UVa. women top Minnesota, 90-68

The Virginia women’s basketball team earned a 90-68 victory at Minnesota in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game.

The Gophers started the game making six of their first seven field goal attempts, including going 4-for-5 from three-point range to take an early 16-6 lead. Kelsey Wolfe (Jr., Germantown, Pa.) kept the Cavaliers in the game, scoring seven of UVa’s first nine points.

Trailing 18-10, the Cavaliers began to make their run. Simone Egwu (Sr., Odenton, Md.), making her first appearance of the season, got a put back and drew a foul to narrow the gap to 18-13. Ataira Franklin (Jr., Bowie, Md.) scored the next five points, with a pull-up jumper followed by a game-tying three-pointer. A low-post feed to Sarah Beth Barnette (R-So., Lexington, Ky.) set the Cavaliers up for their first lead of the game, 20-18, after Barnette drew a foul and converted her two free throws.

Trailing 23-20, the Cavaliers mounted an 11-0 run. A three-pointer from Faith Randolph (Fr., Derwood, Md.) got the scoring charge started. China Crosby (Sr., New York, N.Y.) stole a pass and raced down to the other end for a layup. Wolfe grabbed another steal, scoring a fast break layup of her own to make it 29-23. After Wolfe blocked the next Gopher shot attempt, Randolph was fouled on the other end, going to the line to make both free throws. Wolfe capped the run with a jump shot to give Virginia a 33-25 lead with 7:28 remaining.

After the Gophers pulled within six, 36-30, Wolfe again drove toward the basket, getting fouled and going to theline to add two more points, giving her 15 in the game and putting the Cavaliers up 38-30 with just under four minutes left in the half.

Virginia pushed it back out to a double-digit lead when Franklin found Telia McCall (Sr., Marietta, Ga.) on the low block, making it a 41-30 game with three minutes left in the half.

The Cavaliers went into the break with a 46-34 advantage.

UVa began the second half with Sarah Imovbioh (So., Abuja, Nigeria)  drawing a foul on a made layup and converting the and-one opportunity. Wolfe followedwith a pull-up jumper to take a 51-35 lead.

Minnesota ended the early Virginia run by draining a three. The Golden Gophers had a chance to narrow the gap back to single digits after getting fouled on a made layup with 17:08 remaining in the game, but they missed the free throw, keeping the score 51-41. Wolfe drove through the lane to score a layup on the opposite end. After another Gophermiss, Franklin hit a three to make it a 56-41 game with 15:26 remaining.

Wolfe drained a three-pointer from the upper right portion of the arc with just over 11 minutes left in the game, giving Virginia its first 20-point advantage, 70-50, with just over 11 minutes remaining.

After narrowing the gap to 74-61, Barnette and Franklin hit a pair of threes to push it back out to 80-62 with just over six minutes left in the game.

With the win, Virginia improves to 5-1 on the season and 5-1 in ACC/Big Ten Challenge games. Minnesota falls to 6-2 on the year.

“This was one of our better team wins this year,” said head coach Joanne Boyle. “Minnesota has a great squad. I was really proud of our team. We got down early and they took us out of ourzone, but we stayed poised and came back and got really aggressive in our man. It was definitely one of our better offensive efforts.”

Wolfe scored a career-high 25 points with six rebounds, three steals, and three assists. Franklin scored 13 points with eight assists. Jazmin Pitts (Jr., Mosely, Va.) scored 12 points, going6-for-9 from the field, with 10 of those points coming in the second half.

The Cavaliers shot 62.5 percent in the first half, going 15-for-24. They finished the game with a 58.9 shooting percentage (33-of-56).

It was the second time this season the Cavaliers erased a ten-point deficit in a road game this season. Virginia came back from down 15 points at Penn to win, 68-65.

The Cavaliers are back home on Sunday, Dec. 2, hosting No. 25 West Virginia at 2 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville.


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