts. Virginia shot 26.8 percent (15-of-56), going 0-of-10 from long range.
Imovbioh provided almost all of the Cavaliers’ offense in the first half, making five of Virginia’s first six baskets and scoring 12 of UVa’s 18 points. Imovbioh went 5-of-10 from the field in the period, while the rest of the squad combined to shoot 2-of-22, with sophomore guard Faith Randolph (Derwood, Md.) making those two field goals on six attempts.
Despite Virginia’s first-half shooting woes, the team went into the break only trailing by three, 21-18, as Kansas State shot 23.5 percent in the period, including starting the game going 2-of-19 from three-point range.
In the second half, Wolfe provided the majority of the offense, scoring 16 of her 18 points after the break. Wolfe finished the game with a career-high 12 free throws on 13 attempts.
With Virginia trailing 49-45, Imovbioh picked up an offensive rebound and was fouled on the attempted put-back with 54 seconds remaining. She went to the line and missed both attempts. Virginia got the ball back with 28 seconds remaining. Wolfe drove through the lane, drawing contact and going to the line. After making her first 11 free throws of the game, Wolfe missed her first attempt but made the second of the pair, narrowing the gap to three, 49-46.
After Virginia immediately fouled K-State’s Haley Texada, the guard missed the front end of her one-and-one opportunity. Senior guard Ataira Franklin (Bowie, Md.) boxed out the shooter, grabbing the rebound at the free throw line, giving Virginia the ball with 12.1 seconds remaining.
Franklin missed on a three-attempt with the ball going out of bounds with 1.8 seconds remaining. Virginia was awarded possession, inbounding the ball to Wolfe who fired off a three that clanked off the rim right before the final horn.
The Cavaliers will try to snap their three-game losing streak when they return home to host Michigan on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. in John Paul Jones Arena in the Big 10/ACC Challenge game.