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Five takeaways from UVA women’s basketball’s road win over La Salle

The ‘Hoos had no problem with the Explorers on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of Virginia Athletics

The Virginia Cavaliers took care of La Salle on Sunday afternoon 94-73 inside Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia.

Here are five takeaways from the ‘Hoos dominant victory.

Virginia finally got off to a fast start

Slow starts have plagued the ‘Hoos in the early going this season, but that was not the case against the Explorers on Sunday.

Virginia outscored La Salle 25-16 in the first quarter behind a strong early showing from Paris Clark. The Bronx native had a number of friends and family in attendance and had 8 points in the first four-and-a-half minutes of action to kickstart Virginia’s offense.

Clark, who finished with 12 points and 6 rebounds on Sunday, is averaging 15 points per game over her last three contests and has asserted herself as a go-to option for the Cavaliers after missing the first three games of the season with an ankle sprain.

Virginia’s hot start allowed the ‘Hoos to coast down the stretch in what was one of their most casual wins of the year.

The ‘Hoos were unfazed on the road

The trip to Philadelphia marked Virginia’s first test in a true road game this season, since the Cavaliers’ other two games outside of JPJ came in the form of neutral-site matchups in the Cayman Islands.

Yet Coach Mox’s squad appeared unfazed in their trip to enemy territory. Virginia led by as many as 26 points while shooting 45.8% from the field, forcing 20 Explorer turnovers, and out-rebounding La Salle 43-28.

Freshman Kymora Johnson, in her first collegiate true road game, led the ‘Hoos with 17 points on a perfect 6-for-6 afternoon from the floor, and five other Cavaliers (Camryn Taylor, Sam Brunelle, Paris Clark, London Clarkson, and Jillian Brown) finished in double figures.

UVA finally gets some good injury luck

The Cavaliers’ two 2023-24 captains, Sam Brunelle and London Clarkson, each left Thursday night’s OT win over Missouri with injuries. Brunelle exited in the second quarter with an apparent foot injury while Clarkson took a shot to the face which forced her to miss the game’s final seconds.

Fortunately, neither Brunelle (10 points, 3 rebounds) nor Clarkson (11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) had to miss any time as the pair were right back in uniform against the Explorers. While Clarkson did play with a protective face mask on Sunday, the ‘Hoos finally caught a break on the injury front as both of their veteran leaders were able to get right back on the court.

Virginia can score in bunches

It’s not breaking news by any means, but Sunday was another example that shows this Cavalier squad has the potential to be elite offensively. Despite shooting only 5-for-21 (23.8%) from three-point range, Virginia still managed to hang 94 points on La Salle thanks to their dynamic transition game and plethora of offensive weapons.

The ‘Hoos also filled it up from the free throw line against the Explorers, converting on 23-of-25 attempts (92%) from the charity stripe.

The Coach Mox rebuild continues to amaze

Sunday’s win improved the Cavaliers’ record to 17-2 in non-conference games since the arrival of Coach Mox after the ‘Hoos won just five total games in the two seasons prior.

It’s easy to take for granted an early December win over a mid-major opponent, but it wasn’t long ago that wins were few and far between for Virginia.

Up next, the ‘Hoos host Rider on Wednesday inside JPJ for their last game before a ten-day break for finals.