Toussaint, Willoughby each score 29 as Virginia wins in Blacksburg, 86-76

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

UVA seniors Felicia Aiyeotan, Lisa Jablonowski, Jocelyn Willoughby and Dominique Toussaint celebrate in the locker room after winning at Virginia Tech (Photo: twitter.com).

The Virginia women’s basketball team defeated Virginia Tech by a score of 86-76 on Sunday in a Commonwealth Clash contest played at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg.

The Cavaliers (12-15, 7-9 ACC) jumped out to a 13-point lead in the first quarter, but the Hokies (20-7, 10-6) came back to take a one-point lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Virginia shot over 70 percent from the field in the final 10 minutes to outscore Virginia Tech 22-13  and log the 10-point victory.

Cavalier senior guard Dominique Toussaint scored a career-high 29 points, with fellow senior guard Jocelyn Willoughby matching that total while also grabbing 10 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the year. Aisha Sheppard of Virginia Tech scored 32 points, going 10 of 22 overall from the field and 8 of 15 from 3-point range.

HOW IT HAPPENED

After Virginia Tech held an early three-point lead, Toussaint scored six straight points, on a 3-pointer and an and-one, to push UVA out to a 10-7 lead. Willoughby added four straight points with freshman guard Carole Miller following with a baseline driving layup to extend the Cavalier run to 12-0 and its lead to 14-7. A jumper from Willoughby with 3:22 left in the first quarter gave Virginia its first double-digit advantage. A 3-pointer from redshirt freshman guard Amandine Toi pushed UVA’s lead out to 23-10 with 2:51 remaining in the period, what would prove to be UVA’s largest lead of the game.

The Hokies used their 3-point shooting to chip away at the deficit, but the Cavaliers headed into the second quarter with a 27-18 lead. The Hokies continued to fight back in the second, pulling to within four, 31-27, until an and-one from Willoughby temporarily ended the run. A 3-pointer from Toussaint pushed the Cavalier advantage back out to double digits, 38-28, with 4:12 left in the half. The Cavaliers did not score in the final two minutes of the period with Virginia Tech putting up the final five points of the half to cut Virginia’s halftime lead to 45-40.

Sheppard started the second half by hitting a three, pulling the Hokies to within two, 45-43, but Toussaint answered with a layup. Virginia Tech was within three, 54-51, with just under four minutes left in the third quarter, when a jumper from freshman guard Kylie Kornegay-Lucas followed by a 3-pointer from Willoughby gave UVA a 59-51 lead. Virginia Tech clawed back with a 3-pointer at the buzzer from Sheppard made it a one-point game, 64-63. A layup from Elizabeth Kitley completed the comeback with Virginia Tech taking a 65-64 lead with 9:04 remaining in the game.

Back-to-back scores from Willoughby and Toussaint put UVA back ahead 68-65 with 7:34 remaining. The Cavaliers clung to the lead and held a 79-75 edge heading into the final two minutes of play. A layup from Willoughby with 1:50 remaining made it 81-75. After two missed free throws by the Hokies, Willoughby added another layup to extend the advantage to 83-75 heading into the final minute of play. The Hokies struggled from the field and from the stripe down the stretch as a pair of Willoughby free throws with 21 seconds remaining extended UVA’s lead back to double digits.

FROM HEAD COACH TINA THOMPSON

“I am extremely proud of our team. I think this is probably the first game all season where we started the game that we wanted, the way we wanted to, but also finished the game we wanted to win. Even when the other team made a run, we didn’t put our head down or anything like that. They continued to say ‘We’re alright, we’re good, we will weather the storm and continue to be who we are’. [Toussaint and Willoughby] put us on their backs. I mean they had incredible offensive and defensive gains. It was really important for us to get this kind of leadership from our fourth-years.”

“The first time we played [the Hokies] this season, we dropped the ball. We played amazing in the first half and then the second half we just didn’t defend the way that we defend so we felt like we kind of put a bow on that win it just gave it away. We wanted to come in here today and play a complete, complete game. It’s something that we talked about it. We did something a little different from a coaching perspective today. We made our kids a little bit more responsible for the scout. It’s one thing to know and understand what we’re supposed to do, but then have to talk each other, and direct each other, it gives you a lot more ownership of it and just kind of a sense of what needs to be done. So they did a really good job. They were listening to each other and they executed all the things that they talked about in the first game and going into this one.”

NOTES

  • The Cavaliers shot a season-high 57.4 percent (31 of 54). Virginia Tech shot 36.7 percent (22 of 60)
  • Virginia held a 34-33 edge in rebounds
  • Virginia started the game making six of its first seven shots, shooting 71.4 percent (10 of 14) overall in the period. The Cavaliers closed the game by shooting 75.0 percent (9 of 12) in the fourth quarter
  • Virginia Tech was 6 of 12 from 3-point range in the first half and finished the game shooting 41.7 percent (10 of 24) from 3-point range
  • Virginia’s largest lead was 13 points (23-10) with 2:51 remaining in the first quarter
  • Virginia is averaging 60.2 points per game this season. The Cavaliers scored 64 points in the first three quarters
  • Virginia Tech missed its last six field-goal attempts of the game and was 4 of 8 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter
  • Virginia outscored Virginia Tech 36-20 in the paint
  • This was the first time two Cavalier players scored 20 points in a game since Willoughby (21) and Felicia Aiyeotan (23) did so against Coppin State on Nov. 13, 2016
  • Toussaint had 17 points in the first half, eclipsing her season high of 16 points which she hit three times this season, the last being against Miami on Feb. 13
  • Toussaint’s previous career high was 19 points, which she hit five times in her career, most recently on Jan. 27, 2019 against Wake Forest
  • Toussaint was 11 of 17 from the field and 5 of 5 from the stripe
  • Toussaint had seven assists, giving her 383 on her career, which has moved her into the top 10 in program history for that stat
  • Willoughby scored 17 of her 29 points in the second half. This was her ACC-leading 13th 20-point game of the season
  • Her 29 points moved her into the top 10 in program history in scoring. She now has 1,635 career points, which ranks ninth in the UVA record book
  • Willoughby was 8 of 14 from the field and 12 of 14 from the free-throw line
  • Senior forward Lisa Jablonowski and Miller each scored nine points

Box Score

COMMONWEALTH CLASH

  • With the half-point in today’s game, Virginia leads this year’s Clash 6.0-3.5
  • The Virginia-Virginia Tech game is part of the Commonwealth Clash presented by Virginia529, which is a head-to-head, points-based competition between the athletic teams of the Cavaliers and Hokies
  • The Commonwealth Clash encourages a friendly, statewide rivalry between the two schools across all school-sponsored sports with 21 individual event points on the line
  • The school that accumulates 11 points or more will be crowned the winner and take home the Virginia529 Commonwealth Clash trophy.
  • UVA captured the Clash in 2015, 2016 and 2019, while Virginia Tech has won the Clash in 2017 and 2018

ON THE HORIZON

  • Virginia will close out the regular season next week with a pair of home games against Pittsburgh on Thursday at 7 p.m. and No. 10 NC State on Sunday at 2 p.m.

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