Women’s basketball beats Boston College 77-61 in first round of ACC Tournament

Cavaliers advance to play Syracuse Thursday

Junior small forward Jocelyn Willoughby scored a career-high 29 points against Boston College Wednesday afternoon. Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The 12th-seeded Virginia women’s basketball team (12-18, 6-11 ACC) beat 13th-seeded Boston College (14-16, 3-14 ACC) 77-61 in the opening round of the ACC Tournament Wednesday afternoon.

Junior small forward Jocelyn Willoughby posted a career-high 29 points to lead the Cavaliers. She was also topped the team with 13 rebounds.

Coach Tina Thompson made one change to her starting five from the season finale at Notre Dame, giving sophomore guard Khyasia Caldwell only her fourth start of the season in place of sophomore guard Brianna Tinsley. Caldwell was second in scoring on the Cavaliers with 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds despite being 5-foot-5.

Junior guard Dominique Toussaint and junior forward Lisa Jablonowski also scored in double figures for Virginia with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The Cavaliers opened the game on an 11-0 run behind four points from Jablonowski and a three-point play from Caldwell. However, the Eagles came back to close the gap to 14-10 by the end of the quarter. Junior forward Emma Guy, Boston College’s leading scorer with 18 on the day, scored all but two of the Eagles’ first-quarter points.

With 4:23 remaining, Boston College sophomore guard Milan Bolden-Morris made a three-pointer to tie the game at 21 apiece. Tinsley had a layup attempt blocked by Guy at the other end, then on the Eagles’ next possession Bolden-Morris hit another three-pointer to give them their first lead of the contest.

Boston College led by six, 29-23 at the half, as freshman guard Marnelle Garraud hit a three-pointer with 1:14 to go before the end of the quarter. The Eagles shot 8-29 from three-point range, while Virginia went 3-9, one each for Willoughby, Caldwell and Toussaint in the third quarter.

The Eagles held a 37-25 lead with 7:33 remaining in the third, doubling their halftime advantage with the help of two three-pointers by sophomore guard Sydney Lowery. Willoughby then made a three of her own on Virginia’s next possession, kicking off a 7-0 run for the Cavaliers to put the game back into reach.

Boston College junior guard Taylor Ortlepp made a three-pointer with 4:34 to play in the third to put the Eagles back up by seven before Guy fouled Virginia senior forward Moné Jones, who hit both her free throws.

About a minute later, Toussaint hit a three-pointer, stole the ball from Guy then assisted another three-pointer by Caldwell to put Virginia ahead for the first time since the second quarter. Guy and Willoughby traded baskets on the next two possessions, and Virginia held the lead the rest of the way.

The Eagles were able to cut Virginia’s lead to two with 7:06 to play on a layup by Bolden-Morris, but Toussaint made a jumper on the next possession, giving the Cavaliers some breathing room.

Virginia scored the last 10 points of the game, including four of Tinsley’s six points.

The Cavaliers will play again Thursday against fifth-seeded Syracuse at 11 a.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.

related stories