The Virginia Women’s Basketball have hit their stride as 2017 closes down, winning five straight games. Their latest win came today on New Year’s Eve as the Hoos (9-6) upset No. 23 Syracuse (12-3, 0-2 ACC), 68-63, to improve to 2-0 in the ACC.
Virginia trailed 17-11 at the end of the first quarter, and Syracuse built their largest lead - nine points - in the second quarter. The Hoos climbed back within four at halftime, down just 36-32 as the two teams headed into intermission.
To start the second half, Virginia went on an 8-2 run to take a 40-38 lead with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter. The two teams traded the lead down the stretch, and the Cavaliers clung to a 59-58 lead with 2:14 left in the game before J’Kyra Brown made a jumper, corralled a rebound off of a Cuse miss, and made a layup to give the home team a 63-58 with 1:05 remaining.
Syracuse fouled with 30 seconds left to attempt to stay in the game, and Aliyah Huland El hit both to give Virginia a six point cushion. Isis Young buried a three for the Orange to make it a one-possession game, but Virginia was able to hold on with a couple more free throws down the stretch.
Huland El led the Cavaliers with 15 points, and Felicia Aiyeotan added a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Brown finished with 12 points as well.
Over the course of the game, the score was tied five times with 12 lead changes (nine of which came in the second half). The Hoos had 15 steals in the game and shot 40% in the game.
Virginia Head Coach Joanne Boyle was thrilled with the result, telling Virginia Sports:
I'm just excited, and am especially excited for the girls. I thought they were really focused and it was a great win for us. We've always had great games against Syracuse, so it's nice to come out on top here at home. It was a great crowd for us today at home and was really good energy from the team.
Check out the full highlights:
Next up, the Hoos will play NC State in Raleigh on Thursday.