Women’s basketball wins Commonwealth Clash 61-52

Cavaliers defeat Virginia Tech to improve to 6-1 in ACC play

20180107-WBBallvClemson-RDizon088

Sophomore guard Dominique Toussaint helped push Virginia over Virginia Tech on Sunday, chipping in 14 points, three rebounds and three assists. 

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

The Virginia women’s basketball team returned to John Paul Jones Arena for a battle with in-state rival Virginia Tech in a very important Commonwealth Clash. The Cavaliers (13-7, 6-1 ACC) improved to 6-1 in ACC play in their 61-52 victory, a game that came down to the wire after expanding the lead to as much as 15 in the first half.

“It was a very hard-fought game by two teams. I give a lot of credit to Virginia Tech,” Virginia Coach Joanne Boyle said. “We knew how they have been in every game and they fight, so we never expected them to go away. I’m really proud of our team and how the resilience showed up down the stretch.”

Opening hot from the floor, Virginia grabbed a quick 8-0 lead and finished the first quarter with a 16-10 advantage. Sophomore guard Dominique Toussaint and freshman guard Brianna Tinsley helped the Cavaliers to expand their dominant first-half lead. The duo hit back-to-back three-pointers to push the difference to 35-20 in the second quarter.

The Hokies (13-6, 2-5 ACC) went on a quick 5-0 run to keep the lead within 10, but they trailed 37-27 at halftime. Virginia Tech continued to cut into the Virginia advantage, going on a quick 11-2 run out of the halftime locker room. Senior forward Lauren Moses stepped up big in the third quarter for the Cavaliers, providing a steady presence to keep the lead at 48-42 heading into the final quarter.

Neither team could hit the broad side of a barn to open the fourth quarter, with Virginia Tech opening 1-13 and Virginia missing their first 11 shots. The Hokies scored the first basket of the quarter with under five minutes remaining in the contest. 

Moses was the first Cavalier to drop one in after over eight minutes of play in the period, drawing a huge foul and finishing the and-one layup to keep a 53-50 lead. 

“We set Lauren [Moses] up for a reversal and a slip screen, and if she didn’t get it, then Jocelyn [Willoughby] was going to set a running ball screen, and we were going to stay in our continuity offense,” Boyle said. “Lauren had great timing and JB delivered the ball to her and she just had a great finish. I think we could finally take a deep breath.”

The final minutes came down to free throw shooting, where Virginia shot 8-8 in the closing moments as the Hokies shot 1-5. 

The Cavaliers finished shooting 21.4 percent in the second half, but walked away with the 61-52 victory. A major factor in the win was Virginia Tech’s poor shooting, ending at just 28.2 percent and 14.3 percent from downtown. 

“[Any win is] always a good feeling … especially over our rival,” Boyle said. “We know that we are representing more than just the women’s basketball team. We are representing U.Va. in the rivalry. It was a good win for us, and we are looking to building off of it.”

Senior guard Aliyah Huland El and Toussaint scored 14 points each, and Moses added 11 points and seven boards. 

“I’ve got a lot of words, but really it was just about trying to get stops on the defensive end,” Huland El said. “They were sending five to the board and it was hard. On that end we needed to get stops and on offense we had to take the shots. We had to be disciplined as well.”

Virginia will play once again at John Paul Jones Arena as North Carolina comes in Thursday for a 7 p.m. contest. 

related stories