February 24, 2012
The Virginia women used a strong second half effort Friday night to earn their 20th win of the season over Wake Forest. The 61-55 victory secures the sixth seed in the upcoming ACC Conference Tournament next week.
"We didn't play our best basketball in the first half," said head coach Joanne Boyle. "They could've come out and hung their heads and they didn't, they fought. They knew what they were fighting for, it was senior night, it was to wrap up the six seed, it was to get 20 wins. There was a lot at stake and they came out and I'm just so proud of them."
Senior Ariana Moorer and junior Lexie Gerson led the team with 15 points seach. Senior forward Chelsea Shine surpassed 1,000 points (1,008) for her career, scoring nine points in her final home game at John Paul Jones Arena.
Wake Forest (16-12, 6-9 ACC) trailed Virginia ( 20-9, 8-7 ACC) by one game in the conference standings heading into Friday's game and pushed their first half lead to as many as 13 points. The Demon Deacons held UVa scoreless for more than seven minutes midway through the half. Shine entered the game with 999 points and sunk a shot at the 2:39 mark to surpass 1,000 points. The Cavaliers trailed by eight at halftime.
In the second half, a three-pointer from Ataira Franklin cut the deficit to one, 36-38. Moorer put the Cavaliers ahead after a stretch of eight points in less than two minutes. The senior hit a three-pointer, three free throws and a jumper to put UVa ahead 44-42. Virginia used a 13-2 run to pull away and lead 57-46 with 4:08 on the clock.
"I think once our team gets lit, once that fire hits, you can see it," said senior Chelsea Shine. "There's moments in games where you can tell that, that fire is lit and there's no stopping us at that point. The other team may score here or there but we just go on a run, everybody's energy is so much better. If that's not there from the start it's sure to come out at some point during the game."
The Cavaliers play their final regular season game on Sunday at Florida State at 2 p.m. The ACC Tournament is underway Thursday March 1 in Greensboro, N.C.