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Blue Devils spoil final home game

Cavs stay scoreless for 16-minute drought, falter in 71-48 loss on Senior Night

When a team fails to score a field goal for nearly 17 minutes, it is hard to come out victorious. When the opposing team is No. 9 Duke and looking to position itself for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, victory is near-impossible.

Unfortunately for Virginia women's basketball, the team faced that exact situation against the Blue Devils (25-3, 11-2 ACC) last night, falling 71-48 in its penultimate regular season conference game and final regular season home game.

After jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead 2:32 into the game, the Cavaliers (15-14, 4-9 ACC) did not net a field goal until freshman guard Ataira Franklin made a three-pointer with 2:43 remaining in the first half. During Virginia's slump, Duke embarked on a 30-4 run and exposed the Cavaliers from both the interior and perimeter. Virginia shot a measly 4-for-29 from the field during the first half, compared to the Blue Devils' 13-for-31 performance.

"It's weird, and it's really hard to pinpoint why we couldn't score," junior guard Ariana Moorer said. "We just couldn't shoot at all, even with the intensity and effort that we bring to every game."

Virginia eventually picked itself up and outscored Duke 7-4 to close out the half. The Cavaliers extended that play to begin the second half, going on a 12-3 run during the first 4:52 of the second half to narrow Duke's lead to nine points.

"It wasn't until I just tried to change everything [that] we got our minds off of what was going on offensively," Virginia coach Debbie Ryan said. "We started to move the ball around the perimeter and take the first open shot, and we did play really well after that."

Virginia had multiple opportunities to close the Blue Devils' 37-28 lead even further, but could not find a way to get the ball inside the hoop. Duke, meanwhile, responded with a 13-0 run of its own to stretch its lead to 50-28. A battered Virginia team could not recover from such a deep hole.

Moorer was Virginia's leading scorer on the evening with 14 points. Franklin was the only other player in double figures for the Cavaliers, adding 13 points and seven rebounds.

Duke senior guard Jasmine Thomas led all scorers with 18 points and dished out a game-high five assists. Freshman guard Tricia Liston added 16 points for Duke on four three-pointers. The Blue Devils out-rebounded Virginia 55-37.

"Duke's tough; they're big inside and they have players like Jasmine Thomas on the outside, and they're tough to guard," Ryan said. "We couldn't rebound and that's our biggest problem."

Virginia concludes its regular season Sunday at Virginia Tech. Tip-off from Cassell Coliseum is set for 1 p.m.