The Virginia Cavaliers are rolling through the Women's NIT, as the Hoos defeated Boston College last night 53-48. Virginia is one of just eight teams left in the field, and will host Charlotte tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. in what will be Debbie Ryan's final game as head coach at John Paul Jones Arena.
En route, Virginia has defeated Morgan State (69-56) and Loyola (71-49). The five point victory over BC was the narrowest margin so far.
Still, that's a pretty drastic improvement over the last time these two teams met, considering Boston College scored the first 20 points of that game, ultimately winning 73-50.
The final score tomorrow night almost won't matter. All eyes will be on Debbie Ryan, the person who single-handedly brought Virginia Women's Basketball to light and who has been a coach and a mentor to many of those involved in sport today.
"I think she's leaving a great legacy [at Virginia]," Boston College head coach Sylvia Crawley said after the game. "She can walk away just feeling proud of what she fought for and what she helped to do. I think to do what she's done and win the amount of games that she's won over her career -- a young coach like me can only aspire to that."
"We're playing for something more," junior guard Ariana Moorer said. "We're playing for this woman right here, Debbie Ryan. She means a lot to us, and we want her here as long as possible, her and the staff."
Certainly, for anyone who has invested any amount of time into Virginia women's basketball, Saturday's game at JPJA will be a meaningful one. Yes, it would be great to reach the WNIT Final Four and to be able to say, with very little doubt, that Virginia really did deserve to make the NCAA Tournament (I'm lookin' at you, Seth). But it will be their last chance to see Ryan in action.
If you've never seen Virginia Women's Basketball before, you'll want to see the Wahoo Family in action tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.