CHICAGO – The Virginia women’s basketball team (4-0, 1-0 ACC) picked up a 68-62 victory at Loyola Chicago (1-2, 0-0 A10) on Wednesday (Nov. 16) at Gentile Arena in Chicago, Ill.
The Cavaliers trailed by eight points early in the third quarter and were down 49-48 at the start of the fourth, but outscored the Ramblers 20-13 in the final period to pick up the road victory.
The Cavaliers had four players finish the game in double figures led by a 14-point performance by Mir McLean. Chicago native Taylor Valladay scored 11 points, 10 of which came in the third quarter, with five assists. Camryn Taylor, a native of Peoria, Ill., scored 12 points with five rebounds.
Maya Chandler led the Ramblers with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
This is Virginia’s first 4-0 start to the season since 2016-17.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Kaydan Lawson scored off the opening tip, giving UVA a lead five seconds into the game, but it would be the only basket the Cavaliers would score until Alexia Smith picked up a steal and a fastbreak layup with 5:41 remaining in the opening quarter. The Cavaliers went on a 5-of-5 shooting stretch to pull to within two, 19-17, but the Ramblers’ Maya Chandler hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Loyola a 22-17 advantage.
The two teams traded buckets throughout the second quarter. A three-pointer from Sam Brunelle with 9.2 seconds left in the half cut the deficit to 32-29, but Chandler hit another three at the buzzer to send the home team into the break with a 35-29 advantage.
Loyola started the third quarter by making five of its first six field goal attempts to build up a 45-37 lead, but the Cavaliers began to chip away. A steal from McLean, followed by a layup from Valladay, her eighth points of the quarter, made it a two-point game, 47-45. Valladay tied the game on a layup on the next possession. Loyola ended a 4:26 scoring drought by hitting a layup with 11 seconds left in the period to take a 49-48 lead into the final quarter.
A jumper from Alexia Smith followed by one from Kaydan Lawson gave the Cavaliers a 56-51 edge with 6:30 remaining in the game. A jumper from McLean capped a 10-0 run that gave UVA a 58-51 lead with 4:28 remaining. The Ramblers ended a 5:16 scoring drought at the free-throw line. A three-pointer then cut the lead to three, 58-55, heading into the final four minutes of play. The Cavaliers scored six straight points to extend their lead to nine. The Ramblers cut the deficit to five in the final minute, but Virginia held on for the victory.
- Virginia shot 52.7 percent (29-of-55) while Loyola was 24-of-55 (43.6 percent)
- Virginia was 0-of-10 from three-point range. It was the first time the team did not make a three-pointer since a loss at UCF on Nov. 25, 2020
- Loyola was 6-of-19 from three-point range but only 1-of-7 in the second half
- Virginia held a 36-24 advantage in rebounding
- Alexia Smith was the fourth Cavalier in double figures with 10 points
- Taylor Valladay attended Rich South High in Richton Park in the south suburbs of Chicago. She led the Stars to consecutive state tournament appearances. She also ran track and was the Illinois State Champion in the 4×200
- Camryn Taylor was born and raised in Peoria. She attended Richwoods High in her hometown, leading the Knights to a Class 3A State Championship as a junior
- Valladay was 5-of-7 shooting. McLean was 7-of-9
- This was the home opener for the Ramblers
- The Cavaliers wore patches on the sleeves of their shooting shirts with the numbers 1, 15 and 41 in hearts above the words “UVAStrong” in honor of Lavel Davis, Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry. They will wear the patches for the rest of the season
FROM HEAD COACH AMAKA AGUGUA-HAMILTON
“I am just incredibly proud of our group. Our family. This was difficult. Our community’s hurting. Our university is hurting. Our athletic department is hurting. Our football team is hurting. All those student-athletes and our players. We had several players that were very close to those three amazing young men and just for us to have the courage to come out here and compete and band together and fight through adversity is very inspiring.
“It’s just so fresh. It just happened. It affects so many. It definitely was affecting our players. I mean, they were emotional in warm-ups. They were emotional all day, but they wanted to play. So I stood behind them. I wanted them to be able to make that decision and they wanted to play to honor them. And I think they did that tonight.”
ON THE HORIZON
- The Cavaliers close out their road trip with a game against American on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m., in Washington, D.C.
- Virginia returns home to host Campbell on Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m.
Highlights from the road win at Loyola