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Virginia Captures Cavalier Classic Title

Monica Wright, courtesy UVa Media RelationsThere's certainly no shocking story here, as Virginia captured its 21st Cavalier Classic Crown, in its 24 years of existence. Virginia handled Samford 69-60 on Monday night and Liberty 63-54, in an extremely tight match, on Tuesday night. Monica Wright came away from the tournament tying for second all-time leading scorer at Virginia. The Virginia releases after the jump.

Marriott Cavalier Classic Most Valuable Player Monica Wright (Woodbridge, Va.) scored 19 points and tied a school-record with 10 steals to lead the Virginia women's basketball team to the tournament title with a 63-54 win over in-state foe Liberty Tuesday night.

The senior guard moved into a tie for second place on Virginia's all-time scoring list, and now has 2,058 points for her career. Heather Burge (1990-93) finished her career with 2,058 points, while UVa's all-time leading scorer Dawn Staley (1989-1992) scored 2,135 points over 131 games as a Cavalier.

Wright is now 78 points away from breaking Staley's scoring record. She was joined on the all-tournament team by China Crosby (New York, N.Y.), Virginia's freshman point guard who finished with nine points, four assists and two steals vs. the Flames.

Virginia (9-3) won its sixth-consecutive Cavalier Classic title and has now won 21 of the 24 Cavalier Classic team titles since the tournament began in 1976.

Liberty (7-3) was previously unbeaten in John Paul Jones Arena, having defeated the Cavaliers in 2006 and Cornell in the first game of the tournament on Monday (Dec. 28).

Virginia was able to improve its all-time record against the Flames to 7-2, however, with a strong team effort and a late second-half run that put the game away.

Telia McCall (Marietta, Ga.) finished with a career-high 14 points, and scored nine in the second half.

The Cavaliers led, 33-29, at halftime but Liberty began the second stanza on a 12-4 run that made the score 41-37 in the Flames' favor at the 14:40 mark. Ariana Moorer (Woodbridge, Va.) hit a key 3-pointer and Wright followed up with a jumpshot to give the Cavs back the lead, 42-41, with 12:55 left in the game.

After trading baskets, Virginia eventually took the lead for good on a jumper by McCall that made the score 44-43 with 10:35 left in the game. From there, Virginia used a 7-2 run to take a six-point lead on two free throws by McCall that made the score 51-45 with 8:09 left.

Liberty never got closer than that six-point margin down the stretch and the Cavaliers won by a final score of 63-54.

Simone Egwu (Odenton, Md.) had six points and three points for Virginia, while Chelsea Shine (Wayne, Pa.) added five points and four rebounds.

Wright's 10 steals tied the school record, set by both Donna Holt (Jan. 28, 1986 vs. Maryland) and Dawn Staley (Nov. 20, 1991 vs. Temple).

All-tournament team member Avery Warley led Liberty with 12 points and eight boards.

In the consolation game of the Marriott Cavalier Classic, Samford defeated Cornell, 62-46.

Virginia will ring in 2010 in Boulder, Colo., where it takes on Colorado on Jan. 2. The game begins at 3:30 p.m. (Mountain Time) and will be televised live by Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain.

Courtesy VirginiaSports.com