Women’s basketball team falls 71-60 against North Carolina
Insurmountable first-half deficit dooms Virginia
A strong second half was not enough for the Virginia women’s basketball team as the Cavaliers lost 71-60 to No. 11 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, their 17th defeat in the last 18 meetings against the Tar Heels.
Both teams came out of the gate scoring, and Virginia (11-6, 3-3 ACC) got two early 3-pointers from senior forward Telia McCall and junior guard Kelsey Wolfe. Junior guard Ataira Franklin tied the game at 8-8 with a jumper at the 15:20 mark, but the Tar Heels (18-1, 6-0 ACC) opened up a 13-4 run afterwards, bringing the game to 21-12.
Virginia fought back, bringing the lead to within five points midway through the half. North Carolina again responded, controlling the rest of the first half to take a commanding 42-22 lead into halftime.
After the half, the Cavaliers found themselves in a deep hole, down by as much as 27 points at one time, and struggled to fight back until late in the game.
Down 21 with 3:52 to play, Virginia went on a 10-0 scoring run that helped them outscore the Tar Heels 38-29 in the second half. But even with that run and a 45-39 rebounding advantage for the game, Virginia could not overcome North Carolina’s large lead.
Freshman forward Xylina McDaniel scored a game-high 15 points for North Carolina, and added nine rebounds. McCall and Wolfe led the way for the Cavaliers, scoring 13 points each.
Virginia now shifts its attention to Sunday, when the Cavaliers take on Miami (13-4, 4-2 ACC) in Charlottesville, looking for revenge after a 58-52 loss in Coral Gables Jan. 6. The Hurricanes had been ranked No. 24 until two recent losses to Maryland and Florida State dropped them from the polls. They bounced back with a 71-65 win against Georgia Tech Thursday.
Senior Morgan Stroman has been a force on both ends of the court for Miami so far this season, scoring 12.8 points per game and grabbing 8.4 rebounds per contest. Virginia will look to keep their own rebounding strong, and cut down on Thursday’s 24 turnovers when it takes on the Hurricanes.
—compiled by Michael Eilbacher