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Dec. 21, 2012

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Virginia Cavaliers fell, 73-70, in double overtime at Alabama.

Sarah Imovbioh (So., Abuja, Nigeria) made a layup with 29 seconds left in the game to tie the contest and send it to overtime. The Crimson Tide, trailing 66-63 in the first overtime, banked in a three-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining to force the second overtime. The Cavaliers had a one-point lead, 70-69, with 15 seconds remaining, before Alabama made two trips to the free throw line to earn the 73-70 victory.

“We are really disappointed,” said head coach Joanne Boyle. “This is the second time this has happened to us this year, the game being decided on the free throw line in the final seconds. First Syracuse and then here.”

The game featured nine lead changes and ten tied scores. The two teams combined for 46 fouls and 54 turnovers with neither team shooting better than 36 percent from the field.

After Alabama turned the ball over three times in its first five possessions, Virginia took an early 7-2 lead. The Cavaliers scored nine of their first 13 points off turnovers.

Twice the Tide pulled within two points in the early going, each time guard Faith Randolph (Fr., Derwood, Md.) pulled up for a jumper inside the paint to extend the lead back to four points.

Alabama took its first lead of the game, 14-13, with Daisha Simmons hitting her second three-pointer of the game with 11:01 left in the first half.

After trailing 17-13, Virginia came back and tied the game, 17-17, after Kelsey Wolfe (Jr., Germantown, Md.), raced down the court in transition, finding Sarah Beth Barnette (R-So., Lexington, Ky.) under the hoop for a layup.Alabama answered with a seven-point run, taking a 24-17 lead, scoring five of those points by capitalizing on Virginia turnovers.

Trailing 27-21, Ataira Franklin (Jr., Bowie, Md.) hit the first three-pointer of the game for the Cavaliers. Barnette followed with a three-pointer of her own a minute later to pull the team within two, 29-27. Wolfe got fouled racing up the court, going to the line to tie the game, 29-29, with 49 seconds left in the half.Neither team was able to capitalize on opportunities in the final 45 seconds of the half, going to the break knotted at 29.

After the two squads traded turnovers to start the second half, Wolfe drove toward the baseline. Finding herself swarmed by three defenders, she kicked the ball out to a wide-open Franklin who drained a three from the right corner to give the Cavaliers a 32-29 lead.

After three ties and three lead changes, the Cavaliers trailed 43-40 with 11:28 left in the game. Virginia committed its 22 turnover of the game, with Alabama making a layup on the other end to extend the lead, 45-40.Virginia trailed 54-49 with four minutes left in the game.

Imovbioh pulled the team within two, 54-52 with three minutes remaining, going up strong to the hoop, laying in the ball and getting fouled in the process. She converted the free throw. On the opposite end, Imovbioh fought for a defensive rebound, getting the ball out to China Crosby (Sr., New York, N.Y.) who drew a foul while driving to the hoop. Crosby made both free throws to tie the game, 54-54.After Alabama went 1-for-2 from the stripe, Telia McCall (Sr., Marietta, Ga.) drew a foul call to head to the free throw line, converting both to put UVa up by one, 56-55. Alabama’s Shafontaye Myers hit a three-pointer from the right corner to give the Tide a 58-56 lead.

After getting a steal with 42 seconds remaining, Jaryn Garner (Fr., Sewell, N.J.) raced down the court for a transition layup, only to have her shot blocked by Alabama’s Meghan Perkins. The Cavaliers inbounded the ball with 38.5 seconds remaining. McCall got the ball down low to Imovbioh to tie the game with 29 seconds left in regulation.

Alabama’s Daisha Simmons drove the hoop with 5 seconds remaining, missing a layup. The ball went out of bounds off a Virginia player.Alabama inbounded the ball with 4.4 seconds left on the clock. The Crimson Tide took a jumper, but the ball clanged off the rim. Garner came up with the rebound just before the buzzer marking the end of regulation.

Trailing 63-60 in overtime, McCall hit a long jumper from just inside the three-point arc to pull within one, with just over two minutes remaining. On the next Alabama possession, Crosby enticed an Alabama player to commit an offensive foul, giving Virginia the ball with 1:32 seconds left in the overtime. Simone Egwu (Sr., Odenton, Md.) was called for a three-second violation, giving the ball back to Alabama. After a miss by the Tide, Franklin came up with the rebound. The Cavaliers answered with an Egwu layup, giving UVa a 64-63 lead with 35 seconds left in the OT.

Alabama’s leading scorer, Simmons, went up for a layup with 9 seconds left on the clock. She missed with Egwu coming up with the rebound. She was promptly fouled and sent to the line with 7.6 seconds on the clock.

Egwu made both free throws to give the Cavaliers a 66-63 lead.

With 1.1 seconds left, Myers banked in a three-pointer to tie the game and send it into a second overtime.

Trailing 69-68 with 1:25 remaining in the second overtime, Egwu took a left-handed hook shot to give Virginia a 70-69 lead. After an Alabama miss and Virginia rebound, Crosby found Franklin at the top of the arc, but her three-point attempt was off the mark. Alabama came up with the rebound with 34.6 remaining.

Egwu was whistled for a foul with 15.1 seconds remaining. Alabama converted both free throws to take a 71-70 lead.

Crosby drove toward the hoop, but couldn’t find an open shot. She passed to McCall who went up, but couldn’t get the ball into the hoop. Alabama came up with the rebound with Crosby fouling the rebounder. Alabama made both free throws to come away with the 73-70 victory.

Kelsey Wolfe (Jr., Germantown. Md.) scored a team-high 16 points, going 6-for-7 from the free throw line, with three rebounds, two assists, and a steal before fouling out with just over four minutes left in regulation.Egwu scored 11 points with seven rebounds.

McCall and Imovbioh both had double digits rebounds, with McCall pulling in 12 and Imovbioh finishing with 10. The Cavaliers outrebounded the Crimson Tide, 63-47.

“We have been emphasizing so many things, and one has been rebounding, so it is nice to see that we came out and took it to heart to really rebound the ball,” Boyle said. “But then, the second piece to that is what are you going to do with it on the other end of the floor. That’s where we need growth.”

After another short break, Virginia will host the Cavalier Classic presented by Holiday Inn University Area. This year’s tournament, held on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 28-29, features Norfolk State, Northern Illinois, and Xavier.

The tournament will wrap up the Cavaliers’ regular-season non-conference games. Virginia returns to ACC play on Thursday, Jan. 3 when it hosts Virginia Tech.

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