Women’s basketball: Virginia falls 77-62 at No. 12 Florida State

uva basketballThe Virginia women’s basketball team (15-9, 8-3 ACC) suffered a 77-62 loss to No. 12 Florida State (20-4, 8-3 ACC) on Thursday (Feb. 8) at the Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Seminoles struck early, mounting a 12-0 run in the first quarter and a 20-2 run late in the second to take a 42-21 lead into halftime. The Cavaliers chipped away at the deficit in the second half, pulling to within eight, 70-62, with 1:27 remaining in the game, but the Seminoles went 7-of-8 from the free throw line down the stretch to close out the game.

Sophomore center Felicia Aiyeotan (Lagos, Nigeria) had her sixth double-double of the season, scoring a season-high 15 points with 13 rebounds. Sophomore guard Dominique Toussaint (Staten Island, N.Y.) scored 12 points with six rebounds and six assists.

Shakayla Thomas led Florida State with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting. AJ Alix scored 17 points, going 3-of-7 from three-point range.

Virginia outrebounded Florida State, 43-32. The Seminoles came into the game as the top rebounding team in the conference with a +12.2 average rebounding margin.

“Florida State is such a good team and going down to them by that much is hard to come back from,” said Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle. “We had great effort in the second half, but it wasn’t there in the first half. We made a run, but it was just too much to dig ourselves out of. The team that was out there in the second half has to be the team that shows up every night.

“Florida State shoots the ball well at home. They did a lot of isolation plays and made some tough shots. We could have done a better job defending. Our turnovers and defensive lapses is what got us into the hole, and we just couldn’t dig out of it.”

The Cavaliers started the game making just one of their first 12 field goal attempts as Florida State jumped out to a 14-2 lead. Senior forward Lauren Moses (Mount Holly, N.J.) ended a 5:10 scoring drought with a layup after an offensive rebound with 2:22 remaining in the period. Virginia scored seven points, including the Moses layup, in a 1:22 span, making it a 16-9 game, but Thomas made three free throws in the final 45 seconds of the period to push the lead out to 19-9.

After Alix opened the second period with a trey, Virginia mounted a 7-0 run, capped by a three from senior guard Aliyah Huland El (Randolph, N.J.) to cut the deficit to single digits, 22-16, with 7:24 remaining in the period. FSU answered with three treys in a 2:13 span, the start of their 20-2 run. Freshman guard Brianna Tinsley (Madison, Va.) hit a three to end the run with 16 seconds remaining in the half. Virginia went into the locker room at the break trailing 42-21.

The Cavaliers started chipping away in the third quarter, mounting a 12-2 run in with five points from Aiyeotan and four from Toussaint to cut the deficit to 49-35. In the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers narrowed the gap to 64-49 on a three-pointer from redshirt senior guard J’Kyra Brown (Rocky Mount, N.C.). Sophomore guard Jocelyn Willoughby (East Orange, N.J.) scored four points during a 6-0 UVA run that narrowed the gap to 68-57 with three minutes remaining. A three from Toussaint with 2:20 remaining made it a 10-point deficit, 70-60. A pair of free throws from Huland El cut the deficit back to single digits, 70-62, with 1:27 remaining. The Cavaliers missed their final four field goal attempts of the game while the Seminoles went 7-of-8 from the free throw line to extend the margin of victory back out to 15 points.

Virginia shot 34.8 percent (23-of-66) in the game while Florida State went 27-of-57 (47.4 percent). The Cavaliers were 5-of-19 (26.3 percent) from three-point range while Florida State went 8-of-18 (44.4 percent). Florida State scored 18 points off 16 Virginia turnovers.

Virginia and Florida State are now tied for third place in the ACC at 8-3.

This was the first of two road contests for the Cavaliers this week as they play at Virginia Tech (16-8, 5-6 ACC) on Sunday, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. Virginia returns home to host No. 5 Notre Dame on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena in the first of two remaining home games of the 2017-18 season.

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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