CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia women’s basketball team (5-21, 2-16 ACC) closed out the 2021-22 regular season with a 68-57 loss against No. 18 North Carolina (22-5, 12-5 ACC) on Thursday (Feb. 24) at John Paul Jones Arena.
North Carolina mounted a 19-2 run in the midst of scoring 30 points in the first quarter to put the Cavaliers in an early deficit. Virginia trailed by 21 points in the third quarter, but cut the deficit to eight points in the final minute of play.
Grad student Amandine Toi, one of three players honored before the game in UVA’s Senior Night ceremony, scored 14 points with a career-high seven assists. Junior forward London Clarkson scored 12 points while junior guard Taylor Valladay added 11 points with six rebounds and four assists.
North Carolina had four players finish in double figures in scoring, led by 16 points from Deja Kelly. Anya Poole led the defensive efforts with 10 rebounds.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The two teams traded baskets to start the game, but the Tar Heels then took over, going on a 19-2 run spanning six minutes, with a layup from Clarkson being the Cavaliers’ lone points. A three-pointer from Valladay with 2:11 remaining ended that run, but the Tar Heels responded by scoring seven straight points to take a 30-9 lead. A pair of free throws from sophomore guard Mir McLean with less than a second left in the period closed out the frame with UVA trailing 30-11.
The Cavaliers found their stroke in the second quarter, making five of their first six field goal attempts with a layup from Toi narrowing the gap to 35-21 with 5:04 left in the period. A three-pointer from grad student guard McKenna Dale followed by a fastbreak layup from Dale cut the deficit to 13 points, but UNC closed out the half with two layups in the final 30 seconds to go into the break with a 47-30 lead.
North Carolina built up a 21-point lead, 53-32, with 7:01 remaining in the third, but the Cavaliers began to chip away. Three-pointers from Toi and junior guard Carole Miller followed by a jumper from Valladay narrowed the gap to 53-40 with 5:34 remaining. The Cavaliers trailed 58-44 heading into the final period of play.
A putback from McLean with 6:10 remaining pulled the Cavaliers to within 11, 60-49. Another McLean putback cut the deficit to single digits, 60-51, with 5:14 remaining. A pair of free throws followed by a jumper from Kelly, the Tar Heels’ first field goal in a four minute span, put UNC up 64-51 with 3:57 remaining. Virginia trailed by 10 points heading into the final minute of play. A pair of free throws from Toi with 31.6 seconds remaining made it an eight-point game. North Carolina went 3-of-4 from the free throw line down the stretch to close out the game.
FROM HEAD COACH TINA THOMPSON
“This league is very difficult to play from behind. Period. But when you spot a team 18, 19 points in the first quarter, especially a top-25 team, it’s even tougher. We regained our composure and played very well for three quarters but unfortunately we ran out of time. This game is a four quarter game. When you start like that, it’s just really difficult to overcome that.”
On the team’s struggles in single quarters this season:
“I would say lack of focus. When you don’t show up ready to play in this league it’s tough. You have to literally as soon as the budget buzzer sounds, you have to be ready to play. Tonight we did not do that. And it’s similar in the third quarter, coming out at halftime, lacking focus is what usually gets us in trouble and just not being disciplined.”
- Virginia shot 36.8 percent (21-of-57); North Carolina shots 47.3 percent (26-of-55)
- North Carolina was 1-of-14 from three-point range (7.1 percent), going 0-of-10 in the second half; Virginia was 5-of-20 (25.0 percent) for the game
- The Cavaliers were 10-of-10 from the free throw line
- The last time UVA shot 100 percent from the free throw line was an 8-of-8 performance at Michigan State Nov. 28, 2018
- North Carolina held a 36-33 edge in rebounding
- Mir McLean led the Cavaliers in rebounding with eight; Kaydan Lawson had seven rebounds
- London Clarkson scored six of Virginia’s 11 points in the first quarter. She had 10 points in the first half
- The Tar Heels shot 16.7 percent (2-of-12) in the fourth quarter and did not make a field goal in the final 3:57
- Amandine Toi, Tihana Stojsavljevic and Eleah Parker were all honored in the Senior Night ceremony
ON THE HORIZON
- The Cavaliers have a scheduled bye on Sunday, Feb. 27
- The bracket for the 2022 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament will be released on Sunday evening. The tournament takes place Wednesday through Sunday, March 2-6, at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.
Highlights vs North Carolina