CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. – The Virginia women’s basketball team (13-4, 2-4 ACC) suffered a heartbreaking 70-59 loss to No. 22 North Carolina (11-5, 2-3 ACC) on Thursday (Jan. 12) at John Paul Jones Arena.
The Cavaliers led 57-48 with 6:46 to play following a Carole Miller three-point shot, but were outscored 22-2 the remainder of the fourth quarter. During the Tar Heels’ furious comeback, the Cavaliers turned the ball over eight times. UNC entered the game leading the ACC in turnover margin at +5.5. They finished the game with seven fewer turnovers than UVA (21-14).
Junior guards Deja Kelly and Kennedy Todd-Williams led North Carolina with 21 points each. Todd-Williams scored 11 in the final period to set her season high in scoring. Taylor Valladay topped the Cavaliers with 16 points while Sam Brunelle added 15 points, all off of three-point shots, while grabbing a season-high nine rebounds.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Both teams opened the game with poor shooting performances. The Cavaliers made just one of their first six field goal attempts, but North Carolina was worse, hitting just one of its first eight shots. UVA finished the game shooting 31.3 percent from the field while UNC was slightly better at a 37.3 percent conversion.
The catalyst for the Cavaliers in the opening quarter was Valladay, who came off the bench and delivered 10 points for UVA. She opened her scoring with a three-pointer at the 5:39 mark, added a put-back off of an offensive rebound on UVA’s next possession and then drilled another three-pointer at the 3:49 mark to cap a 9-0 run that gave UVA a 10-4 lead.
UVA used a commanding performance on the boards to help take a 15-12 lead after the opening period, outrebounding the Tar Heels 13-8.
Virginia opened the second quarter with another shooting draught, missing its first four field goals attempts to allow North Carolina to battle back to take the lead at 21-20 on a three-pointer by Kelly mid-way through the second quarter. The Tar Heels then missed their next six shots from the field. A three-pointer by Brunelle allowed UVA to take a 24-21 lead, but the Cavaliers made just one shot over for the remainder of the period to trail 30-27 at the half.
UVA came out after intermission on fire. The Cavaliers made their first five field goals attempts to go on a 12-2 run and grab a 39-32 lead by the 6:41 mark. Brunelle keyed the surge with a pair of three-pointers. A layup by Camryn Taylor gave UVA a 42-34 lead a minute later. A three-point basket by Miller with 1:04 left pushed the Hoos’ lead to 51-40 and UVA ended the third quarter ahead 51-42, having outscored the Tar Heels 24-12 during the period.
In addition to the turnovers that plagued the Cavaliers during the game’s final 10 minutes, the Hoos made just three of 15 field goal attempts in the fourth quarter while being outscored 28-8. It was the most points UVA has surrendered in a quarter this season.
- North Carolina has won six consecutive games vs. UVA and 26 of the last 29 contests.
- With a 15-point performance, Sam Brunelle is up to 995 points scored during her collegiate career
- UVA outrebounded UNC by a 48-37 margin. The Cavaliers came into the contest ranked second in the ACC and 10th nationally in rebound margin at +10.9.
- The match-up was UVA’s third consecutive against an AP-ranked opponent.
- UVA matched its season high with nine three-pointers.
- North Carolina scored 18 points off of turnovers.
- UVA dominated second-chance points with 14 compared to just two for UNC.
- This was the first home loss of the season for the Cavaliers. They are 9-1 at John Paul Jones Arena
FROM HEAD COACH AMAKA AGUGUA-HAMILTON
“It was obviously a disappointing loss. We had a matchup against a ranked team, we had an opportunity on our home floor. It was a great fan turnout. I really want to thank our fans for coming out and continuing to support. We had some self-inflicted errors. Just some things defensively we need to clean up and hit a couple more shots and it’d be a different game. But I liked the progress that we’re making. I thought our team battled. I thought we competed and really got better in certain areas, but we just got to clean up some stuff.”
ON THE HORIZON
- Virginia plays the second of three straight home games when the Cavaliers host Boston College on Sunday, Jan. 15. Tip-off is set for noon. The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network. The contest will serve as an alumni reunion for the program.