The Virginia Cavaliers women’s basketball team opened a day of Blue-White scrimmages at John Paul Jones Arena on Saturday and kicked off year two of the Coach Mox era.
Here are the two teams the Cavaliers rolled out for the scrimmage:
White squad starters: Taylor Lauterbach, Camryn Taylor, Yonta Vaughn, Alexia Smith, Jillian Brown
Blue squad starters: London Clarkson, Edessa Noyan, Cady Pauley, Kymora Johnson, Paris Clark
The Blue squad featured a much younger group, with graduate London Clarkson playing alongside two freshmen and two sophomores. And notably, the Blue team earned a 34-24 win, showcasing the much improved depth and plethora of young talent on this year’s roster.
Here are three takeaways from a fun afternoon of UVA women’s hoops.
Kymora Johnson is the real deal
The ‘Hoos highly touted 5-star recruit, Kymora Johnson, showed why she was a McDonald’s All-American last year. The 5’7 Charlottesville native played point guard for the Blue squad and looked extremely comfortable in her first collegiate experience. She handled the ball well, scored an efficient 10 points, and was dropping dimes throughout the scrimmage. Johnson looked especially good in transition, converting on a couple coast-to-coast opportunities and finding open teammates on the break.
Johnson had a few too many turnovers but was a key factor in the much younger Blue squad’s commanding win and made a strong case to be Virginia’s starting PG when the regular season gets underway in November.
Unfortunately, the Wahoos’ other highly recruited prospect, Olivia McGhee, went down early in the first quarter with an injury. The 4-star from Louisa, VA, appeared to be in a lot of pain before going to the locker room. She later returned to the bench on crutches and with an ice pack on her left knee.
Virginia needs Sam Brunelle and Mir McLean to get healthy
Two of Virginia’s top-three leading scorers from last season, graduate student Sam Brunelle and senior Mir McLean weren’t in uniform for the Blue-White Scrimmage Saturday as they continue to recover from injuries suffered last season. Without the pair on the floor, Virginia’s offense looked a little sloppy early in the scrimmage.
Over four and a half minutes into the first quarter the score was just 2-0 and both sides were struggling with turnovers. The offense picked up a lot in the second quarter as everyone got over their early jitters, but neither team was able to establish much of an inside presence.
McLean and Brunelle figure to make up two-thirds of the Cavaliers’ starting front court along with fifth year Camryn Taylor — Virginia’s leading scorer last season. Taylor was in uniform Saturday and picked up right where she left off last season, scoring 12 of the White squad’s 24 points.
Cady Pauley is a threat from beyond the arc
Virginia’s sophomore guard from Milan, MO., poured in 10 points for the white team. Pauley hit two three-pointers in the scrimmage — a clean step-back in the first half and a deep triple in the second half — and converted on a pair of transition layups.
Pauley proved herself to be a three-point threat last season, but her overall percentages weren’t great. If she can start hitting more consistently this year, as she did in the Blue-White scrimmage, Pauley could be an elite long-range weapon for the ‘Hoos offense this year.