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Virginia women’s basketball picks up 68-50 victory over UNCG

Cavaliers catch fire from distance, hit nine three-pointers

<p>Senior guard J'Kyra Brown led the Cavaliers past UNCG with a balanced attack of 15 points, six rebounds and four assists.</p>

Senior guard J'Kyra Brown led the Cavaliers past UNCG with a balanced attack of 15 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Virginia women’s basketball hosted UNC-Greensboro for a Saturday night matchup at John Paul Jones Arena.

The Cavaliers (4-5, 0-0 ACC) are looking to string together victories to gain momentum following tough losses at the start of the season, and found success with a 68-50 victory over the Spartans (4-4, 0-0 ACC).

Senior guard J’Kyra Brown finished with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists. Fellow senior guard Aliyah Huland El added 13 points, three boards and two assists.

Roles were reversed just a few days prior on Wednesday, when the Cavaliers fell to No. 15 Maryland (7-2, 0-0 Big Ten) 60-59 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. After trailing by as many as 12 at halftime, Virginia came roaring back but could not take down the top-25 opponent.

“This game is just really a game of redemptions,” Huland El said. “And you know we wanted to redeem ourselves and make sure we were secure in how we play and who we are. This game definitely sets up the coming games for our break to get us on a good run.” 

They would have to begin their win streak without senior forward Lauren Moses, the team's leading rebounder over the last three contests. She was sidelined from the game due to a concussion. 

Early on both teams were content to run in the fast break, shooting quickly with plenty of time on the shot clock.

Sophomore guards Jocelyn Willoughby and Dominique Toussaint had a clear athletic advantage, able to get to their spots whenever they wanted. They each finished the game with 11 points.

After one quarter, Virginia had an 18-14 lead with Toussaint and Willoughby combining for 11 points.

Virginia sophomore center Felicia Aiyeotan had a clear size advantage that she was able to utilize and give the Cavaliers a hefty edge on the glass.

“She’s been a presence. You can tell that [Aiyeotan] every game, gets more and more comfortable,” Coach Susan Boyle said. “Obviously, her defense is ahead of her offense but I really feel like she’s settling in on the offensive end as well. It’s been good.”

The first quarter lead expanded to as many as 16 points in the second as Virginia’s three point jumpers began to fall with frequency. Two quarters in the books and the Cavaliers held a 37-23 advantage. An 11-0 run late in the quarter was the true turning point of the contest.

As in every game, the Spartans made a run in the third quarter, bringing the difference under double-digits at multiple instances. The Cavaliers had an answer for every run, however, keeping a 14-point advantage going into the final quarter.

“They got some early open looks, so I thought it took us until the fourth quarter to really settle in,” Boyle said. “We defended much better in the fourth quarter.”

Aiyeotan continued to dominate both the offensive and defensive paint for Virginia, posting her second six-block game of the season. UNC-Greensboro had to alter many of their shot attempts to avoid the outstretched arms of the Cavaliers’ 6-foot-9-inch center.

The three point shot was on for Virginia, a key to scoring against the Spartan’s zone defense. They went nine of 15 from deep, a deadly 60 percent. 

“Nights like this, it’s fun because you move the ball around and they played a lot of zone,” Boyle said. “So it is just going to be who has that hot hand or who has the open shot. I felt we made some tough shots tonight but some good shots.”

UNC-Greensboro could not get overcome their size and shooting disadvantage and the Cavaliers grabbed a decisive 68-50 victory.

Virginia has one final matchup before breaking for final exams, taking on Rutgers Monday night. They will play in New Brunswick, N.J. at 6 p.m.


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