Virginia Advances to the Quarterfinals With A Win Over Virginia Tech
March 5, 2009
The sixth-seeded Cavaliers' 66-57 victory over No. 11 Virginia Tech, their sixth straight in that series, advanced them into Friday's quarterfinal against Duke, which has beaten UVa 15 in a row and 20 of 21. When the Cavs last defeated the Blue Devils, Ariana Moorer, now a freshman guard for the Cavs, was 9. That was a 61-49 verdict on Jan. 30, 2000.
It's a topic the folks from Charlottesville aren't terribly fond of. Asked what a win over Duke would mean to her team, senior forward Lyndra Littles said, "Another game. Another day to play. A chance to win the ACC championship."
Aisha Mohammed delivered 16 points and 16 rebounds - the most by a Cavalier in the tournament in 14 years - to lead Virginia (23-8) over Tech. UVa pounced on the Hokies early with an almost implausible 31-11 rebounding advantage in the first half. (They won the final tally in that department 46-34). Some of the statistical dominance stemmed from a tendency to miss contested lay-ups, but to their credit, the Cavaliers were anything but complacent, and their 39-21 halftime lead was their largest in an ACC game this season.
"We just went after it," coach Debbie Ryan said. "That was a focus for us all night."
The Hokies (12-18) were a resilient bunch in the second half. They shaved the deficit to nine with six minutes left, but Mohammed and Littles quelled the comeback with off-balance shots on the Cavaliers' next two trips. Mohammed's basket followed her recovery of a loose ball and barely beat the shot clock.
Virginia Tech was led by Utahya Drye's 21-point effort.
For the winners, it is now on to Duke, which has won by 10 or more points 10 times in the ongoing streak against the Cavs. The most recent verdict was by an 81-67 count on Feb. 5.
"The last time we played them, we did not play good defense," Mohammed said. "And the rebounding was poor. This time, we have to bust out and run more transition."