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CHARLOTTESVILLE – The Virginia women’s basketball team advanced to the second round of the 2012 Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) with a 59-56 victory over Howard in overtime on Thursday (March 15) night at John Paul Jones Arena. Virginia moves on to host in-state foe Richmond on Monday (March 19) at 7 p.m.

With the victory, Virginia improved to 23-10 overall and 15-3 at home this season. Howard finished its season with a 24-9 record.

Lexie Gerson (Fort Washington, Pa.) was the Cavaliers’ leading scorer with 18 points. The junior guard finished 6-for-17 from the field, connected on two 3-pointers and was clutch from the free throw line (4-for-4). She added seven rebounds, six assists and two steals.

Ariana Moorer (Woodbridge, Va.) had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Ataira Franklin (Bowie, Md.) added 13 points and seven rebounds.

After leading 21-16 at halftime, Virginia’s largest lead of the game came at the 14:14 mark of the second half when a jumper by Telia McCall (Marietta, Ga.) made the score 32-24.

Howard rallied from that eight-point deficit to tie the game at 42-42 on a 3-pointer by Kara Smith with 5:40 left in the game.

From there, the game was tied three more times (twice on Bison 3-pointers) including the final knot at 50-50 on two free throws by Gerson with 20 seconds left in regulation.

Howard managed three shot attempts and two offensive rebounds in the waning seconds but could not convert.

In overtime, Howard’s Zykia Brown hit a 3-pointer to open the scoring but Virginia countered with a lay-up by McCall and a fast break lay-up by Gerson to take a 54-53 lead with 2:35 to play. Virginia never trailed again and made free throws down the stretch to seal the 59-56 victory.

Howard’s Tamoria Holmes did get off a three-point attempt that would have tied the game as time expired but her shot was short.

For the game, Howard was 9-for-32 from 3-point range and shot 20-for-69 overall from the field. The Bison out-rebounded the Cavaliers, 52-44.

Howard’s high-scorer was Holmes with 17 points, while Saadia Doyle finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Tip-off vs. Richmond on Monday (March 19) is scheduled for 7 p.m., and live statistics will be available at The game will air locally on WINA 1070 AM in the Charlottesville area. That broadcast, along with live video, will be available free of charge at through Cavaliers Live.

Ticket prices are $9 for adults and $7 for youth, students and seniors. All tickets will be sold as general admission. Doors to John Paul Jones Arena will open at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 542-UVA1 or in person at the John Paul Jones Arena box office beginning 90 minutes prior to tip-off.

Game day parking will be available, free of charge, at John Paul Jones Arena and University Hall parking lots.

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