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Virginia out-muscles, overwhelms Howard at home

The Virginia women's basketball team opened a six-game homestand last night with a 76-51 win over Howard. Freshmen Lynette O'Reggio and LaTonya Blue led the Cavaliers offensively by scoring double-doubles in Virginia's first-ever meeting with the Bison (1-2).

The Cavaliers (3-2) struggled early with frantic offensive play and frequent turnovers but found their groove halfway into the first half and never looked back.

Virginia coach Debbie Ryan opted to start senior Telisha Quarles at point but rotated junior Liz Sahin, who was returning from a four-game suspension, and sophomore Safiya Grant in at the No. 1 spot to give Quarles time at shooting guard. She made the most of it, putting up 14 points before the break and spearheading a 26-4 Cavalier run eight minutes into the first half.

"We just took advantage of them not getting back on defense," Quarles said. "We just got our fast break going, started looking long and penetrating - trying to get a foul. I just took advantage of them because they were fouling a lot and it was pretty much open in the middle."

When the Cavaliers broke down the Howard press, they managed to find consistent openings inside. The Cavaliers relied heavily on their work in the paint by capitalizing for 12 second-chance points and 61 rebounds. O'Reggio and Blue were the crucial factors in the post and combined for 24 rebounds. O'Reggio and Blue reached career-highs with 13 points apiece.

Related Links

  • Official site of Virginia women's basketball
  • Official site of Howard women's basketball
  • "We've been waiting for Lynette to give us some stability" inside, Ryan said. "She's beginning to show in practice that she can learn things quickly and she can figure out a scouting report and now she's beginning to understand what we need in there. The rebounding was huge tonight and we really needed her in there and she just showed what she could do."

    "I just wanted to come out and play hard," O'Reggio said. "The last few games I haven't played so well so I just tried to go out and play hard today."

    Virginia sophomore Anna Prillaman and freshman Bethany LeSeuer came alive in the second half. Prillaman contributed 12 points and LeSeuer pulled down four rebounds to bump her game total to nine.

    "Bethany LeSeuer really went hard to the offensive boards tonight," Ryan said. "That's a real plus for us because that's an area that we did not have the last two years - a strong rebounding guard. [It really] helps a great deal and takes some of that pressure off the inside game."

    Freshman Brandi Teamer, who was named ACC rookie of the week yesterday, also has been aggressive on the boards for Virginia so far this season. She is averaging 9.3 rebounds per game over the Cavaliers' first four games and grabbed 11 last night.

    In Howard, Virginia faced an opponent struggling with many of the same weaknesses, it is working to overcome, such as instability at the point and youthful inexperience. Last night, the Cavaliers proved that they were the team better prepared to exploit those weaknesses.


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