With busloads of fans from her hometown looking on, Virginia guard Telisha Quarles led the No. 21 Cavalier women's basketball team to a 60-51 victory over No. 7 N.C. State yesterday at University Hall, keeping the Cavs atop the ACC.
On "Telisha Quarles Day" in her native Louisa County, Va., the sophomore guard shot 4-for-6 from three-point range in the first half and finished with a team-high 17 points for Virginia (21-6, 12-2 ACC).
"My teammates noticed that I had the hot hand, and they kept feeding me the ball," Quarles said.
"There aren't that many people in the Conference that can guard that kid," Cav Coach Debbie Ryan said.
Freshman forward Schuye LaRue added 10 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks for the Cavs. Senior point guard Renee Robinson chipped in with 10 points.
LaRue played most of the second half despite taking an elbow to her nose early in the second half, which opened up a cut that required stitches following the game.
"From the first minute of the second half on, [LaRue] didn't hear a word I said" because she had been hit in the head, Ryan joked. "Not that it matters. Every time the ball went in [the post], she would [block] it into the stands."
The Cavalier defense held N.C. State (20-6, 11-4) to only 26 percent from the field, including 1-of-20 from behind the arc. Freshman guard Amy Simpson came off the bench to lead the Wolfpack with 18 points in 19 minutes, but no other N.C. State player scored more than eight points.
"The offense didn't come today, so the defense had to win it," Ryan said. "There are nights when you can't throw it in the ocean."
N.C. State's starters shot a combined 7-of-43 from the field. Simpson made eight of 20 shots, but the rest of the 'Pack bench scored only nine points.
"I'm not sure we've ever shot that low before," N.C. State Coach Kay Yow said. "Our shot selection just wasn't there."
The Cavaliers were not much better from the field, shooting only 33 percent. Starters Quarles, Robinson, LaRue, Svetlana Volnaya and Lisa Hosac shot a combined 15-of-36 from the floor. The Wolfpack also pounded Virginia on the boards, holding a 56-35 rebounding margin.
"We came out a little too excited, a little pressed to do too much," Robinson said.
At halftime, with the Cavs clinging to a 32-25 lead, Ryan told her players that if they won the game, they would be spared the usual practice regimen of sprints as punishment for turnovers and poor rebounding.
"As long as we don't have to run, we'll keep on winning," Robinson said with a smile. "We don't like sprints."
In the second half, the Cavaliers stretched the lead to as high as 11 points and never let the Wolfpack closer than six. The Cavs clinched the game in the last three minutes by making six of 10 free throws.
Quarles' fan club was only part of a crowd of 5,808, the largest attendance for a Virginia women's home game since 1996.
"The crowd was energized from the tip," Ryan said. "This is one of the first really big games we've had here in a long time"