Friday the Virginia women's basketball team endured a 96-44 rout at the hands of the U.S. National Team. Last night, however, the Cavs dished out a blowout of their own, hammering the Vologda Russia squad 100-54.
"It was a nice performance," Cavalier Coach Debbie Ryan said. "We worked on a lot of things since Saturday. We really wanted to find out what our strengths and weaknesses were and make ourselves better."
The Russians kept things tight in the early part of the game. In the first five minutes, the lead changed hands three times and there were four tie scores.
Then the Cavaliers' athleticism and intensity began to take over. Virginia also began to use its depth to wear down the Vologda club. At the 11:45 mark, the Cavs already had gone nine deep into their roster.
The Cavaliers went on a huge run in the last 11 minutes of the first stanza to put the game away, outscoring the Russians 41-14 over that stretch and holding Vologda to a scant six points in the last 7:30 before halftime.
The Russians had trouble both moving the ball up the court and finding the basket with their shots. Virginia exploited its opponent on both counts.
"I think we saw a lot of progress," Ryan said. "I think we were running the offense a lot better. We were actually not playing very good defense to start the game but we were able to pick up the intensity."
When offensive execution failed them, Vologda started to foul frequently. The Russian club team committed 21 fouls in the first half, as opposed to just 14 Cavalier whistles. If the Cavs had shot better from the free throw line -- they made just 13 of 24 attempts -- the score would have been even more lopsided at the break.
After losing offensive dynamos DeMya Walker and Monick Foote to graduation, Virginia displayed balanced scoring last night. Six Cavs finished in double figures, and the Virginia bench outscored Vologda's reserves 47-27.
Ryan said she was impressed with her team's newer players, especially first-year Marcie Dickson, who scored 10 points.
"Marcie played a great game," Ryan said. "I was a bit surprised she didn't miss a shot until that last one she took at the end of the game."
Guard Erin Stovall led the way for the Cavs on the stat sheet, finishing with 21 points and four assists, both team highs. Backcourt mate Telisha Quarles chipped in 16 while forward Lisa Hosac and guard Renee Robinson each finished with 14 points.
"Our goals [last night] were to try to reach a 100 and try to keep them defensively under 50 points," forward Dean'na Mitchelson said. "We definitely wanted to run on them and see what we could do and get everyone involved in the offense."
Hosac led the way on the boards, notching 12 rebounds. Virginia outrebounded the Russians 51-34.
Friday's game against the U.S. National Team also made last night's authoritative win all the more important for Virginia, as the team rounded out its exhibition schedule in preparation for Sunday's season opener against St. Joseph's. The Hawks are the defending Atlantic 10 Champions, and provide an opening-game test that the Cavs welcome.
After the U.S. National game, "any win, especially a big win like we had [last night], is a great confidence builder," Mitchelson said.