Despite losing to No. 2 Notre Dame on Sunday, the Virginia women's basketball team's confidence is high heading into Thursday's matchup at No. 3 Duke. The Cavaliers fell to Notre Dame 79-72, but they were the only team this season to finish within single-digits of the undefeated Irish.
"It changes our mindset completely, we have a lot of confidence," senior Kelsey Wolfe said Tuesday. "I think the practices leading up to Notre Dame really changed our mindset and our confidence about going into that game and definitely going into the Duke game."
"We know that we can play with these big name teams," added senior Ataira Franklin. "We know that we can score and defend. Going into a game, being the underdog kind of gives you a little bit more of you know, we have something to prove."
The Cavaliers will certainly be the underdog on the road against the No. 3 Blue Devils, who are 16-1 overall this season. However, Duke will be without All-American Chelsea Gray, who is out for the rest of the season with a kneecap fracture that occurred in Sunday’s win over Boston College.
Duke has won the last 20 games against UVa, a streak that dates back to 2000. Last season, the Blue Devils scored a 62-41 win at John Paul Jones Arena.
Despite the fact that they've never beaten Duke in their careers, the Cavalier seniors say their team can still pull off the upset if they stay focused on their preparation in the next two days.
"Prep is really important going into ACC play, just to get our game plan down and really have a focus about us before the game," Wolfe said.
"Going into the Notre Dame game, we had two great days of prep for them," added Franklin. "Whenever you practice well and you plan well and you really are just locked into the game plan, that just gave us confidence and just a sense of security going into that game. Hopefully we'll be able to execute the game plan just as well going against Duke."