Women’s basketball: Virginia falls 60-55 at Virginia Tech

virginia basketballThe Virginia women’s basketball team (16-14, 6-10 ACC) fell to Virginia Tech (17-12, 5-11 ACC) 60-55 on Sunday (Feb. 28) at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va.

Virginia was leading by 10, 46-36, with 9:43 remaining, but Virginia Tech closed out the game on a 24-9 run to top the Cavaliers. The Hokies shot 61.5 percent in the final period and went 7-of-8 from the free throw line, while UVA shot 27.8 percent from the field in the final quarter.

“I felt we played really hard today,” Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle said. “We were up 10 a couple of times and I thought we could have pushed the envelope a little bit more. We let them come back in and they had the momentum at the end of the game. I thought we did a really good job defensively up until that fourth quarter, and then we just had some breakdowns and let them get run-outs and easy baskets. We were a little tired and our shots just weren’t falling in the fourth.”

Four players scored in double-figures for Virginia. Sophomore Mikayla Venson (Arlington, Va.) the Cavaliers with 16 points. Senior Faith Randolph (Derwood, Md.) and sophomore Aliyah Huland El (Randolph, N.J.) each added 11 points and junior Breyana Mason (Woodbridge, Va.) scored 10. Sophomore Lauren Moses (Mount Holly, N.J.) picked up 12 rebounds to lead UVA on the boards.

Chanette Hicks led the Hokies with 19 points, scoring 11 of those in the fourth quarter.

After VT got on the board first, Virginia used a 6-0 run to take a 6-2 lead after a jumper by Mason at the6:14 mark in the first quarter. A 6-0 run put the Hokies up 8-6 with 4:18 on the clock. The teams traded three-pointers and a jumper by Venson, who scored the last five points in the period for UVA, tied the game 11-11. Neither team scored for the final two minutes of the first quarter.

Virginia opened the second quarter on a 9-3 run, holding the Hokies to just one basket in the first 5:48. Tech’s lone basket came on a three-pointer at the 7:25 mark during that span, but threes by Randolph and Huland El and a jumper from Mason put UVA up 23-14.

Virginia Tech closed the gap to 23-22 with an 8-0 run, as UVA was held scoreless for just under three minutes until two free throws by Randolph gave Virginia a 25-22 lead. Virginia Tech hit two free throws to cut the lead back to one, but a layup by Randolph with 10 seconds remaining in the half gave the Cavaliers a 27-24 lead at the break.

The Hokies took a 30-29 lead, its first since 4:18 in the first quarter, after beginning the third with a 6-2 run. A three-pointer by Venson followed by a layup from Mason put UVA back in front, 34-30, with 4:42 left in the third period. The Cavaliers extended their lead to 38-30 with 3:10 to play in the third when VT went on a 6-0 to make it 38-36 with 1:23 to go in the third. Back-to-back three-pointers by Venson, who finished with nine points in the third, gave UVA a 44-36 lead heading into the final period.

The Cavaliers scored the first basket of the fourth period, but Virginia Tech went on a 16-0 run over the next five minutes to regain the lead, 50-46, with 5:50 to go in the game. Moses ended the drought for the Cavaliers with a layup after getting an offensive rebound for her 10th board of the game to make it 52-48. Moses scored the first five points of the fourth for UVA. Virginia had a 7-0 run to go ahead 53-52 after a layup by Huland El, until an and-one for VT’s Hicks put the Hokies back in front. Huland El scored on a layup to tie the game at 55-55 with 1:04 to play. The Cavaliers were unable to capitalize the remainder of the game and sent Virginia Tech to the line where it converted 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute to take the 60-55 win.

Virginia Tech outshot Virginia 41.5 percent (22-of-53) to 37.3 percent (22-of-59). The Hokies also led with 36 rebounds to 34 for the Cavaliers. Both teams finished with nine turnovers.

This is the first time Virginia Tech has swept the season-series with the Cavaliers.

The Virginia-Virginia Tech game is part of the Commonwealth Clash presented by Virginia529, which is a head-to-head, points-based competition between the athletic teams of the Cavaliers and Hokies. The Commonwealth Clash encourages a friendly, statewide rivalry between the two schools across all school-sponsored sports with 21 individual event points on the line. The school that accumulates 11 points or more will be crowned the winner and take home the Virginia529 Commonwealth Clash trophy.
With the Virginia Tech victory, the Hokies have earned another half-point in the Virginia529 Commonwealth Clash.  The score for the Clash is now University of Virginia – 7 and Virginia Tech – 5. UVA claimed the inaugural Commonwealth Clash 15-7 last season.

The ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament will be held March 2-6 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C. The full bracket, first-round match-ups and game times will be released this Sunday evening.

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is now available at a special pre-sale discounted price of $20. The book is expected to ship by May 15, 2019, and expected to retail for $25.
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The book, with additional reporting by Scott Ratcliffe and Zach Pereles, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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