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Women's Basketball Falls to Duke in ACC Opener

Coming off a sweep in the 2011 Marriott Cavalier Classic and riding a seven-game winning streak, the Virginia Women's basketball team headed down to Durham tonight to begin ACC play against the seventh-ranked Duke.

Unfortunately for the Cavs, their winning streak was halted by a tough Blue Devils squad, as Duke came away with a 77-66 victory.

Sophomore Ataira Franklin had 19 points on 7-11 shooting, including 3-5 from the three point line. She also pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds. Ariana Moorer added 18 points and went 10 for 10 from the free throw line. They were the only two Cavaliers to score in double-figures.

Senior Chelsea Shine chipped in with eight points, while Simone Egwu, Lexie Gerson and Jazmin Pitts each added 6 points.

The Cavaliers kept it close for the majority of the game before succumbing to a strong Duke offense. Only Texas - back on November 25th in Hawaii - has scored more points on Virginia than the Blue Devils did. It also broke a streak of nine consecutive games holding opponents to under 60 points (I have to wonder if Tony Bennett and Joanne Boyle have some sort of a bet going on about their teams' defensive numbers).

Coach Boyle now has the unfortunate situation of having lost to both her alma mater (Duke) and her previous head coaching stop (California) in the same season. Have to imagine that'll be some motivation for her as the season goes on. Regardless, this team has performed better than I think a lot of people expected and still have a lot of ACC games left to show how good they are.

Ariana Moorer's consistent play this season (I believe she has scored double-figures in 13 consecutive games now) has been especially nice to see. Ataira Franklin has also become a consistent double-figure scoring threat. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of damage they do throughout the rest of conference play.

The Cavaliers (12-3, 0-1 ACC) now come home to face #25 North Carolina on Thursday at 7pm. The Tar Heels (11-2, 1-0 ACC) upset #10 Miami today in Chapel Hill.