In the final game of their non-conference schedule Sunday afternoon in Charlottesville, the Virginia women’s basketball team remained undefeated with a dominant 84-28 win over Morgan State.
With the decisive victory over the Bears (7-4, 0-0 MEAC), the Cavaliers (12-0, 1-0 ACC) improved upon their best start to a season since 1991 and kept red-hot as they head into ACC competition.
Morgan State notched the game’s first points on a layup by senior forward Sunshine McCrae. The 2-0 advantage in the opening minute would be the only lead for the Bears all afternoon.
A few possessions later junior forward Mir McLean tied the game before graduate student forward Sam Brunelle buried a three-pointer on the Cavaliers’ ensuing possession to give the hosts the lead for good. However, Morgan State hung around early as a pair of free throws by senior guard Ja’Niah Henson to end the first quarter brought the deficit to 14-10.
After a slow start, Virginia’s offense began to click in the second quarter. Senior forward Camryn Taylor led the way with eight points in the quarter as the Cavaliers opened the period on a 12-0 run and closed it on a 5-0 run. Virginia turned up the intensity on the defensive side of the floor in the second quarter as well, holding Morgan State to just four points on 1-14 shooting as they took a 19-point lead into halftime.
The Cavaliers picked up right where they left off after the break, outscoring the Bears 30-8 in the third quarter. Brunelle had five early points in the quarter including her third deep-ball off the afternoon which sparked a 20-2 Virginia avalanche. The Cavaliers shot 10-15 from the floor in the third and got to the free-throw line nine times as they built a 41-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, McLean and senior guard Taylor Valladay traded buckets to build the Virginia lead to 71-22. After a Morgan State field goal, the Cavaliers poured in another 10-straight points. The late scoring run was highlighted by a snazzy no-look, behind-the-back assist from freshman guard Cady Pauley which earned her a spot on SportsCenter’s Top-10 plays segment.
Virginia held the Bears to just 28 points in the contest, their first time limiting an opponent to under 30 points since 2012. Morgan State also failed to make a single three-pointer, making them the first Cavalier opponent to go without a deep-ball since Louisville in 2015.
Coach Mox’s squad dominated every facet of the game Sunday, out-rebounding the Bears 51-30 on their way to their largest margin of victory of the season.
“I’m just really proud of our players,” Coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton said. “We did a good job of weathering the storm and then getting into stride in the second half.”
Virginia’s schedule gets a lot tougher in the coming weeks as the Cavaliers move into ACC play, but Virginia will look to keep the good times rolling as they travel to Durham, N.C. Wednesday to face Duke at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed on ACC Network Extra.