UVA women’s basketball holds off Saint Mary’s, 62-49

uva basketballThe UVA women’s basketball team (8-3) earned a 62-49 victory over Saint Mary’s (7-3)on Friday (Dec. 19) at John Paul Jones Arena in the second game of a three-game week for the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers went 10-for-10 from the free throw line in the final 1:09 of the game to hold off the Gaels and improve to 6-0 at home this season.

Junior guard Faith Randolph (Derwood, Md.) scored a game-high 20 points, including going 8-of-8 from the line in her fourth 20-point performance of the season. Randolph also had five rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block. Freshman guard Mikayla Venson (Arlington, Va.) scored 14 points with four assists.

Hayley Hendricksen and Lauren Nicholson each scored 16 points with four rebounds for the Gaels.

“This was a good test for us tonight,” said associate head coach Kim McNeill. “I don’t think we have seen that much of a sagging defense all year long. I thought our young ladies did a good job down the stretch of adjusting to it. Early in the game, we weren’t hitting a lot of shots, but they didn’t hang their heads. They went back down and continued to get stops on defense. I thought we grew in several areas tonight, especially with ball-screen defense and communicating on the screens, hard-hedging and really talking. I give a lot of credit to Saint Mary’s. They are a great team with a great coach.”

In a game of runs and droughts, the Cavaliers started the game making eight of their first 16 shots, including going on an 11-0 scoring run, to take a 17-9 lead, but a six-minute span in which UVa missed 10-straight shots allowed the Gaels to get back into the game. Saint Mary’s held a 24-22 lead with 1:20 left before the break, but Venson scored five points in the final1:08 to help send the game into the break knotted at 26.

Randolph and Venson hit back-to-back three-pointers to open the second half, the beginning of a 13-0 UVa run, while Saint Mary’s went scoreless for the first six minutes of the period, missing its first eight shots, as the Cavaliers opened up a 39-26 lead. Virginia had a nearly five-minute scoring drought midway through the period, with Saint Mary’s scoring eight points during the span to pull to within five, 45-40. Sophomore forward Sydney Umeri (Acworth, Ga.) pulled up for a jumper just inside the arc to reignite the Virginia offense with 3:42 remaining.

After the two teams traded baskets, senior center Sarah Imovbioh (Abuja, Nigeria) gave the Cavaliers some breathing room, converting an and-one with 1:21 remaining to put Virginia ahead 52-44. After making a free throw on their next possession to make it a seven-point game, the Gaels began immediately fouling, sending Randolph to the line four times, where she made all eight of her attempts, and sophomore guard Breyana Mason (Woodbridge, Va.) once, where she made both of her free throws, during the final 1:09 of the game.

Saint Mary’s shot 27.3 percent (6-of-22) in the second half and 34.8 percent overall. Virginia shot 39.3 percent for the game.  SMC outrebounded UVa, 38-28. The Gaels committed 23 turnovers while Virginia made 14.

McNeill served as the acting head coach for the second-consecutive game as Joanne Boyle is on personal leave while finalizing an adoption. McNeill will also serve in that same role for the Cavaliers’ next game on Sunday, Dec. 21 when they host Howard at 6 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.

Single-game ticket prices for all home 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 Monday through 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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