The Virginia women's basketball team will square off against the Clemson Tigers Sunday in the Cavaliers' first home game in nearly two weeks. Only five games remain in the regular season, and with Selection Monday a month away, the Cavaliers (17-8, 5-6 ACC) are looking to finish their season strong to bolster their NCAA tournament resume.
"I feel good about where we are at this point in the season," coach Joanne Boyle said. "Do we have a little weary legs? Yes. But as a whole, we're in great condition, and if we give them a day off here or there, we'll be good ... I've had teams that start to drag later in the season, but I think our momentum is carrying us upwards."
Though their games against ACC opponents have produced mixed results, the Cavaliers performed well at some points during their two most recent victories. Three Cavaliers scored double-digit points last Sunday against NC State, and the team netted 22 points off of 25 Wolfpack turnovers. Junior guard Lexie Gerson leads the Cavaliers with 82 steals for the season.
Though opponents have found weaknesses in the interior of Virginia's zone defense, the Cavaliers' defensive strategy has been a major factor in creating a conference-leading turnover margin of plus-8.8 turnovers per game.
"As long as we're getting deflections and transition [in the zone] that's good," senior guard Ariana Moorer said. "Obviously there are times when teams are going to pick you apart a little bit inside."
Virginia's effort on the defensive end led to similar results in a Jan. 29 victory against Florida State when the Cavaliers scored 28 points off of 23 forced turnovers and out-rebounded the Seminoles 36-34, a positive sign given the team's season-long rebounding struggles. Senior forward Chelsea Shine led the