Virginia Opens ACC Play Hosting Pitt on Sunday
|Pittsburgh Panthers (8-7, 0-1 ACC) at Virginia Cavaliers (7-6, 0-0 ACC)|
Date and Time Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, 2 p.m. Location Charlottesville, Va. | John Paul Jones Arena
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Jan. 5, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia women’s basketball team (7-6, 0-0 ACC) hosts Pittsburgh (8-7, 0-1 ACC) on Sunday, Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.
The game will be broadcast live on WINA- 1070 AM with Channing Poole, Larry Johnson and Myron Ripley calling the action.
While most Atlantic Coast Conference teams, including Virginia, begin conference play on Sunday, Pitt kicked off its first season in the ACC on Thursday night, falling 78-69 to No. 21 Florida State. Brianna Kiesel led the Panthers with 20 points, while Asia Logan added 14 and nine rebounds. Pitt trailed by as many as 18 points early in the second half, but mounted a valiant comeback that saw the Panthers get within six with 1:13 remaining. Despite only shooting 55 percent from the free throw line for the game, FSU went 8-for-9 in the final two minutes.
Virginia holds a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series against Pitt. The last meeting between the two was a 68-58 victory for the Panthers on March 24, 2006 in a WNIT Quarterfinal game in Pittsburgh. The most-lopsided game in the series was the last time the two played in Charlottesville (11/25/95) when Virginia won 103-56.
The Cavaliers finished the non-conference portion of their schedule with a 7-6 record. UVa has won three straight and four of its last five games, with the only loss coming in overtime against Tulane, heading into conference play. After averaging 62.4 points per game in the first eight games of the season, the Cavaliers have scored 75.4 points per game in the last five contests with four players averaging double-digits.
Redshirt senior guard Lexie Gerson (Fort Washington, Pa.) has averaged 8.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game over the five-game stretch as well as 3.0 steals per game over that span. Gerson is fifth in the ACC and 48th in the nation with 2.6 steals per game average. The entire Virginia squad is 32nd in the nation and sixth in the ACC in steals per game, averaging 10.7.
Senior guard Kelsey Wolfe (Germantown, Md.) and junior center Sarah Imovbioh (Abuja, Nigeria) earned co-MVP honors at last week’s Cavalier Classic tournament. Wolfe scored a season-high 22 points in the championship game against Princeton. Wolfe went 5-of-8 from three-point range in the game. During Virginia’s current three-game win streak, Wolfe is shooting 56.5 percent from the field (13-of-23) and 58.8 percent from three-point range (10-of-17).
Imovbioh had back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts including posting her sixth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds against the Tigers. Imovbioh, who is shooting 57.1 this season, went 4-for-4 from the field against Princeton. Over the last five games, Imovbioh has made 19-of-26 attempts (73.1 percent).
Senior guard Ataira Franklin (Bowie, Md.) has scored in double-digits in four of the last five games. Franklin, who is second on the team in rebounding with a 4.5 per game average, led the team with eight rebounds against Coppin State. Franklin is currently 16th on the Virginia career points list with 1,355 points. Franklin needs 45 points to tie Melissa Mahony (1979-82) for 15th on the list.
Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle announced this week that freshman forward Amanda Fioravanti (Frederick, Md.) is planning to transfer and has left the Cavalier program. Fioravanti played in eight games this season, averaging 1.5 points and 1.1 rebounds per appearance.
Virginia is 22-14 all time in ACC openers. Last year, the Cavaliers fell 79-55 at Maryland to open conference play. The last time Virginia won its conference opener was a 77-59 victory over No. 25 Wake Forest in 2008-09. The Cavaliers next head to Blacksburg, Va. where they will face Virginia Tech on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m.