Women's basketball falls to Duke, 70-51
Touissant finishes as only Cavalier in double figures
The Virginia women’s basketball could not pull off an upset against No. 15 Duke Sunday, falling 70-51 at John Paul Jones Arena.
After pulling out a dramatic overtime win against Georgia Tech, the Cavaliers (15-8, 4-6 ACC) looked flat in a big home game Sunday, unable to rise up to the challenge of beating the Blue Devils (20-4, 8-3 ACC).
“I’m just disappointed in our performance tonight and how we played overall this afternoon,” head coach Joanne Boyle said. “This game sticks out as the one all year where we did not look like ourselves. [I give] credit to Duke, they are an incredible team, and they capitalized tonight.”
The Blue Devils jumped out to a 23-13 lead after closing out the first quarter on a 23-3 run. Though Virginia corrected itself and outscored Duke in the second quarter, the Blue Devils exploded in the third quarter, outscoring the Cavaliers 23-6. Virginia showed fight in the fourth quarter but ultimately couldn’t mount a comeback.
Key to Duke’s success in the game was its ability to force turnovers, especially in the second half. Virginia turned the ball over 17 times, leading to 26 points for the Blue Devils.
“I think the turnovers just came off of being too relaxed with the ball and not making sure to secure the ball,” junior forward Lauren Moses said. “We just have to be stronger and smarter down the stretch — especially when we came out of halftime down by eight. Those are the times we really need to value our possessions and I think being more conscious of that could fix the issue.”
Boyle knew that turnovers doomed the Cavaliers by severely hurting their comeback bid.
“I think the team needs to really think about [their mistakes] because a team that scores 26 points off of turnovers — I do not care how good or how not so good of a team you are — it is just hard to recover from that,” Boyle said.
Also working against Virginia was Duke’s great scoring effort. The Blue Devils shot 54.9 percent for the game and 47.1 percent from three-point range. Greenwell led the Blue Devils with 21 points and six rebounds, while junior guard Lexie Brown chipped in 17.
“I thought we were really patient today,” Boyle said. “We tried to change defenses like we always do. I thought we were locked in in previous games. I did not feel like we were locked in tonight at all. We had too many open people in transition, some of the best players not even being guarded, two people defending a post player and no one on their guards. It was really unorthodox and discombobulated. That comes down to focus and being dialed in.”
Conversely, the Cavaliers couldn’t get much going offensively. Freshman guard Dominique Touissant was the only double digit scorer for Virginia with 10 points.
“[Scoring droughts are] pretty tough to overcome. I feel like we try to get stops on defense because we always know that our stops on defense translate to good buckets or shot selections on offense,” Moses said. “So I think just making sure that we are locked down on defense, and that when we do miss assignments, we can attack them still on offense.”
The loss drops the Cavaliers’ ACC record to 4-6, well below what they expected after starting the season so strongly in non-conference play. Though they’ve shown flashes of very good play against some tough teams in the conference, the team has yet to put everything together to sustain a win streak.
Virginia draws yet another ranked opponent when it travels to Coral Gables, Fla. to take on No. 20 Miami (16-5, 6-4 ACC) Thursday night for its next game.