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Women’s basketball defeats Manhattan, 69-47

Cavaliers enter ACC play on three-game win streak

<p>Virginia senior forward Lauren Moses led all scorers with 16 points.</p>

Virginia senior forward Lauren Moses led all scorers with 16 points.

Virginia women’s basketball returned to John Paul Jones Arena for its final contest of non-conference play Thursday night, taking on Manhattan after an extended hiatus due to final exams at the start of December. The team grabbed a much-needed 69-47 victory heading into ACC play.

The Cavaliers (7-6) opened hot from the floor with an eight-nothing run, a continuation of their recent string of solid play after picking up two victories over the weekend.

One quarter in the books and Virginia appeared in complete control of the game, leading 18-9.  A majority of the Jaspers’ (3-8) makes came from heaves against the shot clock, trying to overcome a tenacious Cavalier defense that rarely gave an open look.

The Cavaliers hit almost every shot in the first half. They entered the locker room at halftime up 42-25 on 56.3 percent shooting from the field. Senior forward Lauren Moses led the team with 12 halftime points.

“I’m going to do what my team needs me to do in order to get the win,” Moses said. “I think coming off this concussion it’s just been nice trying to get back into the groove.”

Freshman guard Brianna Tinsley ran the offense efficiently and sophomore guard Dominique Toussaint attacked the paint relentlessly to keep the offense flowing.

“You can tell [Tinsley] is a little more comfortable,” Virginia Coach Susan Boyle said. “I think she worked hard on her defense. You can see that she is more comfortable on both ends of the floor. The more minutes she gets, the more growth and the more opportunity we have to grow with her.”

Virginia remained steady in the third quarter, maintaining a solid lead throughout the 10 minutes, ending with a 52-36 lead. Holding a clear height and athleticism advantage, Moses and the rest of the frontcourt continued to provide efficient shooting.

“Lauren Moses and Felicia Aiyeotan are in the gym all the time getting extra work,” Boyle said. “So that makes a difference. I think our players are starting to understand how much better we play when the ball goes inside and when we use an inside-out and inside-to-side attack.”

Able to trade baskets after grabbing their large first half lead, the Cavaliers held onto the lead they created late into the fourth quarter. Boyle was able to provide extended minutes to the bench unit — up nearly 20 points with just a few minutes left in the game.

Senior guard J’Kyra Brown made the most of the closing minutes, swatting away a Manhattan driving layup and grabbing a traditional three-point play on a smooth and-one. Freshman guard Khyasia Caldwell also got into the late scoring action, coming off the bench cold to put up four quick points using her incredible speed that she also exhibits for the track-and-field team.

The Cavaliers were able to take care of business in their final non-conference matchup, securing the 67-49 victory over Manhattan. Moses finished with a season-high 16 points. 

“I like the growth that we’ve had,” Boyle said. “I’ve been proud of the girls because even the games where we’ve had five and six people, we’ve been battling. That says something. Now that we’re healthy and we’ve been battle-tested, going into conference play, we should be ready for this.”

Virginia begins ACC play when it takes on Pittsburgh next Thursday at John Paul Jones Arena. The game starts at 7 p.m.


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