Women’s basketball defeats Georgia Tech, 62-56

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Senior guard Aliyah Huland El scored a season-high 21 points against Georgia Tech Sunday afternoon.

Andrew Walsh | Cavalier Daily

The Virginia women’s basketball team traveled to Atlanta Sunday afternoon to face off against Georgia Tech, hoping to remain atop the ACC standings with only one loss in conference play. The Cavaliers (15-7, 8-1 ACC) struggled to separate themselves at halftime but came away with the 62-56 victory over the Yellow Jackets (13-9, 2-7 ACC).

Five different Cavaliers scored in the opening five minutes of the contest, holding a slight 12-11 early lead. Senior forward Lauren Moses was the high-point woman with six as Virginia headed into the halftime locker room, down 29-25.

Virginia would have been able to create a bit of distance in the third quarter as Georgia Tech struggled to find the basket, but turnovers killed any hope of a push. Many of the Cavaliers’ possessions did not make it to mid-court due to swarming, full-court defensive pressure from the Yellow Jackets.

Senior guard Aliyah Huland El was vital to keep the third quarter deficit from expanding past spitting distance, hitting a big and-one runner and a timely three-point jumper. Georgia Tech’s one-three-one defense allowed the Yellow Jackets to defend jump shots with the ability to run multiple bodies at six-foot-nine sophomore center Felicia Aiyeotan.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Yellow Jackets held a slim 42-40 lead, a nail-biter going into the final 10 minutes. Huland El continued to stroke it from long-range in the final period for Virginia, hitting back-to-back threes to grab the lead from Georgia Tech 48-44 with just over eight minutes in the fourth.

Continuing to use the three-point line to its advantage, Virginia stretched the fourth quarter lead to as much as 13 points after a gigantic 12-0 run. After 19 turnovers in the first three quarters, the Cavaliers valued the ball to start the fourth.

Virginia’s youth showed heavily in the closing minutes, with an 11 point lead and just two minutes to play, as the Cavaliers let the Yellow Jackets get back within three points with 39 seconds in the game. Huland El finished the game with 21 points and two big free throws in the closing moments to give the Cavaliers the 62-56 victory.

The Cavaliers will next return home to play No. 4 Louisville in one of their biggest matches of the season. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday night.

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