Women’s basketball to host Boston College — a breakdown

Cavaliers look for first win in four games

boston-college-breakdown

Junior forward Lisa Jablonowski will have a big role to play Thursday night against Boston College.

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

The Virginia women’s basketball team (8-14, 2-7 ACC) will host Boston College (14-8, 3-6) Thursday night at 7 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.

The Cavaliers lost Sunday afternoon to Miami, 72-59. Junior small forward Jocelyn Willoughby scored 16 points for Virginia but was the only Cavalier scoring in double figures. The Hurricanes shot 54 percent from the field to blow out Virginia.

Boston College has been at home for their last two games — a 92-90 win over Duke and a 95-86 loss to Virginia Tech. Freshman guard Makayla Dickens has scored over 20 points in each of those games. Junior guard Taylor Ortlepp also scored 23 against Virginia Tech.

Meanwhile, Virginia only has three performances scoring 20 or more points all season, each of which came from Willoughby. The Cavaliers have not been ahead in a game since the second quarter at Syracuse on Jan. 31. 

Key Matchup — Makayla Dickens and Brianna Tinsley

Dickens has shot 50 percent from three-point range in her last two games and is averaging 38.8 percent from three on the season, a mark only exceeded by Willoughby. Tinsley will likely be defending Dickens on Thursday night and must keep her from playing like she did against Duke and Virginia Tech.

However, Tinsley also needs to contribute at the other end. Virginia has often lacked a consistent second scorer besides Willoughby, and Tinsley has been that player in select games this year. Most recently, in Virginia’s 72-68 loss to Syracuse, Tinsley scored 19 points, making four three-pointers. 

The X-Factor — Lisa Jablonowski

In the absence of junior center Felicia Aiyeotan — who has missed much of the season with injuries — Jablonowski has been second on the team in rebounding with six per game behind only Willoughby. Virginia must be competitive on the glass to keep the ball out of Boston College’s hands.

Jablonowski has yet to record a double-digit rebounding performance in conference play, though she did post three in non-conference games. A game like that would go a long way toward a Cavalier victory.

The Pathway to Victory — Make Boston College force the ball inside

Virginia does not have the consistent offensive firepower to outscore the Eagles. In a low-scoring game, the Cavaliers have a chance at the win, but once Dickens and Ortlepp get hot from the three-point range, the game will be out of reach. Virginia needs to shut them down and make Boston College rely on junior forwards Emma Guy and Georgia Pineau for scoring.

The Bottom Line — Virginia must take their chances from three

Virginia has struggled from behind the arc in recent games, with Willoughby only hitting two three-pointers total in her last five games, despite being a 42 percent three-point shooter on the season. Willoughby and Tinsley especially need to capitalize on their three-point attempts to match the scoring prowess of Boston College’s guards and put points on the board Thursday night.

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