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Nov. 12, 2012

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PHILADELPHIA – The Virginia women’s basketball team, trailing by 15 points in the first half, rallied in the second half to earn a 68-65 victory at Penn. Kelsey Wolfe scored 22 points with 9 rebounds.

Penn dominated the first half, answering Virginia’s zone defense with hot perimeter shooting. Holding a 7-6 advantage, the Quakers went on a 7-0 run, making three baskets while Virginia missed an equal number on the other end of the court, extending the lead to 14-6.

Virginia struggled to create a momentum swing. Trailing 28-14, they had a chance when Faith Randolph (Fr., Derwood, Md.) converted a pull up in the lane. China Crosby (Sr., New York, N.Y.) immediately got a steal, missing the layup but Kelsey Wolfe (Jr., Germantown, Md.) got the putback, getting the deficit back to 10 points. The momentum swing was short lived, with Penn’s Kara Bonenberger immediately draining a three on the opposite end to kill the rally.

The Cavaliers went into the break trailing 35-23 after shooting 32.3 percent in the period. The Quakers made 53.8 percent of their shots, scoring 15 points off turnovers.

Penn opened the second half by making their fifth three-pointer of the game, extending the lead to 38-23. Wolfe scored five straight points, all coming at the free throw line, to narrow the gap to 10, 38-28. Telia McCall (Sr., Marietta, Ga.) got the deficit back to single digits, getting fouled on a putback and making both free throws. The Quakers answered with the exact same play on the other end to push the lead out to 45-34 with 15 minutes left in the game.

Nine of the Cavaliers first 13 points in the second half came from the free throw line.

Sarah Imovbioh (So., Abuja, Nigeria) battled down low, getting a pair of layups to narrow the gap to five, 45-40, with 12:40 remaining. A full-court pass from McCall to Ataira Franklin (Jr., Bowie, Md.) set up a layup to make it a 45-42 game.

Wolfe hit a three from the top right of the arc to tie the game, 54-54, with just over six minutes left to play. Wolfe got an and-one, giving the Cavaliers a 57-56 lead with 4:20 remaining after driving the lane and getting fouled as the ball rolled around the rim and into the net.

Trailing 63-59, Wolfe converted another and-one, sinking her ninth free throw of the game to narrow the gap to 63-62 with 2:28 remaining. Wolfe drove to the rim on the next possession, getting a layup to give the Cavaliers a 64-63 lead. After a Penn make, Franklin drained a deep two-pointer just over the line to put Virginia up 66-65.

The Quakers tried to feed the low post with the shot clock expiring when McCall intercepted the pass. A layup by McCall on the opposite end gave Virginia a 68-65 lead with 34.3 on the clock. Penn took an off-balanced three with Wolfe battling for the rebound. The Hoos, trapped by the press, called a timeout with 11.1 seconds left in the game. The ensuing inbounds pass was tied up, giving possession to Penn with 9.7 on the clock.

The Cavalier defense locked down, with the Quakers unable to find an open look. Penn jacked a desperation three with time expiring that didn’t make it to the hoop. The Cavaliers held on for the three-point win.

Kelsey Wolfe led the team with 22 points, including going 9-for-9 from the free throw line. Wolfe also had nine rebounds and six assists. Telia McCall scored 14 with eight rebounds, four steals, and three assists.

The Cavaliers, now 2-0 on the season, return home to host Providence on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.

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