CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia women’s basketball (4-3) earned a 55-49 victory over James Madison (5-2) on Saturday (Nov. 30) in the opening game of the Cavalier Classic at John Paul Jones Arena.
Senior guard Jocelyn Willoughby (East Orange, N.J.) scored 26 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds to lead Virginia to the win. The performance was Willoughby’s third double-double of the season. JMU’s Kamiah Smalls scored 16 points, 14 of which came in the second half, to lead the Dukes.
JMU held Virginia without a field goal for over 16 minutes in the second and third quarters on its way to a 39-35 lead after three. Dominique Toussaint (Staten Island, N.Y.) ended the drought with a layup at the 3:18 mark of third quarter. Virginia would hit five of its next six shots to end the quarter. The Cavaliers outscored JMU 20-10 in the fourth quarter.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After JMU scored the first points of the game, Virginia went on a 19-0 run over the next 6:32 to build a 17-point lead. The Cavaliers held the Dukes without a point for 8:05 during the opening quarter. Willoughby led Virginia with 15 points and eight rebounds in the first 10 minutes of the game. JMU responded with an 11-0 run to open the second quarter before Kylie Kornegay-Lucas (Camden, Del.) knocked down a pair of free throws with 2:37 on the clock. The Cavaliers did not hit a field goal during the second quarter as the Dukes closed the gap to 25-20 at the break. After the half, JMU scored the first eight points of the third quarter to take a 28-25 lead with 3:18 to play in the quarter. The Dukes extended their lead to 39-35 at the end of the third. JMU would make it 43-35 with 8:31 to play in the game on a layup from Kayla Cooper-Williams. Virginia climbed back into the game with an 8-1 run over the next four minutes, with six points coming from Willoughby. From that point, the Cavaliers outscored JMU 12-5 down the stretch. Willoughby iced the game with a three-pointer with 37 seconds left on the clock, extending Virginia’s lead to 50-46. The Cavaliers went 5-for-6 at the free throw line to see out the win.
FROM HEAD COACH TINA THOMPSON
“It was a really hard-fought game for us. We came out and we were cooking. We were making difficult and timely shots and allowing our offense to create opportunities for us. We got a little bit stagnant in the second quarter, but we continued to fight, and our team continued to show up and try to create opportunities for ourselves. We turned up our defense and I’ve said several times before that we’re rooted in our defense. Our defense for sure won the game for us tonight, along with some pretty big plays by these two [Jocelyn Willoughby and Lisa Jablonowsi].”
• Virginia went on a 19-0 run in the first quarter while holding JMU without a point for 8:05
• Willoughby’s 16 rebounds were a career high, surpassing her 14-board performance against Coppin State in 2018. The total is also the most by a Cavalier since Felicia Aiyeotan’s 16 against Mississippi State on Nov. 9, 2018
• With 26 points, Willoughby produced her second 25-plus point game of the season. Willoughby made nine field goals to tie her career-high
• Virginia shot 36 percent from the field (19-53) while holding JMU to just 30 percent (17-57). It’s the fifth time this season the Cavaliers have held an opponent to 30 percent shooting or lower
• Lisa Jablonowski (Ernster, Luxembourg) scored nine points and added eight rebounds
ON THE HORIZON
• Virginia hosts No. 11 UCLA on Sunday, Dec. 1 in day two of the Cavalier Classic. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. against the Bruins
• Sunday’s game is the final home game for Virginia until January 2
• Reserved single-game tickets are $8 if purchased in advance or online and $10 if purchased at the JPJ Box Office. General admission tickets are $5 if purchased in advance or online and $8 if purchased at the JPJ Box Office. Single-game courtside tickets may be purchased for $15
• For more information or to purchase tickets, fans should contact the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-542-UVA1 (8821). Fans can also purchase tickets online at VirginiaSports.com or in-person at the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office in Bryant Hall at Scott Stadium