Willoughby puts up a game-high 24 as Virginia squashes Orange, 57-41

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

virginia women's basketballThe Virginia women’s basketball team picked up a 57-41 victory over Syracuse on Sunday at John Paul Jones Arena. Virginia (9-13, 4-7 ACC) led wire-to-wire, limiting Syracuse to 26.3 percent shooting and its lowest point total since 2007.

Senior guard Jocelyn Willoughby had her 10th 20-point game of the season, finishing with 24 points and seven rebounds. Freshman guard Shemera Williams came off the bench to score 11 points. Syracuse’s Emily Engstler had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Virginia, taking advantage of seven straight missed shots by Syracuse, opened the game on a 6-0 run. The Cavaliers made four straight field-goal attempts to build up a 12-4 lead. The Orange (10-11, 4-6) went on a 6-0 run of their own, but the Cavaliers held on to a 14-10 lead heading into the second quarter.

An and-one from Williams gave UVA a 21-13 lead with 6:24 remaining in the first half. Back-to-back jumpers from senior forward Lisa Jablonowski and freshman guard Kylie Kornegay-Lucas extended UVA’s run out to 9-0 and gave the Cavaliers a double-digit lead, 25-13. Syracuse chipped away at the deficit, going into the break trailing 28-19.

Back-to-back baskets from redshirt freshman guard Amandine Toi and Jablonowski extended the Cavalier lead back out to double-digits, 34-21, with 6:11 remaining in the third quarter. Syracuse scored six straight points to whittle UVA’s lead to 38-29, but a fast-break layup from Williams ended the run and gave UVA a 40-29 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

Virginia stifled all hints of a comeback from the Orange in the final period. After Jablonowski blocked a Syracuse attempt, Willoughby scored a layup on the opposite end to give UVA a 46-35 lead with 5:03 remaining. After Syracuse scored on its next possession, Willoughby hit another jumper. An and-one transition basket from Williams with 2:16 remaining made it a 54-39 game, cementing the victory.

FROM HEAD COACH TINA THOMPSON

“This was a necessary win for us. I’m really excited for our kids. We needed to get this one today and we played from start to finish. We’re doing a much better job of playing a complete game and stringing quarters together and when we can do that, we have very positive results. Rebounding was very important today. We emphasized boxing out.

“Kylie [Kornegay-Lucas] does a really good job from the point guard position of getting back and getting rebounds and she was definitely key when our bigs, or our not-so-bigs were boxing out their bigs and getting the ball. Jocelyn [Willoughby] is always one of the top players on our team in the rebounding respect, but Tihana [Stojsavljevic] did a great job coming in and taking care of the boards. We had a total team effort in that area.”

NOTES

  • The 41 points by Syracuse was its fewest scored in a game since falling to Rutgers, 68-40, on Feb. 14, 2007
  • The 41 points was the fewest points allowed by the Virginia defense this season
  • Virginia shot 40.7 percent (22 of 54) while Syracuse was 15 of 57 (26.3 percent) and 2 of 17 (11.8 percent) from 3-point range
  • Virginia was 0 of 11 from 3-point range, the first time since Nov. 29, 2013 that the Cavaliers failed to make at least one 3-point basket
  • Virginia held a 46-31 edge in rebounding
  • Virginia outscored Syracuse 34-24 in the paint
  • Willoughby had a hand in UVA’s first four baskets of the game, scoring three and assisting on the other
  • Willoughby was 10 of 12 from the free throw line
  • Kornegay-Lucas grabbed five of Virginia’s first six rebounds. She had eight rebounds in the first half and finished the game with 12, tying her career high
  • Junior forward Tihana Stojsavljevic had a career-high eight rebounds in 13 minutes on the court
  • Senior guard Dominique Toussaint did not play in the game due to a violation of team rules

ON THE HORIZON

  • Virginia closes out its current home stand by hosting Clemson on Thursday at 7 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena

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