By Amelia Delphos

  • CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA— The Virginia Women’s Basketball Team took on Miami at John Paul Jones arena in a 69-64 victory over the Hurricanes Thursday night, making the Hoos 6-8 in the ACC and 11-14 overall. The Hoos overcame an 18-point deficit after the first half to clinch a victory at home. Senior Jocelyn Willoughby led the Hoos in points, putting up 25 against the Hurricanes, followed by senior Dominique Toussaint who put up 16 points.
  • Cavalier Head Coach Tina Thompson was pleased with the game. “I’m really, really proud of our kids and their fight tonight, especially in the second half coming back and keeping their composure… Really excited about their effort.”
  • The first half for the Hoos was categorized by disorganization and a strong Miami offense. The Hurricanes put up four points before the Hoos were able to make the board when Willoughby made a jump shot right outside the paint. Within the first five minutes, UVA was only able to shoot 6 points, giving Miami an 8-point lead going into the last five minutes of the quarter. By the end of the first quarter, UVA was only able to score 11 points, a chasm between them and Miami’s 25 first quarter points.
  • In the second quarter, UVA’s defense tightened up and only allowed 17 points from the Hurricanes. However, Miami’s defense remained strong and only let UVA put up 13 points. The end of the first half was a grim sight. The Hurricanes were in the lead by 18 points, for a halftime score of 42-24. Miami junior Kelsey Marshall scored 20 points in the first half, shooting 60% from behind the arc. The Hoos turned over the ball a whopping 11 times.
  • Something had to change in the second half if the Cavaliers were going to win. Willoughby said of Miami’s top scorer, “I think at halftime Kelsey [Marshall] had 20 points. We said she was too comfortable. We were there but we weren’t crowding her space or making her put it on the floor,so just telling the players run her off the line. Even though we were getting through the screens and there, she was too comfortable, so make her do something else rather than doing what she was doing.”
  • And the Cavaliers did just that.
  • A crucial turnover halfway through the third quarter put the ball in Willoughby’s hands and she drove it down the court and was fouled. She made both free throws, which set the tone for the rest of the game. With 4:27 left in the half, Marshall was called for a technical foul against Willoughby, which sent Willoughby to the line for three. From there, the Hoos were sure this game was theirs.
  • “I knew from jump that we were going to win this game. Not to sound overly confident, but I really did. Especially after the technical foul when Joce [Jocelyn Willoughby] knocked down those free throws. We came together as a team and said we have this game. Like Joce said we just have to chip away, focus on our defense, do what we do, and come out with this win.” Toussaint said after the game.
  • The Hurricanes were unable to score for the rest of the quarter. As a result, the Hoos were able tosneak up on the Hurricanes, ending the third quarter with Miami in the lead 54-48, doubling theirtotal first half points in one quarter.
  • UVA came out in the fourth quarter strong on defense and tried to keep Miami beyond the arc by being aggressive in the paint. The Hurricanes maintained their lead until a clutch 3 pointer by Toussaint put the Hoos right on Miami’s heels, 61-60. After Miami’s Marshall missed a 3 pointer down the court, freshman Kylie Kornegay-Lucas rebounded and Toussaint was able to secure the Hoos first lead of the game with a field goal in the paint, putting John Paul Jones Arena on its feet. There was a foul on the play courtesy of Miami redshirt sophomore Destiny Harden, and Toussaint was able to secure a two-point lead as a result.
  • From there, the Hoos kept the lead until the end, and two free throws by UVA senior Lisa Jablonski sealed the fate of the game. The Cavaliers won 69-64 at home.
  • Up next, the Hoos will travel to Durham, North Carolina to take on Duke Thursday, February 20 at 7 pm.

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