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HONOLULU, Hawaii Virginia built a large first-half lead and finished strong to put away Minnesota, 73-62, in the semifinals of the Rainbow Wahine Classic on the campus of the University of Hawaii. Lyndra Littles led all players with 18 points, while Monica Wright added 17 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Cavaliers.

UVa (4-2) defeated a second-straight opponent listed in the national polls, as Minnesota was previously undefeated and receiving votes in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Virginia advances to the championship game of the Rainbow Wahine Classic and will face either host Hawaii or Hartford Sunday at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time.

“Our team prepared extremely well for Minnesota in a short amount of time,” Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan said. “Lyndra Littles, Paulisha Kellum and Monica Wright all played great and our first-half defense was the difference in the game.”

Virginia put forth an outstanding defensive effort in the first half, holding the Gophers to just 21 points while building a 14-point lead. Littles netted 10 of her 18 points in the first stanza, and the Cavaliers ended the half on a 14-2 run over the last seven minutes to take a 35-21 lead at halftime.

In the second half, Virginia built its cushion and led by at least seven points the rest of the way en route to the 73-62 victory.

Fourth-year guard Sharne Zoll was her characteristic play-making self, dishing out five assists and making two steals while adding seven points and two rebounds.

Ashley Ellis-Milan led Minnesota (6-1) with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Emily Fox chipped in 15 points for the gophers and Katie Ohm had 12.

The Virginia bench came through for the second-straight game, as Britnee Millner and Abby Robertson contributed key minutes down the stretch.

Check back to for the Cavaliers’ opponent in the championship game.

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