The Virginia women's basketball team gets one of its last chances to knock off a ranked opponent and prove it belongs in the NCAA tournament tonight, as it hosts No. 8 Maryland at John Paul Jones Arena.
The Cavaliers have not beaten a top-25 ranked opponent since earning a stunning upset against then-No. 3 Tennessee Nov. 20. With that win, the Cavaliers improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1997 and gave first-year coach Joanne Boyle her first victory against a ranked opponent as Virginia's head coach. Boyle is still searching for win number two.
Virginia lost 79-53 against then-No. 24 Texas in its first game after the marquee victory and has since lost all five conference games against ranked opponents. To punch its ticket to the NCAA tournament, Virginia will likely need one more headline-grabbing victory, but the Cavaliers are running out of chances with just four regular season games remaining before the conference tournament.
"I don't know, that's up for the committee to decide," Boyle said of whether her team needs a second win against a ranked opponent. "We'll just do what we do, and that's play basketball. We have 18 wins so we're right there and we just have to keep pushing forward."
The Cavaliers missed an opportunity to take down Maryland when they met earlier this year, squandering a four-point lead in the second half to lose 68-61. Virginia slowed the Terrapins powerful post tandem of sophomore forward Alyssa Thomas and junior forward Tianna Hawkins, who combined for just 14 points