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CHARLOTTESVILLE – Virginia’s run in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) ended in the quarterfinals Saturday night (March 26). The Cavaliers fell to Charlotte 79-74 at John Paul Jones Arena.

The loss ended Virginia’s season and the Cavaliers finished with a 19-16 overall record. Charlotte advanced to the semifinals of the postseason tournament and improved to 27-9.

Virginia made its fourth WNIT appearance and advanced to the quarterfinals for the third time in school history. UVa’s all-time record in the WNIT went to 8-5 in 13 games.

Sophomore guard China Crosby (New York, N.Y.) scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Cavaliers. She finished 8-for-12 from the field and dished out four assists.

Virginia had its largest lead of the first half after a 3-pointer by Crosby made the score 17-12 with 12:33 left.

Four minutes later and clinging to a 21-18 lead, Virginia was out-scored 14-2 over the next 4:10 to fall behind, 32-23. Charlotte eventually extended its lead to 44-32 at the halftime break.

Virginia cut the lead to single digits, 54-45, on a 3-point play by Crosby that ignited the crowd of 1,940 at John Paul Jones Arena.

Charlotte responded with a quick 3-pointer by Shannon McCallum, but the Cavaliers did not quit.

A late 10-0 run that included back-to-back 3-pointers by freshman Ataira Franklin (Bowie, Md.) got UVa to within two points at 62-60 with 3:57 left in the game.

Charlotte’s Gabby Tyler hit a jumper with 3:31 to respond for the 49ers and although Virginia made it a one-possession game on two more occasions, Charlotte held on for the 79-74 victory.

Franklin finished with 13 points and five boards for UVa, while senior guard Paulisha Kellum (Upper Marlboro, Md.) finished out her Cavalier career by scoring 12 points and grabbing five rebounds.

Kellum played in 133rd-career game – which is tied fifth on Virginia’s all-time list with former teammate Monica Wright (2006-2010).

Charlotte’s McCallum finished with 24 points and five rebounds and Epiphany Woodson added 17 points.

The 49ers out-rebounded the Cavaliers, 41-35.

It was announced on March 12 that Debbie Ryan has decided to step down as women’s head basketball coach effective at the end of the 2010-11 season. She ends her 34-year tenure at Virginia with a 739-324 overall record.

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