Women’s basketball: UVA closes out Cavalier Classic with 66-56 win over Dayton

uva basketballThe UVA women’s basketball team (11-2, 0-0 ACC) closed out its non-conference slate with a 66-56 win over Dayton (6-7, 0-1 A-10) on Thursday (Dec. 29) in the finale of the Cavalier Classic Tournament Presented by Doubletree by Hilton Charlottesville at John Paul Jones Arena.

In a game with seven lead changes, Dayton held an early 15-7 advantage, but the Cavaliers went into the halftime break with a 30-29 lead. After a free throw from junior guard J’Kyra Brown (Rocky Mount, N.C.) followed by a layup from senior guard Breyana Mason (Woodbridge, Va.) broke the eighth tie of the game with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers would hold the lead the remainder of the contest. After Virginia built up a 12-point lead, 57-45, with eight minutes remaining, Dayton whittled away at the deficit, pulling to within five, 61-56, with 2:03 left, but the Cavaliers scored the final six points of the game to close out the victory.

“I am really proud of the team as these were two good back-to-back games for us,” said Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle. “This was a great team win. Dayton is a really good team. They have been up and down a little bit this year, but they are finding their stride so this was a really good win for us. I thought we played with a lot of energy and a lot of heart. Everyone contributed, in big or small ways. When you get to go eight or sometimes nine deep in your bench it is really nice.”

Freshman guard Jocelyn Willoughby (East Orange, N.J.) was named the tournament MVP. She finished with 16 points, including going 12-of-14 from the free throw line, while also adding three assists and grabbing seven rebounds. Freshman guard Dominique Toussaint (Staten Island, N.Y.) was also named to the all-tournament team after leading the Cavaliers with 17 points with five assists and four rebounds.

Dayton’s Saicha Grant-Allen was named to the all-tournament team after scoring 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting. JaVonna Layfield, who scored six points with eight rebounds, also earned the honor.

The Cavaliers got off to a slow start, making one of their first six field goal attempts. Moses provided the early offense, scoring four of UVA’s first six points and picking up three steals in the first five minutes of the contest, but the Flyers built up a 17-12 lead.

Virginia opened the second quarter on a 9-2 run, tying the game at 19 on a three-pointer from Brown with 6:58 remaining in the half and taking a 21-19 lead on a pair of Willoughby free throws. The Cavaliers suffered a cold-shooting spell midway through the period, making just one of 10 attempts, with Dayton edging out to a 26-24 lead. Moses tied the game up at 26 on a floater in the lane with 2:27 remaining. The Cavaliers took a 30-29 lead into the break after Mason hit a pair of free throws with 3.5 seconds left in the half.

In the second half, the Cavaliers built up a 40-34 lead by scoring six points in a 59-second span, including a pair of baskets from Toussaint. Dayton went on a 6-0 run of its own to tie the game, 40-40. Freshman forward Lisa Jablonowski (Ernster, Luxembourg) grabbed a steal and converted a fastbreak layup on the opposite end to give UVA a 45-42 edge. Freshman center Felicia Aiyeotan (Lagos, Nigeria) added a layup with 1:29 left in the quarter before a three-pointer from Dayton’s Jenna Giacone cut Virginia’s lead to 49-45 with 31 seconds left. A pair of late free throws from Toussaint sent UVA into the fourth quarter with a 51-45 lead.

Aiyeotan scored back-to-back layups to start the final period, giving the Cavaliers their first double-digit lead, 55-45. Willoughby added a pair of free throws to give UVA its largest advantage, 12 points, with 7:54 remaining. Dayton went on a 7-0 run to make it a five-point game with 3:55 remaining. Both teams traded baskets with the five-point differential remaining until Brown hit a floater over a defender with 1:38 remaining to start the Cavaliers’ 6-0 run to close out the game.

In the first game of the day, UMBC downed Liberty, 62-51. Taylor Moore and Tyler McCarley each had 16 points, as McCarley chipped in five assists. Freshman Lucrezia Costa poured in a career-high 14 points, going 8-of-12 from the foul line. Keyen Green led Liberty with 16 points on 7-14 shooting. Green and Moore were both named All-Tournament.

Virginia heads into ACC action with an 11-2 record, its best record since going 12-2 in non-conference play during the 2011-12 season. The Cavaliers are also on a six-game win-streak, their longest since winning seven in a row that same season.

UVA opens conference action on Monday, Jan. 2, playing at No. 25 Syracuse at 7 p.m. Virginia will be back at home on Thursday, Jan. 5, taking on No. 8 Louisville.

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).

UVA Basketball Fans!

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