The Cavaliers broke open a five-point game by going on a 19-3 run early in the second half, making 10 of their first 13 field goal attempts in the period while Auburn went 3-of-14 in the same span. The Tigers also committed five turnovers during that same span.
Senior center Sarah Imovbioh (Abuja, Nigeria) had her third double-double of the season, reaching double figures in points and rebounds by halftime and finishing with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Junior guard Faith Randolph (Derwood, Md.) scored 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including going 3-of-4 from three-point range. Freshman guard Mikayla Venson (Arlington, Va.) scored 10 points.
Brandy Montgomery scored 24 points, including making six of Auburn’s eight three-pointers, to lead the Tigers.
The Cavaliers have jumped out to a 4-0 record to start a season for the third time in head coach Joanne Boyle’s four seasons at Virginia. UVa began both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 campaigns with four-straight wins.
“We are excited to get a win over a very quality opponent in Auburn,” Boyle said. “The girls are playing really good basketball right now and has been a great start to the season. I like the togetherness, the unity, and the foundation we have built. No one is looking for glory. Our work ethic, extra effort and confidence are helping us pull games out. Everyone knows their roles on this team.”
Auburn held a 15-12 advantage eight minutes into the game after using its press to force four early Virginia turnovers. The Cavaliers mounted a 10-0 run to take a 22-15 lead on a jumper by freshman guard Aliyah Huland El (Randolph, N.J.) with 8:15 remaining. Auburn battled back, pulling to within two, 22-20, with 5:43 remaining, but the Cavaliers never again trailed in the game, taking a 33-28 lead into halftime.
Virginia’s hot-shooting second-half performance propelled the Cavaliers to a 20-point advantage with 9:16 remaining in the second half. Virginia held a 21-point lead heading into the final two minutes of play, but Auburn capitalized on four late UVa turnovers to go on a 6-0 run to close out the game.
Virginia shot 50.0 percent from the field, including going 13-of-20 (65.0 percent) in the second half. Auburn made 32.3 percent of its shots, going 20-of-62.
The Cavaliers shot 70.0 percent from three-point range, making seven of 10 while Auburn was 8-of-20 for 40.0 percent. It was the first time Virginia had a 70 percent or better three-point efficiency since making 5-of-7 (71.4 percent) against UCSB in an NCAA Tournament game in 2008.
Imovbioh was 7-of-9 shooting and 7-of-8 from the free throw line also adding a team-high four steals and two assists without committing a foul.
“I am just having fun,” Imovbioh said. “I love playing with my sisters out there. I’m not scared. I know how hard we worked in the summer and know we deserve what the success we are getting right now. We’re confident in ourselves and our coaches.”
Sophomore guard Breyana Mason (Woodbridge, Va.) scored eight points on 4-of-8 shooting, adding four assists.
The Cavaliers will head south next week, attempting to log a 5-0 start to a season for the first time since 1997 while playing in the FIU Thanksgiving Classic Tournament in Miami, Fla. The Cavaliers open the tournament on Friday, Nov. 28facing Toledo at 8 p.m. and finish off playing either host-school Florida International or Arizona on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 30 at either 11:30 a.m. or 2 p.m.