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CHARLOTTESVILLE – The Virginia women’s basketball team withstood a late Pennsylvania rally and came away with a 54-45 victory Sunday at John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavalier frontcourt was one of the keys to victory, as junior forward Chelsea Shine (Wayne, Pa.) led all scorers with 20 points and sophomore center Simone Egwu (Odenton, Md.) scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Virginia and the Cavaliers’ record improved to 11-8 overall. Penn’s record dropped to 5-8 on the season.

After leading 26-18 at halftime, Virginia built its lead to 17 points, 40-23, on a 3-pointer by freshman Ataira Franklin (Bowie, Md.) at the 17:36 mark.

Penn countered with a 15-3 run over the next 12 minutes to cut the Cavalier lead to 43-38 at the 7:48 mark. The Quakers got even closer, closing the gap to three points with 3:12 left on a lay-up by Alyssa Baron with 3:12 left in the game that made the score 48-45.

Junior guard Whitny Edwards (Charlotte, N.C.) had the answer for Virginia at that point, nailing a jumper from the elbow to extend the Cavalier lead back to five points, 50-45, with 2:39 left in the game.

Penn did not score again in the game and Virginia closed out the last two minutes with six unanswered points to earn the 54-45 victory.

Franklin just missed a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds. The rookie set a new career-high with four steals.

Virginia improved to 9-0 vs. non-conference opponents at home this season.

Penn was led by Baron’s 13 points and five rebounds and Brianna Bradford’s 11 points and two steals.

With its non-conference regular-season schedule complete, Virginia returns to Atlantic Coast Conference action. Maryland comes to town on Friday, Jan. 21, for an 8:30 p.m. game at John Paul Jones Arena. That game will be televised by the ACC’s Regional Sports Network (Comcast SportsNet in the Charlottesville area).

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