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Dec. 19, 2006

2006 Marriott Cavalier Classic
John Paul Jones Arena

Thursday, Dec. 28:
UAB vs. Northwestern State, 12:30 p.m.
Maine at Virginia, 3 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 29:
Third Place Game, 4:30 p.m.
Championship Game, 7 p.m.

Virginia takes a 10-day holiday break before hosting its own Marriott Cavalier Classic on Dec. 28-29. In opening round action on Thursday, Dec. 28, UAB faces Northwestern State at 12:30 p.m., while Maine takes on Virginia at 3 p.m. On Friday, Dec. 29, the Third Place Game tips at 4:30 p.m. with the Championship to follow at 7 p.m. All games will be played at the John Paul Jones Arena.

The Black Bears, under the helm of second-year head coach Ann McInerney, stand 5-4 after a 63-34 loss at Boston College on Dec. 17. Freshman guard Bracey Barker paces Maine with 15.3 ppg while shooting 93 percent from the free throw line. Senior guard Ashley Underwood follows with 11.6 ppg. Senior Katie Whittier grabs a team-best 6.2 rpg.

Virginia holds a 2-0 series edge over Maine. In the teams’ last meeting at the Women’s Sports Foundation Classic in Baton Rouge, La., on Nov. 12, 2004, Virginia claimed a 72-62 win to capture third place.

The Blazers, under the guidance of third-year head coach Audra Smith, stand 2-6 after a 67-52 win over Florida Atlantic on Dec. 18. Senior guard Carmen Guzman paces UAB with 21.8 ppg. Junior forward Diamond Rogers follows with 14.5 ppg and a team-best 6.6 rpg. UAB plays Hampton (Dec. 19) in the championship game of its own Blazer Invitational and Virginia Tech (Dec. 21) before visiting Charlottesville.

Virginia and UAB have never met before in the sport of women’s hoops.

For the third time this season, Virginia welcomes alumni home to Charlottesville. UAB head coach Audra Smith (1989-92) helped the Cavaliers to three consecutive Final Four appearances during her playing career. After graduation, Smith returned to her alma mater as Debbie Ryan’s top assistant coach for 10 seasons. UAB assistant coaches Daryl Oliver and Kathy Allen (2002) also return. Oliver coached at Virginia for two seasons prior to following Smith to UAB. Allen played for UVa during the 2001-02 season.

The Lady Demons, under the tutelage of third-year head coach Jennifer Graf, stand 4-6 after a 72-70 overtime loss at Washington State on Dec. 17. Senior guard Chassidy Jones paces NWLA with 21.0 ppg. Junior guard Ashli Barnum follows with 13.5 ppg, while junior guard Tena Matthews is third with 12.9 ppg and a team-best 8.7 rpg. Northwestern State hosts North Texas on Dec. 21 prior to participating in the Marriott Cavalier Classic.

This is the first meeting between Virginia and Northwestern State in women’s basketball.

The Virginia has captured 16 of the 20 Cavalier Classic team titles since the tourney began in 1976. Started as the precursor to the ACC Tournament, the Cavalier Classic’s official name has changed several times through the years. North Carolina captured the first title in 1976, while NC State won the tourney in 1977. Auburn took home the title in 1998, while Minnesota won the 2003 championship The host Cavaliers have won 16 tourney championship titles, including the last two. This is the first tourney at JPJA.

Virginia suffered a 96-60 loss to No. 6/6 Connecticut on Dec. 18 at the John Paul Jones Arena before a national television audience and a season-high crowd of 5,532 fans. The loss is UVa’s worst home loss since a 35-point decision to No. 2 Old Dominion on Jan. 16, 1980. Sophomore Lyndra Littles (Washington, D.C.) led UVa with 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Senior Siedah Williams (Cleveland, Ohio) followed with 11 points, while freshman Monica Wright (Woodbridge, Va.) added 10 points. Overall, UConn out-rebounded Virginia, 42-38. The Cavalier shot a season-low 27 percent (20-73) from the field, while the Huskies shot 66 percent (42-64).

After 11 contests, sophomore Lyndra Littles leads the Cavaliers with 15.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Freshman Monica Wright follows with 12.8 ppg, while junior Sharneé Zoll adds 11.4 ppg and 54 assists. UVa out-scores its opponents by +9.6 points and out-rebounds its foes by +2.5 boards.

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