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UVA women’s basketball opens with 87-82 win over Ohio State

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uva basketballThe UVA women’s basketball team (1-0) opened the 2014-15 season with an 87-82 victory over Ohio State (0-1) on Friday (Nov. 14) at John Paul Jones Arena.

Senior center Sarah Imovbioh (Abuja, Nigeria) pulled in a school-record 24 rebounds while also scoring 18 points for her 16th career double-double. Sophomore guard Breyana Mason (Woodbridge, Va.) scored a career-high 22 points, going 8-of-11 from the field including making five of seven three-point attempts, with six assists. Junior guard Faith Randolph (Derwood. Md.) led the Cavaliers with a 25-point performance.

Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell scored 26 points in her collegiate debut. Ameryst Alston led the Buckeyes with 27 points.

The game, which featured 18 lead changes and six ties, was knotted 79-79 with a minute remaining. Randolph drove through the Ohio State zone, converting a layup with 51 seconds left on the clock to give UVa an 81-79 advantage. After Ohio State missed a three-pointer on the opposite end, freshman forward Lauren Moses (Mount Holly, N.J.) came up with the rebound, her seventh of the game. The Cavaliers went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 36 seconds of the game to secure the season-opening victory.

“It was an exciting game and we are proud of the team and how they played on both ends of the floor, especially when it counted,” said Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle. “Obviously Ohio State is a good team, but I thought we did a great job of getting stops, scoring and making free throws, which is what the game is about. Down the stretch I thought we really locked in and sat guard.”

Virginia got off to a blistering start, with the Cavaliers making seven of their first nine shots and going 4-of-5 from three-point range to take a 24-10 lead with 13:38 remaining in the first half. After an Ohio State timeout, the Buckeyes started a 15-0 run, holding UVa scoreless for a span of 5:18 to create the first lead change of the game. A jumper by Randolph reignited the Cavalier offense, with Virginia holding a five-point advantage, 32-27, with 5:42 remaining in the half, but Ohio State outscored the Cavaliers 14-7 through the end of the period to hold a 43-39 lead at the break.

The second half featured 15 lead changes and seven ties. Mason scored 14 of her 22 points in the second half with Imovbioh contributing 12 points and 12 rebounds after halftime.

UVa outrebounded OSU, 51-40. The Cavaliers shot 40.8 percent with the Buckeyes making 39.2 percent of their shots.

Imovbioh’s 24 rebounds topped the previous Virginia program record of 21 boards pulled in by Aisha Mohammed in an overtime game against Florida State on Jan. 26, 2008. Imovbioh’s previous career high was an 18-rebound performance at Wake Forest in 2013.

“I felt like the pack line defensive helped me a lot tonight,” Imovbioh said. “When we went back to playing zone, it also put us in a position to rebound. Before the game, Coach Boyle emphasized rebounding, saying that she doesn’t want rebounding to be a reason to lose games. Going into it the game, I just wanted to clean the boards tonight. The glass was open tonight, but I didn’t know I had that many rebounds until coach told me.”

Virginia has won nine of its last ten season-openers and has never lost a home opener at John Paul Jones Arena, winning its first home game in each of the last 15 seasons.

Virginia closes out the opening homestand on Sunday, Nov. 16 when it hosts Radford at 1 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.

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. 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).

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