CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia women’s basketball team (5-20, 2-15 ACC) picked up its second straight win with a 74-65 victory against Pittsburgh (11-16, 2-14 ACC) on Sunday (Feb. 20) at John Paul Jones Arena.
The Cavaliers opened the game on an 11-2 run and held a 36-28 lead at halftime. Pitt tied the game in the third quarter and held a one-point lead for 22 seconds, but the Cavaliers opened the fourth quarter on a 9-1 run to take back control of the contest.
Junior guard Taylor Valladay scored a career-high 30 points, the most by a Cavalier in a game this season, while also dishing seven assists. Sophomore guard Mir McLean scored 16 points with eight rebounds.
Pittsburgh had three players finish the game in double figures, led by 16-point games from Dayshanette Harris and Destiny Strother.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Pitt missed its first seven field goal attempts as the Cavaliers slowly built an 11-2 lead in the first quarter. A three-pointer from Strother with 4:08 left in the quarter ended their cold spell. Strother hit another three-pointer ninety seconds later to cut the gap to 13-8 with 2:30 remaining. The Cavaliers scored the final five points of the quarter, including a jumper from McLean and a layup from junior forward London Clarkson to take an 18-8 lead into the second quarter.
Virginia held a 10-point lead with 5:48 remaining in the half when Pitt began to chip away with an and-one, a trip to the free throw line, and a layup making it a four-point deficit, 24-20. Grad student guard Amandine Toi ended the run, hitting a three-pointer to make it 27-20 with 3:24 remaining. A three-pointer from grad student guard McKenna Dale extended the UVA lead to eight, 30-22, with 2:37 remaining, but Pitt hit a pair of threes of its own, making it a four-point game, 32-28, with 1:01left in the half. A pair of free throws from junior guard Carole Miller and a layup from Valladay with 4.6 seconds remaining sent the Cavaliers into the break with a 36-28 edge.
Pitt scored the first four points of the second half before a three-pointer from Valladay to beat the shot clock gave UVA a 39-32 lead with 7:51 remaining. A pair of three-pointers from Harris made it a three-point game, 41-38, with a three-pointer from Hueston with 5:33 left in the quarter tying the game at 41. An and-one from Harris gave the Panthers their first lead of the game, 44-43, with 4:52 remaining. Back-to-back layups from McLean and Valladay put UVA back ahead 47-44 34 seconds later. The Cavaliers and Panthers had six lead changes in the quarter with a driving layup from Valladay with 8.6 seconds remaining giving UVA the 54-53 edge heading into the fourth quarter.
Pitt opened the fourth by tying the game with a free throw, but the Cavaliers pushed back out to a 60-54 lead on six free throws of their own, including four from Clarkson. Valladay hit her second shot-clock-beating three of the game to make it 63-54 with 6:11 remaining. Back-to-back scores from Valladay gave UVA a 68-60 lead with 2:36 remaining. The Cavaliers led 68-62 heading into the final minute of play. Pitt grabbed three offensive rebounds, but missed four shots on its next possession, with Dale making a pair of free throws on the opposite end to put UVA back up 10 with 22 seconds remaining. The Cavaliers held on for the victory.
FROM HEAD COACH TINA THOMPSON
“I’m really, really excited for my team. I think they’ve kind of found a groove and a rhythm. We’re learning that if we can execute consistently and be solid in our schemes, good things will happen. It’s something that we’ve been talking about all year and it’s starting to come into fruition. Playing this game tonight, it was a tough one. It was one of those games that you had to grind out. Both teams were making runs, but we stayed solid when it counted, and we didn’t panic. We didn’t become frustrated when things weren’t going our way, we just continued to execute in a way that allowed good things to happen for us, which led to a win so I’m really happy about that.”
- Virginia shot 51.2 percent (22-of-43); Pitt shot 37.7 percent (23-of-61)
- Virginia held a 33-31 edge in rebounding
- Pitt ranks ninth in the nation in rebounds per game (44.3), leading the ACC
- Mir McLean scored 8 points in the first quarter
- Taylor Valladay had all seven assists in the first half
- Valladay scored 13 points in the third quarter and 12 in the fourth
- Valladay was 11-of-19 from the field, 2-of-3 from three-point range and 6-of-8 from the free throw line
- This was the first 30-point game by a Cavalier since Kylie Kornegay-Lucas scored 31 against Old Dominion on Nov. 24, 2019
- Camryn Taylor had the previous season-high in scoring for the Cavaliers with 27 in the season-opener at JMU
- London Clarkson also finished the game in double figures, scoring 10 points, including going 6-of-8 from the free throw line. This is her fourth straight double-digit scoring effort
- McKenna Dale scored eight points with eight rebounds and four blocked shots
- Destiney Strother was 2-of-2, both three-pointers, in the first quarter. The rest of the Panthers were a combined 0-of-9
- Pitt only scored two points in the final 4:50 of the game
ON THE HORIZON
- Virginia closes out the regular season on Thursday, Feb. 24 by hosting No. 24 North Carolina at 7 p.m. The game will be Virginia’s Senior Day celebration with Eleah Parker, Amandine Toi and Tihana Stojsavljevic being honored in a pregame ceremony at approximately 6:40 p.m.
Highlights vs Pittsburgh