The Virginia women's basketball team hopes to rebound from Monday night's tough 78-74 home loss against then-No. 14 Florida State when it travels to Raleigh, N.C. tonight for a showdown against N.C. State.
During the their most recent game, the Cavaliers (13-12, 2-7 ACC) trailed by as many as 17 points against the Seminoles before clawing their way back to within two points in the closing minute of the game. Freshman guard Ataira Franklin led Virginia with 16 points in the loss - the third consecutive game during which she has led the team in scoring. Assistant coach Tim Taylor noted that the performance against the talented Florida State was encouraging for the Cavaliers, who now rank No. 10 in the conference standings.
"We don't like to think that there are moral victories because you have to win and that's what we're supposed to do," Taylor said. "But you look at how we played against [Florida State] and how our team came together and executed down the stretch, and it's a sign that we're coming together."
Taylor attributed the team's recent cohesion in part to the re-emergence of redshirt freshman forward Erinn Thompson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2010. Thompson chipped in a career-high nine points and three rebounds Monday against the Seminoles during 16 minutes off the bench.
"I heard that Erinn was lighting it up in practice last week, just scoring in bunches," sophomore guard Lexie Gerson said. "As a team, we have to know that if you get hurt, you're not going to lose your playing time if you work hard to come back."
Apart from distributing the ball equally on the offensive side of the ball, the Cavaliers will need to keep up defensively with the fast-paced Wolfpack if they hope to emerge victorious tonight. Taylor acknowledged the Wolfpack's tendency to rush up the court and get the ball into the hands of junior forward Bonae Holston, sophomore guard Marissa Kastanek or redshirt senior guard Amber White. Each player is averaging 12 points or more per game for the Wolfpack, who rank fifth in the conference with 73.9 total points per outing.
"The keys for us to be successful is to not turn the ball over, play defense and rebound," Taylor said. "If we do these things then we'll have a chance in every game we play. We showed this in our games against Maryland and Florida State, and this game is no different."
Tip-off is slated for 7 P.M.