Virginia women’s basketball faces tough No. 4 Louisville team

Cavaliers take on ACC’s best team in huge matchup

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Virginia Coach Joanne Boyle will look to pick up her biggest win of the season Thursday night.

Mariana Fraser | Cavalier Daily

The Virginia women’s basketball team faces its toughest challenge of the season when No. 4 Louisville rolls into John Paul Jones Arena — a clash between two teams that have dominated their ACC opponents to this point.

Virginia (15-7, 8-1 ACC) comes off an impressive 62-56 victory over Georgia Tech on Sunday — another step on their path to redemption following non-conference play. The Cavaliers appeared as a well-oiled machine — a staunch difference compared to the 7-6 record they put up in non-conference schedule.

“On the road, sometimes you are going to win ugly and that’s what it was today, so we’re going to take it and get out of here,” Virginia Coach Joanne Boyle said following the game. “The best thing about today’s game was that no matter what adversity was happening, we managed to gain our composure and find a way to work through it.”

They will need that same composure when Louisville (22-1, 8-1 ACC) and its high-octane offense led by junior guard Asia Durr come into Charlottesville. Durr scored 26 points in the Cardinals dominant 89-52 victory over Wake Forest. As the ACC’s fourth leading scorer, she could go off to carry the team, scoring as many as 36 points in a win over No. 2 Notre Dame.

Including Louisville, four of Virginia’s final seven games will come against top-10 opponents. The Cavaliers must continue their best play of the season as they gear up towards the postseason.

Virginia will certainly have a chance to make a statement with a victory over one of the top teams in their conference and the country. 

“For me, it’s all going to be in the details. We do four things well,” Boyle said. “When we rebound the basketball, when our transition defense is on point, when we have great effort and communication and when we win the 50/50 balls we are in every game.”

The Cavaliers will have to be consistent on both sides of the ball to get through the upcoming stretch with a good chance at an NCAA Tournament spot.

“We are going to have to do what we’ve been doing and take it up a notch and be consistent in all of those categories,” Boyle said. “I think there’s a lot of confidence in this team, just to know we have the ability to be in and win every game. It’s going to be a fight. The meat of the season is coming down the stretch.”

Virginia lost both their contests during the 2016-17 season to the Cardinals, the first 86-81 and the second 66-55. Hopefully, the team will have better luck as their young freshmen have blossomed into star sophomores. 

The Cavaliers take on the Cardinals Thursday at 7 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.

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