CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia women’s basketball team (13-1, 2-1 ACC) picked up a 69-63 victory against Georgia Tech (9-4, 0-2 ACC) on Thursday (Dec. 29) at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va.
The Cavaliers trailed by seven points with eight minutes remaining in the third quarter but made nine consecutive field goal attempts to build up a 55-47 lead by the end of the period. Georgia Tech narrowed the gap to three points with 5:11 remaining in the game, but the Cavalier defense held the Yellow Jackets to three points in the remaining time to secure the win.
Mir McLean scored 13 points with nine rebounds. Alexia Smith scored 10 points with four rebounds and four assists. Georgia Tech had four players finish in double figures, led by a 16-point performance from Cameron Swartz.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Georgia Tech scored the first three points of the game, but the Cavaliers responded with an 11-0 run, including a three-pointer from Smith and capped by a layup from London Clarkson. The Yellow Jackets ended their 5:30 scoreless streak, but back-to-back jumpers from Sam Brunelle and McKenna Dale pushed the UVA advantage out to 16-7. Georgia Tech made the final two field goals of the quarter, including a layup with 2.8 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 16-11.
After trading baskets to start the second quarter, Georgia Tech began to chip away at the deficit, tying the game, 20-20, on a three-pointer from Bianca Jackson with 4:41 remaining. A three-pointer from Yonta Vaughn gave UVA a 25-22 lead with 3:32 remaining, but the Yellow Jackets scored four-straight points, with a steal and a fastbreak layup giving the visitors their first lead since the opening minutes. Kaydan Lawson hit a three-pointer to put the Cavaliers ahead, but Georgia Tech answered with a trey of their own. The Yellow Jackets went into the break holding a 31-29 lead.
Georgia Tech scored the first two baskets of the second half to build up a seven-point lead, 35-28, its largest of the game, but an and-one from McLean, three of the nine points she scored in a five-minute span, pulled the Cavaliers to within three, 38-35. Smith completed the comeback, giving UVA a 41-40 lead with a layup with 4:42 remaining. The Cavaliers expanded the run to 12-1, taking a 49-41 lead with 2:11 remaining. Virginia led 55-47 at the end of the third.
The Cavaliers built up a double-digit lead, 61-51, after an and-one from Camryn Taylor and a free throw from Carole Miller, but Georgia Tech scored five quick points to narrow the gap to 61-56 with 6:22 remaining. The Yellow Jackets added a pair of free throws to further narrow the gap to 61-58 with 5:40 remaining. A jumper from McLean ended a 7-0 Georgia Tech run. Virginia held a 65-60 lead heading into the final two minutes of play and 65-61 going into the final minute. Taylor Valladay made one free throw with 42.3 seconds remaining. Georgia Tech got a layup on the opposite end to narrow the gap to 66-63 with 23.6 seconds remaining, it’s lone field goal in the final five minutes of play. Brunelle was fouled with 21.3 seconds remaining, making both to put UVA ahead 68-63. The team held on for a 69-63 victory.
- The game had three ties and five lead changes
- Virginia shot 47.3 percent (26-of-55); Georgia Tech shot 40.8 percent (20-of-49)
- Georgia Tech held a 34-32 edge in rebounding
- Virginia went 11-of-14 in the third quarter (78.6 percent), including its 9-of-9 shooting streak
- This was Alexia Smith’s second start of the season
- This was Smith’s second-straight double-digit scoring effort
- Taylor Valladay scored seven points with six rebounds and five assists
- Both teams were coming off an eight-day break for the holidays. Both UVA and Georgia Tech last played on Wednesday, Dec. 21
FROM HEAD COACH AMAKA AGUGUA-HAMILTON
“I’m just really proud of our players. This week we’ve been talking about being more physical, staying together, and persevering through adversity. I thought we really did that today. We know every game in this conference is going to be a dogfight. Georgia Tech, their defense is tough. It’s one of the best in the country. So for us to put up 69 points on that D, and then just weather the storm throughout the course of the game, I’m super proud of them.”
ON THE HORIZON
- Virginia has a bye this weekend before playing back-to-back road games at No. 7 Virginia Tech on Thursday, January 5 at 7 p.m. and at No. 6 NC State on Sunday, January 8 at 3 p.m.
- The Cavaliers return home to host No. 13 North Carolina on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m.
Highlights from the Georgia Tech victory