Women’s basketball clashes with Northwestern
Cavaliers look to stay hot at ACC-Big 10 Challenge
A solid first few weeks of play has the Virginia women’s basketball team confident that they can build a special season as they continue to grow as a team. The Cavaliers (5-1) will face their biggest test of the season Thursday when they travel to Evanston, Ill. to take on Northwestern as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Virginia has gotten a good glimpse of Big Ten basketball thus far this season, with wins against Rutgers and Nebraska under its belt. The Cavaliers dominated the Cornhuskers, 73-51, Saturday, a solid response to their first loss of the season against St. John’s Friday.
“We just didn’t play our best basketball against St. John’s,” assistant coach La’Keshia Frett Meredith said. “So we went back and watched some film, and as a staff we were very proud of how [our team] responded. They were able to fix what they were doing wrong … so kudos to them for taking ownership of the energy and level of play they have to bring to any opponent.”
Junior forward Lauren Moses led the Cavaliers in scoring against Nebraska, earning All-Tournament honors for her 19-point performance. Moses has come into her own thus far this season as one of the team’s most consistent scoring threats.
“I think confidence has been a big help for me — going into games knowing that I’ve put in the work in my mid-range game and on being strong on the post,” Moses said.
Though Moses herself has helped the offense a great deal, the Cavaliers have had success using many different players on offense. A few players have taken charge each game to add balance to the offense, giving the team multiple scoring outlets.
“Any given night, anyone can be on,” Moses said. “If someone is off, you always have someone reliable you can go to for shooting and drawing fouls to get to the free throw line.”
More than a few Cavaliers will have to bring their A-game to beat a very talented Northwestern (5-1) team. The Wildcats have started strong, earning 18 votes in the Associated Press’ top 25 national ranking. They have yet to lose at home this season, their only loss coming against in a true road game against DePaul, now ranked No. 15. The team responded to that loss with a signature home win over then-No. 16 Florida and are currently on a two-game win streak.
“They’re a great basketball team,” Frett Meredith said. “They have a lot of scorers and very talented players, so we’re expecting a great game against a very quality team.”
As expected, the Cavaliers have been hard at work this week in preparation for their most dangerous opponent yet.
“We’ve just been working on us, trying to fix the things we didn’t do too well in Vegas,” Moses said. “Mostly rebounding, taking care of the ball and pushing the ball in transition.”
Frett Meredith recognizes the quality of Northwestern’s game, and said the team has been preparing for it with a playoff mentality.
“The main thing is just bringing that effort — that championship-type basketball, and teaching a young team what that is and what you need to do to beat a team like Northwestern,” Frett Meredith said.
Frett Meredith and the other coaches have so far this season seen their players are willing to put forth the work to learn how to win at a championship level.
“They have a will to win,” Frett Meredith said. “They’ve been a very coachable team for us, they’ve done what they ask us to do and for the most part we’ve gone out and played hard. We’ve just been working to make sure they’re more consistent with the level of play we expect from them so we can continue to win games.”
Virginia has its sights set on making a statement when they travel to Evanston Thursday. The Cavaliers and the Wildcats will tip off at 8 p.m. in Welsh-Ryan Arena.