Home Women’s Basketball: Virginia pulls another big upset, defeating #20 UNC, 81-66

Women’s Basketball: Virginia pulls another big upset, defeating #20 UNC, 81-66

Chris Graham
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Photo: UVA Athletics

Virginia rallied from 13 down to pick up its second win over a ranked team in eight days, defeating #20 North Carolina, 81-66, on Sunday at JPJ, in front of a season-high 5,690 spectators.

Freshman Kymora Johnson, who had 35 points in the upset at then-#15 Florida State last Sunday, had 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting for UVA (10-10, 2-7 ACC) in this one.

Grad senior Sam Brunelle had 14 points, including a pair of threes in the fourth quarter that helped break open a tight game.

North Carolina (15-7, 7-2 ACC), which entered Sunday’s contest tied for first in the ACC standings and had won the previous five matchups with the Cavaliers, was led by Reniya Kelly, who tallied 20 points in 40 minutes of action.

UNC led 25-16 at the end of the first quarter, but Virginia held the Tar Heels to four made field goals in the second, and got eight points from Brunelle, including a pair of threes, to go into the break up three, at 37-34.

The lead for Virginia stayed at three, at 60-57, heading into the fourth quarter. UNC’s Deja Kelly knocked down two free throws to kick off scoring in the fourth and trim UVA’s lead to 60-59, but that was as close as the Heels would get.

“I just couldn’t be more proud of our group,” UVA coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton said. “This was an emotional win. It was a great win. So many different people stepped up. We played together as a team. We bought in. We executed the game plan. We were poised. We didn’t panic when they went up. We just understood one possession at a time and just had some breakout performances. To do it in front of that crowd, I just want to say thank you to Wahoo Nation. That was amazing. It was electric in there. There was butts in seats everywhere. We really fed off of that.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].