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Dec. 31, 2017

Recap | Final Stats

Virginia Head Coach Joanne Boyle
Opening statement:
“I’m just excited, and am especially excited for the girls. I thought they were really focused and it was a great win for us. We’ve always had great games against Syracuse, so it’s nice to come out on top here at home. It was a great crowd for us today at home and was really good energy from the team.”

On difference at the start of ACC play:
“We finished our non-conference schedule strong, picking up three wins. Like most teams, we had a lot of injuries during the non-conference schedule. Now we are getting people back healthy and getting them back into a rhythm. I feel that has been a big part of our success during these five wins. A lot of growth, a lot of discipline and a lot of camaraderie amongst the team. There is also a huge buy-in from the players with what they want to do this year. I think they started to see some of that success, and now there is a lot of confidence.”

On late game play of senior guards J’Kyra Brown and Aliyah Huland El:
“J’Kyra and Aliyah have done a great job of hitting a ton of big shots consistently. Any time they get an open look, we are not, as a coaching staff, hesitant at all for them to shoot it.”

On leadership of J’Kyra Brown:
“I just had a conversation yesterday about her stepping into a vocal role. I think that our seniors have so much experience, they’re on the floor a lot of minutes, and they have earned the right. They’re playing well and they’re playing hard so the more voices that are out there the better. Jocelyn Willoughby and Lauren Moses have always taken on a big chunk of that but I think that Aliyah has done a great job, and Lisa [Jablonowski] has too, of trying to get J’Kyra and Felicia Aiyeotan to be more vocal. And I think that J’Kyra does it, it just hasn’t been as consistent so it was really good to see her out there today directing traffic and getting people organized.”

On play of sophomore forward Felicia Aiyeotan:
“[Assistant coaches] La’Keshia Frett Meredith and Tim Taylor have both worked really hard on her finishing and different ways to finish. And obviously strength and conditioning has done its part in that, getting her stronger. I think that as games go one, she is getting more and more confident. Because of that, we are seeing her more and we are demanding to see her more. She is just such a presence down low, whether she is scoring or not. She attracts so much defense and opens it up for other people. I was pleased today that the ball went inside as much as it did. She has earned her spot in the starting lineup. She has gained fifteen pounds of muscle, she works really hard and she is 6-foot-9 and draws a lot of attention. That alone is a reason to put her in the lineup. I think that the more minutes she has played, you can see her confidence. The more she is confident, the more the rest of the team is confident. She is a tough person to guard and there is nobody in the conference like her. I’m happy for her.”

Senior Guard Aliyah Huland El
On the impact of increased shot success late in the game:
“Honestly, like J’Kyra said, confidence and a sense of relief, offensively at least. On defense, it gives us a bit of a cushion. We are not as up-tight, we are not fouling as much, we are sitting down, guarding, and getting defensive stops. I think the two ends of the floor are obviously related so when we are scoring, defense is easier and when defense is easier, offense is easier as well.”

On problems with Syracuse’s press:
“Honestly, we knew it was coming. Syracuse is a pressing team, we knew that coming in. They havve been that way since I have been in school. It was important for us to make sure that we were coming to every pass, making good passes and being disciplined against their press.”

Senior Guard J’Kyra Brown
On clutch three in the closing minutes:
“It was just a play call and my teammates found me in the corner, open.”

On the impact and emotions of a late game three:
“Just confidence and hoping my teammates and I continue our success on the defensive end that was getting us stops and creating offensive opportunities.”

On increased vocal role, is it intentional:
“Yes, definitely. Just trying to be consistent with it, it starts in practice. Boosting my confidence and talking to my teammates helped me out on the court when it’s game time.”

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