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Four takeaways from UVA women’s basketball’s emotional OT win over Missouri

How the ‘Hoos used another late surge to improve to 5-2.

Photo courtesy of Virginia Athletics

The Virginia Cavaliers improved to 5-2 on Thursday night with an 87-81 overtime win over Missouri inside John Paul Jones Arena.

Here are four takeaways from the ‘Hoos gutsy victory over the Tigers.

Coach Mox’s commitment to her team is undeniable

Before the game on Thursday, Coach Mox tragically learned that her father, Lambert Agugua, had passed away unexpectedly. After considering stepping away from the game, Coach Mox ultimately decided to be with the team against Missouri.

“I didn’t know how I was going to [coach],” Coach Mox said, “but I knew I wanted to do it, because that’s how much I care about this group of people, and I just didn’t want to let them down.”

It had to be a difficult night for Coach Mox, but there’s no doubt her team was uplifted by their coach’s showing of dedication and selflessness. We extend our sincere condolences to Coach Mox and her family during this heartbreaking time.

The ‘Hoos don’t quit

Two prevailing themes have stuck for the ‘Hoos through seven games so far this season: slow starts and strong finishes. That was once again the case on Thursday against the Tigers as Virginia fell behind by as many as 15 points early in the second quarter.

Virginia struggled from the floor in the first quarter, shooting just 5-of-21 overall and 1-of-10 from beyond the arc. Fortunately, they were once again able to hit their stride on both ends of the floor as the game went on, outscoring Missouri 15-10 in the second quarter and 27-13 in the third.

London Clarkson (17 points, 7 rebounds) catalyzed the Virginia offense late in the first half, dropping 6 points on perfect shooting from the floor as the ‘Hoos chipped into the Tigers’ lead heading into the break.

Coming out of halftime, the offensive contributions of Camryn Taylor (26 points, 9 rebounds) and Paris Clark (14 points, 2 steals, 2 blocks) really turned the tide as the duo combined for 26 of the Cavaliers’ 27 third-quarter points.

The injury bug struck again

The ‘Hoos were without four players to start the season due to injuries — Mir McLean, Sam Brunelle, Kaydan Lawson, and Paris Clark — but had gotten everyone except McLean back in action during the last few weeks.

Unfortunately, some new injuries popped up for the Cavaliers on Thursday, continuing the trend of brutal injury luck over the past two season. Sam Brunelle left the game in the second quarter with what appeared to be a foot injury and did not return. Then, with just 23 seconds left in overtime, London Clarkson was hit in the head and had to leave the game.

It’s too early to tell if Virginia’s two captains will miss time. Hopefully they can make swift returns to the court. If not, Virginia’s depth will once again be tested.

UVA dominated in the paint

On a night when the outside shots weren’t falling (the ‘Hoos went 5-for-22 from three), Virginia was able to go to work inside, outscoring Missouri 44-32 in the paint.

The Cavaliers’ two best interior scorers, Camryn Taylor and London Clarkson, were at the forefront of the post attack, as the pair combined for 43 points. Both were very efficient from the field, shooting a combined 60%. On top of that, both got to the free throw line with consistency where they combined to make 13-of-15 attempts.

Virginia has been a very streaky three-point shooting team so far this season, but once again the ‘Hoos demonstrated that they can win games in a variety of ways. On Thursday it was the post attack of Taylor and Clarkson.