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Five takeaways from UVA women’s basketball’s bounce back win over Fordham

The ‘Hoos three-point barrage propelled them to 8-3.

Photo courtesy of Virginia Athletics

After a disappointing upset loss to Wofford on Saturday, the Virginia Cavaliers responded in a big way on Thursday evening with an 82-56 rout of Fordham inside John Paul Jones Arena. Here are five takeaways from the Cavaliers’ dominant win to conclude their nonconference schedule.

It was a bad night to be the Rams

It was a poorly timed trip to Charlottesville for Fordham, as with the way UVA played on Thursday, there weren’t many teams who could’ve walked into JPJ and came away with a win.

Right from the opening tip the ‘Hoos took out their frustration from Saturday on the Rams, starting the game on an 18-0 run on their way to a 27-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. The energy on both sides of the floor was night and day from their loss to Wofford over the weekend as the ‘Hoos shot 64.3% from the floor and forced ten Fordham turnovers in the opening period.

Overall, Virginia shot 31-of-58 (53.4%) from the floor and scored 36 points in transition while limiting the Rams to 31% shooting and winning the rebounding battle 39-32.

The player’s-only meeting following the Wofford loss and a tough three days of practice clearly did the trick for now as the ‘Hoos looked as locked in as we’ve seen them all year against Fordham.

The ‘Hoos finally figured out their three-point stroke

Poor three-point shooting has unfortunately been a nagging issue for this squad, but that was not the case on Thursday.

Virginia went 12-of-22 (54.5%) from long range against the Rams — their best 3PT% this season — as they logged their second-most makes from beyond the arc in a game this season (behind only the program-record 15 triples they hit against Tulane on November 24th).

After their recent underwhelming shooting numbers, Fordham tried to test the ‘Hoos early on, switching between a matchup and 2-3 zone to make Virginia prove they could hit shots from long range. On Thursday, at least, UVA was quickly able to put that strategy to rest as they hit ten of their twelve threes in the opening half and forced the Rams to start contesting their jump shots.

Teams will continue to make Virginia beat them from beyond the arc until the ‘Hoos can string together a few more solid shooting nights, but Thursday was a much-needed confidence boost for a squad that really needed to see some triples go down.

Kymora Johnson broke out of her mini slump

The freshman phenom had missed her last seven attempts from three-point range coming into the matchup with Fordham but broke out of her slump in a huge way on Thursday.

Johnson finished with a career-high 26 points (10-13 FG, 6-7 3PT), 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals in 35 minutes of action against the Rams.

Kymora has had a lot on her shoulders as a first-year starting point guard yet has largely looked like every bit of the star Virginia fans had been expecting. On the season, Johnson is second on the team at 12.1 points per game and has looked great distributing the ball to open teammates on the break.

After a short cold stretch, it was great to see her break out once again as the ‘Hoos head into conference play.

We can’t have takeaways without an injury update

In what’s become almost a mandatory section of the takeaways, Virginia once again dealt with some injury issues against the Rams.

Yonta Vaughn and Edessa Noyan remained sidelined after missing Saturday’s contest while Sam Brunelle appeared to tweak something in her foot late in the second quarter causing her to head back to the locker room. Luckily, she was able to return to the game briefly in the third quarter before sitting out the fourth while UVA cruised to a win.

Hopefully it was just a scare for Brunelle and UVA can continue trending toward a fully healthy roster heading into 2024.

Time for a do-over on the ten-day break

After the big win over the Rams, Virginia once again embarks on a ten-day break before their next game (Sunday, December 31st vs. No. 3 NC State).

On December 6th, the ‘Hoos beat up on Rider 78-51 and at that point had ten days to prepare for their matchup with Wofford. The hope was to use that break to rest up and hit the ground running after exams, but as we know things didn’t quite go according to plan.

Now, Virginia finds themselves in a similar scheduling situation, only this time the nation’s third ranked team waits at the end of the holiday break.

Thursday’s win seemed like a signifant moment for this group as they came together after a tough loss. Hopefully, this break will allow the squad to continue taking steps in the right direction as they prepare for their toughest test yet on New Year’s Eve and the beginning of their ACC schedule.