The Virginia women’s basketball team (18-9, 7-7 ACC) won its third-straight game, defeating Virginia Tech (16-11, 3-11 ACC), 63-55, on Sunday (Feb. 19) at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va.
Virginia led the entire way, but Virginia Tech cut the lead to one, 54-53, with 1:36 to play. An offensive rebound by junior guard J’Kyra Brown (Rocky Mount, N.C.) led to freshman guard Dominique Toussaint (Staten Island, N.Y.) making an and-one that put the Cavaliers up 57-53 with 51 seconds to play. UVA was 6-of-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to secure the 63-55 win.
“That was a great basketball game in a great environment,” head coach Joanne Boyle said. “It was a hard fought game by both teams. We were fortunate to come out of this one with a win. Kenny [Brooks] is doing a great job with his team finding their way, and we are trying to be more consistent. We knew this was going to be a much tighter game. It is always tough to come into someone else’s court and get a win. Credit to the growth of this team, we have been in a lot of tight games this year and those have helped prepare us to be in these situations. We were able to execute down the stretch and learn from our mistakes.”
Four players scored in double-figures for the Cavaliers, led by senior guard Breyana Mason (Woodbridge, Va.) with 13 points. Mason became the 32nd player in UVA history to join the 1,000-career points club during the game. Toussaint and Brown each finished with 11 points and freshman guard Jocelyn Willoughby (East Orange, N.J.) added 10. Sidney Cook led Virginia Tech with 15 points.
The Cavaliers shot 39 percent from the field (23-of-59), while Virginia Tech shot 32.8 percent (19-of-58). UVA out-rebounded VT, 38-36, and had a 34-18 advantage with points in the paint. The Cavaliers finished 14-of-16 from the free throw line and the Hokies were 13-of-19.
Virginia was on the board first when junior forward Lauren Moses (Mount Holly, N.J.) made a layup at 8:33, then continued to extend its lead, going up 8-2 with 6:02 to play in the first period. Virginia held Virginia Tech scoreless for the first three minutes of the first period. VT pulled within two, 9-7, when Brown hit a three, then a stop on the other end led to a three for junior guard Huland El (Randolph, N.J.) as UVA went ahead 15-7 with 3:08 on the clock. UVA would keep the Hokies from scoring another field goal for the remainder of the period. A layup in the final seconds by Toussaint gave UVA a 19-8 lead at the end of the first. Virginia shot 53.8 percent (7-of-13) in the opening period, while Virginia Tech as 21.4 percent from the floor (3-of-14).
The teams came out firing in the second, trading baskets over the first two minutes. Virginia Tech used a 7-0 to cut it to 25-19 with 4:56 to play in the second period. The Cavaliers were scoreless for 3:30 until two free throws by Toussaint ended the drought. A layup by freshman forward Lisa Jablonowski (Ernster, Luxembourg) put UVA back up by nine, 29-20, but Tech responded with a jumper to make it 29-22 with 2:36 remaining in the period. The Hokies pulled within three, 33-27, on a three by Kendyl Brooks, but back-to-back layups by Mason sent the Cavaliers into halftime with a 37-27 advantage.
Virginia Tech scored the first two baskets of the second half to be back within six, but Huland El got a steal and a layup, then a steal by Moses led to a Willoughby layup to put UVA in front 41-31 at the 4:37 mark in the third. Neither team scored for two minutes, until a 4-0 run for the Hokies made it 41-35. Moses scored a layup to put UVA up 43-35 with 2:20 left in the period. The Cavaliers scored on a jumper by Mason in the paint, but VT hit two free throws to end the period with UVA leading 45-37.
With Virginia leading 49-39, Tech hit a three to cut it to seven, but Mason nailed a three-pointer to make it a 10-point margin with 7:24 to play. A 9-0 run, six of those on free throws, by the Hokies would cut UVA’s lead to 52-51 with 2:39 remaining. After starting the game 2-for-22 from long-range, Virginia Tech was 2-of-3 to start the fourth. The Cavaliers were scoreless for over five minutes, until two free throws by Toussaint with 1:53 to play gave the Cavaliers a 54-51 lead. With under a minute to play, Toussaint converted an and-one to make it a 57-53 game. A foul for VT sent Willoughby to the line where she hit both to put Virginia ahead 59-53 with 40 seconds remaining. Brown was 4-for-4 from the charity stripe to close out the win.
The game is part of the Commonwealth Clash, presented by Virginia529, a head-to-head, points-based competition between the athletic teams at University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. The Commonwealth Clash encourages a friendly, statewide rivalry between the two schools across all school-sponsored sports with 22 individual event points on the line. The school that accumulates 11.5 points or more will be crowned the winner and take home the Virginia529 Commonwealth Clash trophy. The score is currently tied 5-5. In its inaugural year (2014-15), the Commonwealth Clash came to a close with Virginia winning 15 to 7. The Cavaliers won last year (2015-16) 14 to 7. Visit TheCommonwealthClash.com for more information and updated standings.
The Cavaliers will be on the road next Thursday, playing at No. 14 Louisville before returning home for the final game of the regular season, hosting No. 15 NC State on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.