Tina Thompson and the Virginia Women’s Basketball picked up a big home win on Sunday afternoon as the Cavaliers dominated Notre Dame 90-60. The win broke an 8-game skid against the Irish and was the first win over ND since January 4, 1988. It was Virginia’s first win over Notre Dame in ACC play (seven games), and the Cavaliers improved to 8-12 (3-6 ACC) with the victory.
Virginia led from tip to tail, taking a 7-0 lead right out of the gate and building a 24-point lead by halftime. The Hoos squashed any thoughts of a long-shot comeback as they held Notre Dame to 1-for-17 (5.6%) shooting and just eight points in the third quarter. The 90 points scored by Virginia are the most by the Cavaliers this season, and tied for first for points scored in a game in ACC play this season (Syracuse and NC State being the other two teams).
Coach Thompson was impressed with the play of a trio of first years — Carole Miller, Shemera Williams, and Kylie Kornegay-Lucas — in the win. “It’s our goal going into every single game to play a complete game. I can’t say enough about how our first-year kids played today,” Thompson stated in the post game interview. “We played with a lot of confidence and also aggression. It’s what we expect of them. They’re in an abnormal circumstance in regard to the fact they’ve been thrown into the fire immediately and we expect so much of them right away.”
Four players hit double digit-scoring for Virginia, led by Miller with 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting. Jocelyn Willoughby (17 points), Williams (15 points), and Dominique Toussaint (14 points) also hit double figures in the scoring column. Kornegay-Lucas notched a double-double with 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the win.
As a team, Virginia shot 47% from the field and 38% from three for the game.
⚔️Biggest margin of victory this year— Virginia Women's Basketball (@UVAWomensHoops) January 27, 2020
⚔️Most points scored this year
⚔️Four players in double figures, led by a season-high 18 from Carole Miller
⚔️ Kylie Kornegay-Lucas with 10 assists, 11 rebounds
“It felt really good because it has felt like I have not been playing the best that I could, personally,” Miller said of her performance. “When you have people around you telling you, ‘You can score, you can do this, you can do that’ but it takes you to go out and do it. In this game I just felt it and I had in my head that they can’t guard me.”
Defensively, Virginia hounded the Irish, holding them to 32% shooting from the field (24% from three) and forcing 22 turnovers.
“I thought Virginia played really well,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said after the game. “They made a ton of shots and credit our defense to that. We gave them a lot of easy looks and they took advantage of it. We looked like a young team today.”
The Irish, which won the NCAA tournament in 2018 and fell in the title game in 2019, have struggled this season. Notre Dame fell to 7-13 (2-7 ACC) with the loss and have eight underclassmen on the roster. Ruckersville, VA native Sam Brunelle led the Irish with 21 points.
Next up, Virginia travels to Chapel Hill to face UNC on Thursday.