Jan. 28, 2018
ATLANTA, Ga. – The Virginia women’s basketball team (15-7, 8-1 ACC) picked up a 62-56 victory at Georgia Tech (13-9, 2-7 ACC) on Sunday (Jan. 28) at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, Ga.
In a game with nine lead changes, Virginia trailed 42-40 at the end of the third quarter, but went on a 17-2 run to start the final period. Georgia Tech answered with a 10-0 run to make it a three-point game with 40 seconds remaining, but the Cavaliers came up with a defensive hold and went 5-of-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to close out the victory and remain in a tie for first place in the ACC. Virginia’s 8-1 start to conference play is its best since starting the 1999-00 season at 9-1 in ACC games.
Senior guard Aliyah Huland El (Randolph, N.J.) scored a season-high 21 points, including eight in the Cavaliers’ fourth-quarter run. It was just the second 20-point performance by a Cavalier this season. Redshirt senior guard J’Kyra Brown (Rocky Mount, N.C.) scored nine points with four assists.
Francesca Pan led the Yellow Jackets with 16 points. Zaire O’Neill came off the bench to score 14.
“On the road, sometimes you are going to win ugly and that’s what it was today, so we’re going to take it and get out of here,” said Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle. “The best thing about today’s game was that no matter what adversity was happening, we managed to gain our composure and find a way to work through it. Somewhere down in those moments, we hit some big shots, we got some big rebounds and we got some great stops. On the road, it is not always going to be pretty, and that was definitely not the case tonight, but we stuck together. We just got it done.”
The Cavaliers started the game making five of their first six shots. An and-one from Brown capped a 7-0 UVA run late in the period to build up a 19-12 lead. The Virginia defense kept the Yellow Jackets from scoring in the final 4:52 of the period, with Tech making just one of its last nine shots in the period.
The Yellow Jackets found their stroke in the second quarter, opening the period on a 7-2 run, pulling to within two, 21-19, until a layup from senior forward Lauren Moses (Mount Holly, N.J.) temporarily halted the run. Georgia Tech converted three-straight field goal attempts in a span of 1:11 to tie the game and then take a two-point lead. Virginia did not hit a field goal for the final 5:48 of the period with the Yellow Jackets taking a 29-25 lead into the locker room at the half.
Sophomore center Felicia Aiyeotan (Lagos, Nigeria) scored the first four points of the second half, converting a wide-open layup and then grabbing an offensive rebound and scoring a put-back on the next possession, to tie the game. An and-one from Huland El gave Virginia a 32-30 lead with 6:47 remaining in the quarter. Georgia Tech tied the game at 32 at the free throw line and then built up a 41-35 lead after scoring six-straight points later in the period. Sophomore guard Dominique Toussaint (Staten Island, N.Y.) cut the deficit to two, 42-40, by cutting through the defense to score a layup in the final seconds of the third quarter.
The Cavalier guards found Huland El open in the corner twice early in the fourth, with her pair of treys pushing UVA out to a 48-44 lead. Another jumper from Huland El and free throws from sophomore guard Jocelyn Willoughby (East Orange, N.J.) extended the UVA run to 10-2 to open the quarter. The Cavaliers made their first six field goal attempts of the quarter, extending the run out to 17-2, while Georgia Tech started the period making just one of its first 11 shots. The Yellow Jackets ended their scoring drought and took advantage of Cavalier turnovers to rattle off an eight-point run, making it a 57-52 game with 1:08 remaining. After O’Neill hit two free throws, it turned into a three-point game with 39 seconds remaining. Huland El made a pair of free throws. On the opposite end, Willoughby grabbed a rebound after a Georgia Tech missed shot. She was fouled and sent to the line where she made her free throws to put UVA up 61-54 with 13 seconds remaining. O’Neill hit a second-chance shot with four seconds remaining. Brown was immediately fouled and sent to the line, making the second of her two attempts. Pan heaved a desperation three at the buzzer that was off the mark, giving the Cavaliers the six-point victory.
Virginia shot 51.2 percent (21-of-41), including going 6-of-7 (85.7 percent) in the fourth quarter. The Yellow Jackets were 22-of-72 (30.6 percent) from the field and 0-of-9 from three-point range. Virginia held a 36-35 edge in rebounding. Georgia Tech forced the Cavaliers to commit a season-high 26 turnovers, scoring 24 points off the miscues.
The Cavaliers will be back home next Thursday, February 1, hosting No. 4 Louisville (22-1, 8-1 ACC) at 7 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.
Single-game ticket prices for all home games are $10 for Reserved seating, $8 for adult General Admission and $6 for youth (18 & under), senior (60 & over) and UVA faculty/staff General Admission. Fans may purchase home game tickets through the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office online at VirginiaSports.com, by phone and in person. The Virginia Athletics Ticket Office is located in Bryant Hall at Scott Stadium and open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Telephone purchases can be made by calling 1-800-542-UVA1 (8821) or locally at 434-924-UVA1 (8821).