VILLANOVA, Pa. – No. 4 seed Virginia (16-16) fell behind early and could not recover as the Cavaliers were topped, 73-55, by No. 1 seed Villanova (20-12) in the second round of the inaugural Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament (WBIT) at Finneran Pavilion Sunday afternoon (March 24).

For the second consecutive season, UVA finished with a .500 overall record under second-year head coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton and advanced to postseason play for the first time since 2018.

The Cavaliers were led by Camryn Taylor and Kymora Johnson, who recorded 12 points each. Alexia Smith tallied 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting and pulled down a team-high six rebounds.

Villanova shot 50 percent from the field and was led by All-Big East first-team selection Lucy Olsen, who tallied a game-high 30 points on 12-of-23 shooting.

The Wildcats connected on their first two shots of the game, both of which were from 3-point range to jump out to an early 6-0 lead. Villanova eventually led by as many as nine points [13-4] midway through the period. The Hoos clawed their way back to make it a one-point game [15-14] with two minutes remaining in the quarter, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the way. By the end of the first, Olsen had scored 14 of her 30 total points, at which point the Wildcats led 17-14.

Nova stretched its lead to as many as 16 points in the second after Virginia shot just 23 percent in quarter No. 2. After Taylor Lauterbach came off the bench and hit a turnaround shot from the low post, the Wildcats embarked on a 17-2 run.  For the second straight period, the Hoos were doubled up on the boards as Nova held the rebounding edge, 22-11, at the half. Villanova led 36-20 at the intermission.

In the third, UVA outscored the Wildcats by one point [19-18]. Nine offensive rebounds by the Hoos led to six second-chance points. The Cavaliers put together a 10-1 run to cut the Nova lead back to single digits, but their success on offense was not sustained. A 15-4 run by the Wildcats gave them a 20-point lead late in the period. UVA scored the last five points of the third as Nova led 54-39 heading into the fourth.

The Wildcats grasped their largest lead of the game, 73-49, with 2:09 remaining in the contest. Johnson scored the final six points of the game to finish with 24 double-digit scoring performances in her freshman campaign.

“Anytime you go down early it’s an uphill battle. And that was actually what we were trying to do. They came out hot. Lucy Olsen is a phenomenal talent. We know that coming in and she kind of had her way with us. She’s a great player, and she showed up and willed her team to way. Also, Christina Dalce is a beast inside. She just did some really good things for them too – 15 rebounds. We fought at times, especially down the stretch. We never gave up. I’m just really proud of our group. We had a year filled with so much adversity and I’m just really proud of how we continued to fight.”


  • Virginia reached postseason play and won a game for the first time since 2018.
  • The Cavaliers (16-16) finished with a .500 record for the second consecutive season, also a first since 2017-18.
  • UVA’s appearance in the inaugural WBIT marked the program’s 35th in postseason play.
  • This year’s Virginia squad set single-season program records in 3-pointers made (218) and free throw percentage (77.2).
  • Kymora Johnson concluded her freshman campaign with 172 assists, a UVA freshman record.
  • Sam Brunelle and Camryn Taylor appeared in their final collegiate contest.
  • Brunelle concluded her career with 1,213 career points after playing in three seasons at Notre Dame and two at UVA.
  • Taylor finished her career with 1,583 points. She played in two seasons at Marquette before transferring UVA in 2021.