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Women’s basketball falls to 0-2 after poor shooting performance against Southern California

The Cavaliers shot 28.6 percent from the field in the 65-48 loss

<p>The Cavaliers struggled to score against the Trojans' stout defense.</p>

The Cavaliers struggled to score against the Trojans' stout defense.

On Sunday, the Virginia women's basketball team lost to Pac-12 foe, Southern California, in its first home game of the season. This loss to the Trojans (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) comes as the Cavaliers’ (0-2, 0-0 ACC) second straight loss to begin their 2021-2022 campaign after falling to James Madison 84-69 last Tuesday in Harrisonburg. 

Virginia Coach Tina Thompson made only one change in the starting five from the previous game, subbing-in graduate student forward Eleah Parker for junior forward London Clarkson. 

Southern California  freshman Rayah Marshall led the way for the Trojans off the bench with 16 points.  Virginia’s leading scorer was junior guard Taylor Valladay’s nine points in her first home game as a Cavalier after transferring from Marquette this year.

Virginia got off to a very slow start, allowing Southern California to get out to an 11-0 lead early in the first quarter. Despite the challenging start, the Cavaliers were able to cut the deficit to 17-16 at the end of the first quarter. Southern California would outscore Virginia in the second quarter and take a 34-30 into the locker room for the halftime break.

Scoring runs were a big problem area for the Cavaliers, allowing the 11-0 run to start the game and an additional 8-0 run in the second half.

“Basketball is a game of runs and there are going to be ups and downs,” Coach Tina Thompson said. “And when the momentum is not in our favor, we have to kind of buckle down and defend and be tougher and raise our level of intensity so that we can get the momentum in our favor.”

Coming out of the break, a three-point jumper from junior guard Carole Miller reduced the Trojan lead to one. Sophomore forward Jordyn Jenkins and junior forward Camryn Taylor would exchange baskets, making the contest 36-35 in favor of the Trojans. Southern California would then go on an 8-0 run and its lead would never shrink to less than eight after the run.

Valladay scored the only six points for the Cavaliers in the fourth quarter, where the team went 2-13 from the field. The Trojans scored 13 points to Virginia’s six to capitalize on their second victory of the season.

Southern California’s defense was dominant in this game — forcing 15 turnovers and not allowing a Virginia player to score in the double digits. The Trojans were able to take advantage of these turnovers all game, scoring 17 points off of Cavalier miscues. Their bench also played an instrumental role in the victory with both Campbell and freshman center Clarice Akunwafo both putting up double-digit points. On the boards, Southern California outrebounded Virginia 52-45 with each team getting 17 and 15 offensive rebounds, respectively.

One bright spot for the Cavaliers was the play of their bench. All five players off the bench scored points, including strong performances from Clarkson who had eight points and six rebounds and sophomore guard Kaydan Lawson with five points and nine rebounds. 

“We're not feeling good right now,” Thompson said. “Today as a whole, it was not a correct representation of who we are. We’ve got to get better.”

Virginia will stay at home to play the University of Central Florida Wednesday at John Paul Jones Arena. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m. and will air on ACCNX and ESPN+, as the Cavaliers look to get their first win of the season.

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