CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia women’s basketball team (7-0, 1-0 ACC) opened the 2022 Cavalier Classic Tournament with a 73-70 victory against Minnesota (3-2, 0-0 Big Ten) on Saturday (Nov. 26) at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va.
The Golden Gophers led by 10 points in the first quarter, but the Cavaliers went on an 18-0 run to start the second period to build up a 35-31 halftime lead. Virginia built up a 10-point lead in the third quarter that Minnesota cut to four early in the fourth quarter. Virginia held a nine-point lead, 71-62, with 3:06 remaining, but the Gophers mounted an 8-0 run making it a one-point game, 71-70, with 51 seconds remaining. Two key steals by the Cavaliers in the final 20 seconds of play helped the team secure the victory.
Camryn Taylor was one of three Cavaliers in double figures with 22 points. Mir McLean had her second double-double of the year with 11 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Mara Braun paced Minnesota with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
This is the first 7-0 start for Virginia since the 1992-93 season.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Minnesota went on a 13-2 run in the opening quarter, halted by a three-pointer from Alexia Smith with 3:29 remaining. The hot-shooting Gophers made six-straight field goal attempts in the period to build up a 10-point lead. A layup from Taylor in the final five seconds of the quarter cut the deficit to single digits, 21-13, heading into the second.
The Cavaliers started the second quarter hot, tying the game on a Taylor jumper. Taylor Valladay gave UVA the lead on a steal and a fastbreak layup 30 seconds later. A jumper from Sam Brunelle with 5:13 left in the quarter pushed the UVA run out to 18-0. A free throw at the 3:38 mark ended the run, but Kaydan Lawson answered with a jumper to make it a 20-1 run to start the peiord. Minnesota went on a 9-0 run to pull back to within two with 33 seconds remaining, but a pair of free throws from Mir McLean closed out the half with UVA heading into the locker room with a 35-31 advantage.
The two teams traded baskets to start the second half. Minnesota cooled off, going 4:33 without a score as the Cavaliers built up a 49-39 lead. Back-to-back threes from the Gophers cut the deficit to 51-45 in the last minute of the period.
A pair of three-pointers from Sam Brunelle pushed the Cavalier lead back to 10, 59-49, with 7:37 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Minnesota chipped away at the deficit, pulling to within two, 61-59, on back-to-back layups with just over five minutes remaining in the game. McLean hit an and-one to end Minnesota’s 10-2 run, making it 64-59 with 4:50 remaining. Brunelle hit her third three of the half, seemingly giving the Cavaliers breathing room with a 71-62 lead. Minnesota went on an 8-0 run, pulling to within one, 71-70 on a three-pointer with 51 seconds remaining. After a Virginia miss, Minnesota had the ball with 19.3 seconds remaining. Cam Taylor grabbed a steal with 6.4 seconds remaining. She was fouled, missing both attempts, but the Cavaliers got the ball after it went out of bounds off a Gopher with 4.6 seconds remaining. Valladay made a free throw to put UVA up 72-70. Kaydan Lawson stole the ball, giving the Cavaliers possession in the final seconds as they held on for the victory.
- Virginia shot 44.4 percent (31-of-76), while Minnesota went 25-of-61 (41.0 percent)
- The Cavaliers were 3-of-9 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, while Minnesota was 7-of-7. Virginia was 7-of-13 overall (53.8 percent) from the free throw line
- Virginia held a 44-41 edge in rebounding
- The Cavaliers had 20 assists, the second time this season reaching the 20-assist mark in a game
- The Cavaliers had 16 steals, the most they have had since a January 9, 2020, game against Duke
- This was Camryn Taylor’s second 20-point game of the year and the eighth of her career
- Taylor was 11-of-22 from the field
- Taylor scored 14 of her points in the second half
- Mir McLean was 4-of-5 from the field
- McLean’s previous career high for rebounding was 14 last year against Duke
- Sam Brunelle scored 17 points, her fifth double-digit scoring game of the season
- Virginia was 1-of-17 from three-point range before Brunelle made three three-pointers in the fourth quarter
- The last time UVA started the season 7-0 was an 8-0 start to the 1992-93 season
- The seven-straight victories are the longest win streak for the team since winning eight in a row during the 2017-18 season (Dec. 17- Jan. 11)
- UVA guard Alexia Smith played two seasons for the Golden Gophers before transferring to UVA last summer
FROM HEAD COACH AMAKA AGUGUA-HAMILTON
“That was a fun one! Just proud of our group. I think we’re learning how to win in so many different ways, whether we’re down in some part of the game, or we are blowing somebody out, or it’s a tight game like today where every possession matters down the stretch. I was happy to see that defense brought us over the hump there at the end. Kaydan Lawson made some really good plays, but everybody was locked into the defensive side. And that’s something that we’ve been getting better and better at. So I’m really proud of our group.”
ON THE HORIZON
- Virginia closes out the Cavalier Classic tournament on Sunday, Nov. 27, facing East Carolina (4-1, 0-0 AAC) at 2 p.m.
Highlights vs Minnesota