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UVA alum Tammi Reiss notches win with Rhode Island over Virginia, 80-70

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Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Rhode Island, coached by Virginia women’s basketball legend Tammi Reiss, pulled away from the Cavaliers in the fourth quarter on its way to an 80-70 win in the opening game of the Cavalier Classic tournament on Friday at John Paul Jones Arena.

The Cavaliers (1-5) held a two-point lead at halftime, but Rhode Island (7-0) used a 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter and built up an 18-point lead midway through the period. UVA was able to chip away at the deficit late, pulling to within seven with 53.4 seconds remaining and six within the final 15 seconds, but could not complete the comeback.

Junior forward Camryn Taylor led the Cavaliers with 22 points and six rebounds. Grad student guard Amandine Toi scored 17 points with three assists. Dez Elmore led the Rams with 22 points. Chanell Williams scored 19 points, with 14 coming at the free throw line.

Reiss was an All-American at Virginia, playing on UVA’s three Final Four teams. Rhode Island assistant coach Sharnee Zoll-Norman is also an alumna, graduating in 2008 as the Cavaliers’ all-time leader in assists.

A pair of free throws from junior point guard Taylor Valladay with 7.5 seconds remaining sent UVA into the break with a 35-33 edge.

The Rams used a hot-shooting stretch in the third quarter, making five baskets in seven attempts, to build up a 54-45 advantage. A second three from McKenna Dale cut the deficit to 54-48 with 26 seconds left in the quarter. Emmanuelle Tahane hit a layup at the buzzer to make it 56-48 heading into the fourth.

Rhode Island scored the first six points of the final frame and outscored the Cavaliers 12-2 in the first five minutes of the period to build up a 68-50 advantage. A three from the left corner from Toi halted the Rams’ run. Toi was fouled on a made layup. She missed the free throw, but Taylor grabbed the rebound and the put-back to narrow the gap to 68-57 with 4:19 remaining.

A Taylor layup with 2:35 remaining extended the UVA run to 9-0 and pulled the Cavaliers to a single-digit deficit, 68-59, but Rhode Island made a pair of free throws on the opposite end to go back up by 11. A jumper from Valladay with 53.4 seconds remaining cut the deficit to 73-66.

Taylor narrowed the gap to six, 76-70, with 17 seconds remaining, but Rhode Island made their free throws on the opposite end. The Rams held on for the 10-point victory

“To say this was a tough game for us this afternoon was an understatement. I mean, I’ve been a part of the game for a long time and played in a whole lot of games. I don’t think that I’ve ever been a part of a game where a team shoots more free throws than actual field goals attempted,” UVA coach Tina Thompson said.

Rhode Island was 20-of-41 from the field and 35-of-44 from the free throw line for the game.

“In a game like that, it’s just gonna be very difficult for a team to find a rhythm as much as we try to adjust defensively. I am proud of the fact that my kids continued to fight. We just had a really tough battle in the sense that as physical as we are, and as much as we go inside, to have a 20 free throw deficit, it’s just I’ve just never seen it. I’m really disappointed.”

The Cavalier Classic tournament concludes on Sunday. Long Beach State will play Rhode Island at 1 p.m. while Virginia will take on Richmond at 4 p.m.

The UVA/Richmond game will be televised on the ACC Network.

augusta free press
augusta free press