Virginia women’s basketball secured its first home win of the new year at John Paul Jones Arena Thursday night. The Cavaliers (6-9, 1-3 ACC) managed to pull off a come-from-behind victory over Duke (7-8, 1-3 ACC) as senior guard Jocelyn Willoughby led Virginia with 24 points while shooting 55 percent from the field.
The game got off to a slow start. However, tied at six apiece with 3:32 remaining in the first quarter, the Cavaliers were able to take advantage offensively and end the quarter on a 6-0 run, bringing the score to 14-8.
Virginia retained the hot hand for the beginning of the second quarter, extending its previous run to 14 points. Senior guard Dominique Toussaint scored all eight of the consecutive points off of two three pointers and a layup. With 7:45 remaining, the Cavaliers built a 14-point lead to make the contest 22-8. For the remainder of the first half, the Blue Devils narrowed Virginia’s lead to six and entered halftime with a score of 30-24.
Following the half, the Cavaliers came out sluggish and with 7:37 to go in the third quarter, and Duke took the lead after a layup by Duke graduate student guard Haley Gorecki. The freshman pair — guards Kylie Kornegay-Lucas and Shemera Williams — kept Virginia close until Gorecki fired two threes in twenty seconds to give the Blue Devils a six-point lead. The period ended with the Cavaliers down by five, 48-43.
The majority of the fourth quarter remained close, but Duke jumped to an eight-point lead with under four minutes to go. With 3:38 on the clock, Virginia mounted its comeback. The Cavaliers scored eight unanswered points to tie the game at 59 with 1:41 remaining. Freshman guard Carole Miller scored the go-ahead basket off a layup with 51 seconds to go. With free throws from Willoughby, Virginia secured the win, 66-63.
On a high note, the Cavaliers shot the ball above average with a 51.1 field goal percentage and 50 percent from behind the arc. In addition to Willoughby’s high scoring night, Toussaint scored 15 points of her own, including multiple three point field goals.
“This was such a good win for us because we are becoming who we are,” Coach Tina Thompson said. “If we continue to play like this, I feel really good about us putting some wins together. So, I’m really excited for our first-year kids to kind of have an example of what's necessary to win in the ACC and the level at which you have to play at.”
Virginia returns to action at 2 p.m. Sunday against Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.