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Cavalier defense saves sluggish offense

Thursday against Clemson, it seemed everyone on the Virginia women's basketball team had a hot shooting hand, but when the offense turned cold yesterday against No. 7 N.C. State, the Cavaliers used their defense to nail down a 60-51 win.

"For the most part, I think we played great defense today," Virginia Coach Debbie Ryan said. "I was just pleased that we played well enough that we were able to win today."

The Wolfpack came into yesterday's game shooting 45 percent from the field, good enough for the best in the ACC, but a tenacious Cavalier defense held the 'Pack to just 26 percent from the floor. When the two teams met Jan. 17 in Raleigh, N.C. State shot only 33 percent in a 80-73 Cav upset. Only one Wolfpack starter scored more than four points yesterday.

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  • Virginia also shut down the 'Pack from behind the arc, allowing just one Wolfpack trey the entire game. The Cavaliers played man-to-man defense at the start of the game but switched to zone midway through the first half. With the zone, they were able to pressure N.C. State's outside shooters.

    "This was a fairly ugly game shooting-wise," Wolfpack Coach Kay Yow said.

    Virginia shot 44 percent from three-point land, but only 33 percent from the field. Sophomore guard Telisha Quarles hit a game-high four treys, all in the first half. Junior forward Svetlana Volnaya, owner of the best three-point percentage in the ACC, missed all five of her attempts from downtown.

    Freshman forward Schuye LaRue made her presence felt down low with six blocks, batting a few shots all the way into the crowd. Virginia finished the game with nine blocks, while N.C. State was unable to swat down even one Cavalier shot attempt.

    The Wolfpack owned the boards with a 56-35 rebounding advantage, but converted only 21 second-chance points.

    "It's amazing that we had 24 offensive rebounds and less than half the time we capitalized on them," Yow said.

    LaRue's 11 rebounds made up almost a third of the Cavalier total. The freshman star chipped in 10 points to earn a double double. Starting forward and defensive stalwart Lisa Hosac was benched early due to foul trouble.

    "Lisa being out of the game hurt us, because Lisa will ... block out," Ryan said.

    With such an all-encompassing defensive effort, Ryan could somewhat forgive her team's offensive struggles.

    "Today I didn't care what they looked like, or how they did it," Ryan said. "I just wanted to win"