‘Hoos fight back from 22 down to beat Miami, 69-64

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Virginia seniors Jocelyn Willoughby (13) and Lisa Jablonowski celebrate the Cavaliers’ impressive comeback win over Miami Thursday night (Photo: UVA Athletics).

The Virginia women’s basketball team picked up a 69-64 victory over Miami on Thursday at John Paul Jones Arena. Miami (12-12, 4-9 ACC) opened the game on an 11-2 run, building up a 22-point lead with 5:27 remaining in the first half. The Cavaliers (11-14, 6-8) rallied in the second half, outscoring the Hurricanes 45-22 in the third and fourth quarters to complete the comeback and pick up the victory.

Senior guard Jocelyn Willoughby led the Cavaliers with 25 points with six rebounds. Senior guard Dominique Toussaint scored 16 points. Kelsey Marshall scored a career-high 25 points for the Hurricanes, with 20 of those coming in the first half.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Miami opened the game on an 11-2 run, with a layup from senior forward Lisa Jablonowski temporarily halting the run with 5:51 remaining in the period. The Hurricanes scored eight straight points later in the quarter, with that run halted by a pair of free throws from freshman guard Kylie Kornegay-Lucas with 1:33 remaining. A 3-pointer from Shemera Williams with 16 seconds left made it a 25-11 game. Miami opened the second period by hitting three 3-pointers, extending its lead to 34-13.

A layup from Willoughby with 6:17 remaining in the second period ended an 0-of-8 shooting slump to start the quarter. After the Hurricanes built up a 22-point lead with 5:27 remaining, back-to-back layups from Williams and Willoughby narrowed the gap to 37-19 with just under four minutes remaining in the half. The Cavaliers went into the break trailing 42-24.

The Cavaliers rallied in the third quarter. A jumper from Toussaint followed by a fast-break layup from freshman guard Carole Miller and a pair of Willoughby free throws cut the deficit to 13 points. After Miami built back up a 54-36 lead with 5:33 remaining, Willoughby scored four straight points to begin a 12-0 run for the Cavaliers to end the quarter and make it a 54-48 game. A 3-pointer from Willoughby with 6:39 remaining in the game cut the deficit to four, 59-55.

A 3-pointer from Toussaint with 2:28 remaining cut the deficit to one, 61-60. Forty-two seconds later, Toussaint converted an and-one to give UVA its first lead of the game, 63-61, with 1:46 remaining. After a miss on the opposite end, Jablonowski made a layup to extend the UVA advantage to 65-61 with 1:27 remaining. The Cavaliers went 4 of 4 from the free-throw line in the final 31 seconds to close out the victory.

FROM HEAD COACH TINA THOMPSON

“I’m really, really proud of our kids and their fight tonight, especially in the second half coming back and keeping their composure. I am even more excited that I was able to use my postgame speech part B and not part A, because part A was not PG-13. Really excited about their effort. It seems like in the first we were kind of playing on our heels and hesitating and not being who we are both defensively and offensively. I know that [the UVA players] had a conversation with themselves just to get back to who they are. Our strategy was just to chip away at the lead. If we could take 10 off of that 18-point deficit then we could put ourselves in a position to win and they did exactly that.”

“[Attacking the rim] was the focus at the beginning too, it’s just that we did it in the second half. We’ve watched hours of film and we knew what was available. Sometimes we get a little jump-shot happy and get away from who we are. We have kids that are incredible in their skill set and being able to get to the basket and finish at the rim. It’s why so many teams play us in zone so that we’re not able to get to the basket. But when the opportunities presented themselves in the second half, we were more intentional about getting to the basket and scoring at the rim.”

NOTES

  • Virginia was 22 of 24 (91.7 percent) from the free-throw line, including a perfect 15 of 15 in the second half
  • The Cavaliers shot 40.0 percent (22 of 55) while Miami shot 42.9 percent (21 of 49)
  • Virginia was 7 of 10 (70.0 percent) from the field in the fourth quarter, including going 2 of 2 from 3-point range
  • Willoughby scored 12 of her 25 points in the third quarter. She had six points at halftime
  • Willoughby was 10 of 10 from the free throw line and 7 of 11 from the field
  • Toussaint scored 14 points in the second half
  • Williams scored all 11 of her points in the first half
  • Kornegay-Lucas led UVA in rebounding with eight
  • Virginia scored eight points at the free-throw line during their 12-0 run in the third quarter
  • Virginia outscored Miami 32-12 in the paint
  • Virginia held a 33-27 edge in rebounding
  • Miami is 0-7 in road games this season
  • Marshall started the game 4 of 6 from 3-point range and finished 7 of 14

ON THE HORIZON

  • Virginia has a bye over the weekend before playing back-to-back road games at Duke (Feb. 20) and Virginia Tech (23)
  • Virginia will close out the regular season with a pair of home games against Pittsburgh (Feb. 27) and No. 4 NC State (Mar. 1)

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