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Dismal opening half dooms team

Cavs miss first 14 shots to dig 20-0 hole, fail to close out on shooters in defeat

Despite entering the weekend with a two-game winning streak that included an away upset of then-No. 11 Maryland - and with at least an outside shot at NCAA Tournament at-large berth - the Virginia women's basketball team stumbled to a disappointing 73-50 defeat against visiting Boston College yesterday afternoon at John Paul Jones Arena.

The Cavaliers (15-13, 4-8 ACC) started the game miserably as they fell behind 20-0 and scored their first points of the game at the 9:41 mark through a layup by sophomore guard China Crosby. While Virginia opened the game shooting a paltry 6.67 percent on its first 15 shots from the floor, six different players contributed points toward the Eagles' opening run as they bombarded the Cavaliers from the perimeter and in the paint.

"They have very, very good shooters everywhere," Virginia coach Debbie Ryan said. "You're trading two for three, because as you saw, they're literally money in the bank on every three-point shot. We were playing the zone incorrectly, and it's not the way we were prepared."

Boston College (18-9, 5-7 ACC) was led by the inside presence of senior center Carolyn Swords. Despite various Virginia efforts to contain her post play, Swords tore apart the home team's defense to the tune of 14 points and 10 rebounds while also creating numerous opportunities for her teammates on the perimeter.

"We just made some really bad decisions on that part of the game - especially on Swords," Ryan said. "We were really, really bad inside, and we needed to be a lot better than we were. We were supposed to have some help in there, and we didn't."

After falling behind by as many as 24 points at the 4:10 mark in the first half, the Cavaliers traded buckets with the Eagles to end the half with a 40-19 score. While Virginia shot just 20 percent from the floor during the first half and 58.3 percent from the free throw line, Boston College shot a stellar 53.3 percent from the field.

"I just think that we weren't hitting shots early," junior guard Ariana Moorer said. "If we had hit a couple of shots, we probably would've been OK, but shots just weren't falling. It was pretty frustrating - just the part that shots that usually go in just weren't going in."

The Cavaliers improved offensively after the break with a 34.1 percent shooting performance during the second half, but they could not close the lead to fewer than 19 points.

"I had a lot of fun playing today," Swords said. "We have a great group of girls and we have been working so hard in practice. I was trying to do my best to make myself available on the low blocks. We worked on getting my possessions and making sure we were one-and-done with them. I think we did a really good job of working together today."

Sophomore guard Kerri Shields scored 17 points - 15 of those on three-pointers - to lead Boston College, while Moorer led Virginia with 11 points.

Freshman guard Ataira Franklin and sophomore forward Telia McCall each added 10 points for the Cavaliers.

Virginia must move on from its lopsided loss to the Eagles, however, since the team has an opportunity to improve its regular season r