The Virginia women’s basketball team never trailed in an 80-64 victory over Virginia Tech Sunday at John Paul Jones Arena. The win improved the Cavaliers record to 13-12 and 6-6 in the ACC. It was also Virginia's 16th straight win over their in-state rival.
“It’s exciting to get back home and get the win,” said Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle. “I felt like we did a good job with ball pressure.”
Junior center Sarah Imovbioh scored 19 points with nine rebounds. Senior guard Ataira Franklin added 14 points with three assists, three steals and three rebounds.
“We were poised today,” Imovbioh said. “The screens for the guards were working and we were hitting our shots. We had confidence in our offense today.”
Virginia jumped out to a 9-0 lead, scoring all of those points off seven turnovers committed by the Hokies in the first 5:03 of the game. The Cavaliers extended the lead to 16-8 on a three-pointer from Franklin with 11:28 remaining. Virginia Tech cut into the deficit, using an 8-0 run to pull within four, 22-18, but a three-pointer by freshman guard Breyana Mason halted the Hokie charge. Virginia took a 35-24 lead into the halftime break.
Panousis scored 10 Hokie points in a span of just over three minutes, cutting the Cavalier lead to single digits, 49-41 with 13:10 remaining. Panousis’ scoring surge was the start of an 8-of-10 shooting stretch for the Hokies while the Cavaliers went 2-of-13 during that same span, with Virginia Tech pulling to within five, 54-49 with 8:49 remaining.
Virginia regained its offensive footing, scoring on eight-straight possessions, including back-to-back baskets from Imovbioh and a three-pointer from redshirt senior guard Lexie Gerson to take a 71-54 lead with 4:25 remaining.
Virginia had four players finish with double-digit points. In addition to Imovbioh and Franklin, senior guard Kelsey Wolfe scored 12 points with six rebounds and four assists. Sophomore guard Faith Randolph came off the bench to score 11 points with four rebounds and an assist. Mason scored nine points, all in the first half, going 4-of-6 from the field.
The game was also Virginia’s annual Play4Kay game, with both teams wearing pink jerseys in honor of the late Kay Yow, the longtime head coach at NC State.
“Kay laid the foundation and the groundwork for all of us in the sport,” Boyle said. “She was so passionate about coaches and players. The pink game is a celebration of basketball and bringing people together and ultimately raising awareness for cancer research and is a great legacy of hers.”
Next up, the Cavaliers will host No. 17/10 North Carolina on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m.