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Virginia Women’s Basketball finishes non-conference schedule on three-game win streak

Hoos are now 7-6 overall as they prepare for the ACC schedule.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Virginia at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Women’s Basketball team will enter their conference schedule with a little momentum as the Hoos have won three straight games. Their non-conference schedule was a little bit of a roller coaster for the Cavaliers, but they enter the 2017-18 ACC schedule with a 7-6 overall record.

Virginia started off the season on a down note as the Cavaliers got off to a 3-5 start in the month of November. In their season opener, the Hoos fell on the road to No. 7 Mississippi State, 68-53. They followed up that loss with an absolute drubbing (103-59) of Central Connecticut, led by Jocelyn Willoughby’s 19 points. Losses to Georgia and Dayton followed before back to back wins over Hampton and Harvard, the latter of which was played as part of the Cavalier Classic. Coach Boyle’s squad was unable to capture the Cavalier Classic title, however, falling to Duquesne in the finale.

In the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the Hoos drew #15 Maryland. Virginia fought admirably, climbing back into the game after being down 12 points, but were unable to convert on their final possession to get the win and fell 60-59.

A win over UNC-Greensboro and a loss to Rutgers followed with the West Palm Invitational next on the schedule for the Hoos. In their first game of the invitational, Virginia defeated Ohio, 77-59, after a 21-0 Cavalanche in the second half put the game away. In their second game, the Cavaliers evened their record at 6-6 with an 82-72 overtime win over Indiana.

Virginia defeated Manhattan 69-47 last night (December 21) to close out their non-conference schedule and push the to their current 7-6 record.

After the game, Coach Boyle discussed the team’s growth and ability to overcome injury, saying:

I don’t think any coach would ever say that they have arrived. I like the growth that we’ve had. I said in the locker room that, for me, with this particular team, we need to see if the effort is there every day and are the details getting better. We’ve been really tested in non-conference. We’ve played a lot of really good teams. And we have had some injuries that we’ve had to battle through. I’ve been proud of the girls because even the games where we’ve had five and six people, we’ve been battling.

On the season, the Hoos are led by Dominique Toussaint and Willoughby, who are averaging 11.4 and 11.2 points per game, respectively. Second year Felicia Aiyeotan has a team leading 7.3 rebounds per game.

As a team, Virginia is shooting 42% from the field and 37% from three and holding opponents to 58.6 points per game.

Last year, Virginia just missed out on the NCAA tournament, considered one of the snubs, and ended their year with a loss to James Madison. The ladies didn’t pick up a signature win the the non-conference, but will have plenty of opportunities to make noise against ACC foes Notre Dame (#2), Louisville (#3), Florida State (#13), and Duke (#14). Conference play starts Thursday at 7pm in Charlottesville as the Cavaliers welcome Pitt (7-5).