Virginia women look to sustain run

Cavaliers play at Boston College on Thursday


The Virginia women’s basketball team will attempt to continue its two-game winning streak this Thursday at Boston College.

The Cavaliers (12-10, 5-4 ACC) have won four of their last five games, including wins against then-No. 17 Florida State and No. 10 Maryland. The winning stretch has brought their record above .500, allowing them to recover from earlier losses to No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 5 Duke.

In their largest margin of victory this season, the Cavaliers beat Clemson 80-43 Sunday. Virginia coach Joanne Boyle played all 11 players on the roster, with 10 players scoring.

“We’ve played some really good games,” Boyle said. “I mean, we played a pretty complete game against Notre Dame and Maryland, too. You know, it’s just different — you get to clear your bench, and so it’s a little different — but we’ve put a good string here together where we’ve played really strong.”

Virginia’s defense dominated Clemson, forcing the Tigers to turn the ball over 22 times, leading to 33 Virginia points. Senior forward Lexie Gerson, second in the ACC with 2.7 steals per game, had two thefts to help the Cavaliers stifle the Tigers’ offense.

The Cavaliers also out-rebounded Clemson 42-29 with help from junior forward Sarah Imovbioh, who had nine rebounds on the game.

This is Boyle’s third season as the Cavalier women’s head coach. With seven games left in the season, Virginia still has a chance to improve on last year’s 16-14 record.

The Cavaliers appear to be moving in a positive direction, but Boston College is flailing. After winning seven straight games, the Eagles (11-12, 2-7 ACC) have lost seven of their past eight contests, including five in a row.

Boston College lost to Virginia Tech 70-63 in overtime last Sunday in Blacksburg. The Eagles shot 56.5 percent from the floor but scored only one point in overtime, allowing Virginia Tech (11-10, 1-8 ACC) to claim its first ACC win.

Boyle said she she doesn’t believe Boston College’s record should have bearing on her team’s preparation for Thursday’s game.

“We’ve got to take care of business,” Boyle said. “We can’t worry about what other people are doing, and we tend to [take care of business] at home, and now we’ve got one more game before the break … I know they’ll be ready. They get where we are and the importance of that.”

Boston College knocked down five three-pointers on 10 attempts against Virginia Tech, a total just below its season-average of 7.3 per game, the second-highest mark in the ACC.

“They’re a really good team,” Boyle said. “They run a spread offense. They’re mostly guard-oriented. They really shoot the ball well, especially in their home gym, so we’re just going to have to be able to sit down and guard people.”

The game against Boston College will end the three-game stretch, deemed a “tournament” by Boyle in hopes of inspiring her team to consecutive victories before a week-long layoff.

Tipoff is at 7 p.m. Thursday in Newton, Ma.

Published February 4, 2014 in Sports

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