Virginia women’s basketball traveled to Boston College Thursday night in the hopes of ending their two-game ACC skid. After three close quarters that left spectators wondering what the outcome would be, the Cavaliers (11-12, 3-9 ACC) outscored the Eagles (11-14, 3-9 ACC) by seven points in the final period of the game, taking home with them a 73-66 conference road victory and Coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton’s 100th career win as a head coach.
Conte Forum managed an attendance of only 756 spectators, a drastic playing adjustment for Virginia after its recent home game against Clemson that brought in nearly 5,000 spectators. As the contest tipped off, Boston College got out to an early lead with the first points of the game.
However, the Cavaliers recovered and got on the scoreboard thanks to a layup from freshman forward Edessa Noyan. A steal from freshman guard Kymora Johnson turned into another made layup from sophomore guard Paris Clark, tying up the score 4-4.
The game stayed close for the first half of the opening quarter until the Eagles started a 12-2 run, pulling ahead 18-8. It wasn’t long, though, before Virginia responded with a run of its own. The Cavaliers scored eight points and shut Boston College down so it couldn’t pull further ahead before the first period finished.
After a quick break, the second quarter started with the score being 18-16, with the Eagles just two points ahead of the Cavaliers after having their 10-point lead cut down. Virginia immediately started with an offensive attack to tie the score up 10 seconds into the period. A fast break from freshman guard Olivia McGhee pulled the Cavaliers ahead by two points.
The gap stayed small throughout the second quarter, with neither team attaining a lead larger than four points. By the end of the first half, Boston College was just barely ahead, leading by just three points. Although they were behind on the scoreboard, the Cavaliers had outperformed the Eagles in both rebounds and field goal shooting percentage.
However, the Cavaliers had multiple turnovers that resulted in points for the Eagles — Boston College had scored 18 points off of Virginia turnovers in the first half, 8 more points than the Cavaliers managed.
Sophomore guard Yonta Vaughn also made an appearance in the first half of the game, marking her first time playing since Jan. 18 against Notre Dame. Vaughn had missed the last five contests due to concussion protocol, but she wasn’t slowed down in her return, as the sophomore went on to score 10 points in the second quarter.
After halftime, play started back up with the Eagles making a layup to make the gap five points, but a three-pointer from graduate forward Sam Brunelle closed the gap back down to just two points.
However, Boston College was ready to attack offensively and scored four more points, pulling right back ahead. Little did the Eagles know, though, that those six points they had on the Cavaliers would be their largest lead for the remainder of the matchup.
Two made free throws and an assist from Clark helped Virginia close the gap yet again and continue this game of push-and-pull between the two teams. Boston College managed to stay in the lead for most of the third period, but before the quarter could end Johnson made two free throws to tie the score 54-54. The Eagles and the Cavaliers were tied for rebounds in the third quarter, showing how evenly matched they were. Similar to other conference games for Virginia, it would come down to the fourth and final period to determine who would take home the victory.
The first few minutes of the fourth quarter stayed extremely close, with neither team having a large enough breakthrough to take the lead for an extended amount of time. However, a three-pointer from Brunelle would be the play that turned the tide.
Johnson followed Brunelle with a jump shot of her own and a turnover soon after, giving Virginia a seven-point lead halfway into the final period. Boston College would manage to close the gap by a couple of points, but Virginia would always manage to bring the lead back to what it was, securing a 73-66 victory over the Eagles. Agugua-Hamilton was proud of her team’s patience and resilience Thursday night.
“I saw some poise,” Agugua-Hamilton said. “They punched at times. We punched back. When they punched again, we didn’t fold and we didn’t crumble. We just stayed together and were poised and played together. That’s something that we’ve been working on, because sometimes when people punch, we go as individuals and everybody wants to do it themselves. But we stayed together. We chipped away. We had some really great performances … people just stepped up.”
This victory quickly put an end to Virginia’s losing streak, in which it lost its last two games to other conference teams. The Cavaliers also managed to turn around their rebounding performance and outrebounded the Eagles 41-33, showing growth within the team and providing promise for the final stretch of the season.
Virginia is now looking to its next weekend game, another road trip to face Wake Forest Sunday. The Demon Deacons are still looking for their first conference victory, giving the Cavaliers a fair shot at starting a winning streak. The two teams will play at 2 p.m., and the matchup will be broadcast on ACC Network.