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Feb. 3, 2013

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia women’s basketball team lost at home to an ACC opponent for the first time this season, falling to Georgia Tech, 65-62.

After leading by 13 points in the first half, Virginia trailed by five, 56-51, with six minutes left in the game.

Eight straight points from Telia McCall (Sr., Marietta, Ga.) gave Virginia a 59-56 lead with 3:56 remaining. A three-pointer by Tech’s Sydney Wallace, her fifth of the game, with 52 seconds left tied the game, 61-61.

After Virginia took a one-point lead on a free throw from Simone Egwu (Sr., Odenton, Md.) with 32 seconds left in the game, McCall came up with a defensive rebound on a Yellow Jacket missed shot, only to turn the ball back over to Tech, the first of two costly turnovers for the Cavaliers in the final 30 seconds.

Georgia Tech’s Tyaunna Marshall scored a layup after grabbing the ball from McCall, getting fouled in the process. She missed the free throw, with Egwu grabbing the rebound with 15 seconds left in the game.

Trailing 63-62, Virginia got the ball down into its offensive zone, only to have China Crosby (Sr., New York, N.Y.) step on the end line as she was trying to pass, turning the ball back over to Georgia Tech with five seconds left on the clock.

The Cavaliers fouled immediately, with Tech’s Sydney Wallace making both free throws to give them the 65-62 lead. The Cavaliers broke through Tech’s defensive pressure, making a desperation half-court shot right before the buzzer, but the attempt was off target, with Georgia Tech holding on for its third ACC win, improving to 10-12 overall and 3-8 in conference play. Virginia fell to 14-7 and 6-4 in the ACC, including a 4-1 ACC record at John Paul Jones Arena this season.

McCall scored a career-high 28 points, including a 16-of-17 performance from the free throw line, tying the school record for made-free throws in a game. Overall, Virginia shot 35 free throws, converting 31, shooting 88.6 percent.

Georgia Tech dominated the boards, outrebounding UVa 44-34 including pulling in 22 offensive rebounds. The Yellow Jackets scored 20 second-chance points and added 23 more points by capitalizing on Virginia turnovers. The Cavaliers also scored 23 points off Georgia Tech’s 18 turnovers.

“[I give] A lot of credit to Georgia Tech,” said Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle. “They played a great game. I’m just disappointed for us and our team. We were on a roll there for a while. There’s a lot of basketball yet to be played. We have to regroup and move forward.”

Ataira Franklin (Jr., Bowie, Md.) scored nine pints in the first five minutes, including Virginia’s first six points, draining a three-pointer and getting a pair of and-one layups, helping to give the Cavaliers an early 11-2 lead. Faith Randolph (Fr., Derwood, Md.) pulled up for a jumper with the shot clock expiring, banking in the shot to extend the lead to 15-2 with 13:28 left in the first half, the largest lead of the game for UVa.

Georgia Tech, which had nine offensive rebounds in the first 11 minutes of the game, muscled its way to second-chance points to pull within single digits, 16-8. A pair of free throws from McCall followed by a layup from Sarah Imovbioh (So., Abuja, Nigeria) pushed the lead back to 12, 20-8, with 7:48 left in the first half.

Georgia Tech hit a pair of three-pointers, both coming as the shot clock was about to expire, to pull within seven, 27-20 with 2:09 remaining. Ten seconds later, Kelsey Wolfe (Jr., Germantown, Md.) went to the free throw line, hitting Virginia’s 13th and 14th free throws of the period.

The Cavaliers held a 29-22 lead at halftime but Georgia Tech’s Wallace started the second half by hitting a three-pointer, making it a 29-25 game. After the Jackets pulled to within two, 31-29, McCall drove through the lane to make a layup, drawing contact and a foul call. She converted the and-one to push the lead out to 34-29. A turnaround jumper from McCall made it 38-31. Wolfe ran down the court, pulling up for a transition jumper to extend the lead to 44-35. Another Wolfe fast-break jumper made it 48-36 with 12:37 left in the game.

Georgia Tech went on a 12-1 run, pulling to within a point, 49-48, when Franklin was fouled while driving baseline as the shot clock was about to expire. She went to the free throw line, making both to retain a 51-48 lead with 9:09 remaining.

After Georgia Tech grabbed its 18th offensive rebound of the game, Wallace hit a three-pointer from the left corner to tie the game, 51-51, with 8:32 remaining. Marshall stole an inbounds pass from the Cavaliers, racing down court to convert the layup and give Georgia Tech its first lead of the game, 53-51 with 7:13 remaining.

Wallace drained a three-pointer, her fifth of the game, to extend Tech’s lead to 56-51.

McCall hit three straight baskets, making up the five-point deficit and giving the Cavaliers a 57-56 lead with four minutes left in the game. She took a hard foul down low with just under three minutes left in the game, going to the stripe to extend the lead to 59-56. After trading free throws, including a pair from McCall, Wallace hit the game-tying three-pointer with 52 seconds left in the game.

McCall’s 16 free throws was the most made by an ACC player in a game this season and ties the Virginia program record for made free throws in a single game, matching the 16 converted by Cathy Grimes on Jan. 31, 1984 against Maryland. McCall’s 17 attempts were also the most by an ACC player this season.

McCall was 6-of-11 from the field, also grabbing five rebounds with a steal. Her 28 points eclipsed her previous career high of 18, which she set earlier this season at Georgia Tech. The 28 points was the highest single-game point total of the season for a Cavalier player, passing the 25 points scored by Wolfe at Minnesota.

“We watched film earlier on how they play in the post,” McCall said. “The coaches told me I either had a drive, a shot, or I could pass it to Simone [Egwu]. So there were three options and I knew they couldn’t take all of them away.”

Franklin finished the game with 15 points, going 4-for-9 from the field and 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

“We knew Georgia Tech is a dangerous team and there are no safe games in this conference,” Franklin said. “It’s obviously frustrating, but all we can do is move forward. We have to be ready for Duke next, so we really need to gear up. This is a big game for us coming up.”

Virginia will be back in action on Friday, Feb. 8 when it hosts No. 5/4 Duke at 7 p.m. in a game that will be streamed live online on ESPN3. It will be the lone regular-season meeting of the year between the two teams.

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