The Joanne Boyle era at Virginia could not have started off much better than it has. After completing a three-game stretch of warm-up games without a blemish on their record, the Cavaliers took to the court against Pat Summitt's third-ranked Tennessee Volunteers. It took an intensely gutsy effort and an extra five minutes of playing time, but the Virginia record remains unblemished as the Cavaliers sent Tennessee home with a 69-64 loss.
Senior Chelsea Shine, facing a Tennessee interior much bigger and stronger than she is, led Virginia with 18 points. She also notched 9 rebounds, two assists and a block without committing either a turnover or a foul. That's an impressive stat line.
Four other Cavaliers scored in double figures: Junior China Crosby (13), Sophomore Ataira Franklin (12), Senior Ariana Moorer (10) and Junior Lexie Gerson (10). Moorer actually had a double-double as she tallied 10 rebounds, 2 assists 3 steals and a block. Gerson was a terror on defense, grabbing 5 steals on the afternoon.
This was a very talented Volunteer team that the Cavaliers took down today, and it took a whole team effort to make it happen. Lots of credit goes to Joanne Boyle and her coaching staff for getting these players prepared - both physically and mentally - for this grueling game.
The Cavaliers now head off to Hawaii where they'll face three competitive teams. It starts on Friday at 8pm against Texas, followed by Saturday at 7pm against Hawaii and Sunday at 8pm against California. This will be an important stretch for Virginia to show that the Tennessee game was not a fluke.