Virginia Beats Tech, 79-76 in Commonwealth Challenge
Feb. 15, 2007
BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Cavaliers captured a point in the Commonwealth Challenge with a 79-76 win at intra-state rival Virginia Tech on Thursday evening at Cassell Coliseum.
Virginia improved to 15-11 overall and 4-7 in ACC play, while the Hokies fell to 16-12 overall and 5-7 in the league. With the win, Virginia claimed a point in the all-sport competition between the two schools. Virginia now leads the Commonwealth Challenge, 6.5 to 4.5.
The contest was also the 1,000 women’s game in Virginia school history. UVa stands 694-306 all-time in 34 seasons.
Virginia jumped out to a nine-point lead, 23-14. UVa then held the Hokies to just five free throws over a 10-minute span while boosting its lead to 13 points, 33-20. The `Hoos led by seven at intermission, 33-26.
In the second half, the Cavaliers went back ahead by 11 points, 32-32 with 15:19 to go. The Hokies cut the lead to three, 53-50 with 9:18 on the clock. UVa then went ahead by 10 points, 76-66, but the Hokies came back within two points, 78-76, with just 22 seconds to go. The Hokies had an opportunity to tie the game but missed a lay-up. Junior Sharnee Zoll (Marlboro, N.J.) then connected on the front end of a one-and-one to keep a three-point lead. Tech’s last three-point attempt fell short.
“I knew we’d be alright,” Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan said of the final minute of play. “It was very nerve-wracking. Lyndra was on balance. She was working extremely hard. We did a nice job of getting the ball inside.”
Sophomore Lyndra Littles (Washington, D.C.) paced the Cavaliers with 24 points. Freshman Monica Wright (Woodbridge, Va.) followed with 16 points, while senior Siedah Williams (Cleveland, Ohio) added 12 points. Freshman Paulisha Kellum (Upper Marlboro, Md.) came off the bench for 10 points. Zoll dished out a game-high 10 assists, the eighth time she netted double-digit assists in her career. With her only three of the game, senior Brenna McGuire (Winchester, Mass.) moved into second place on Virginia’s career list for three-point baskets. She now has 187 treys in 119 games.
Sixty of the Cavaliers’ 79 points were scored in the paint.
“Our guards did a great job of getting the ball into the post,” Littles said.
Britney Anderson led Tech with 21 points, while Nare Diawara had 19 points. Kirby Copeland added 16 points, and Brittany Cook rounded out the double-digit scoring with 11 points.
Overall, UVa out-rebounded Tech, 31-30. Both teams shot 65 percent in the second half and over 50 percent for the game. The Cavaliers did not reach the free throw line until the final six minutes of action.
Virginia returns home to John Paul Jones Arena on Sunday, Feb. 18 to host Florida State in the regular-season finale. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. The Senior Class will be honored in a pregame ceremony. In honor of Fan Appreciation Day, the first 1,000 fans will receive a free scoop of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream prior to tip-off.