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The Plus/Minus: UVA Women’s Basketball falls just short against Clemson

Early in the 2nd Quarter, Virginia’s London Clarkson was tossed. An already short-handed UVa squad couldn’t keep up with Clemson, falling 79-69.

Virginia Media Relations


Remember the heady days just after the winter exam break, when both the Virginia Cavaliers men’s and women’s basketball teams were the last pair of undefeated teams in the country? Yeah, me neither. Just like the men in falling to Boston College, the women took 16 (!) more shots than the Clemson Tigers, and still were outscored by 10 points. Offensive inefficiency was the rule of the day, as the Cavaliers shot 38% from the floor, 27% from deep, and 55% from the foul line.


Two minutes into the second quarter, Virginia’s London Clarkson and Clemson’s Eno Inyang got tangled up going for high rebound. The refs had signaled for double fouls on each of them, except that Clarkson then swung a haymaker at Inyang. She missed, but the intent was there and Clarkson was summarily ejected for the game. I suspect she’ll miss Sunday’s regular season finale at Miami as well. That just left seven players who could take the floor for UVA.


Since the mid-point of the ACC slate, Cady Pauley has been getting scant minutes of game time. Tonight, forced into service, Pauley played 18 minutes and scored 12 points (a career high) on 4-11 shooting from deep. Virginia was chasing the game since Clarkson’s ejection, and everyone was shooting from deep (Virginia took 33 threes). A lot of them were rushed and ill-advised, but Pauley was easily the most successful from beyond the arc.

She has a gorgeous stroke, one that would befit a 40% three-point shooter, but the adjustment to playing in the big leagues has been steep for Pauley. Her acumen and court awareness are ACC-caliber. Her athleticism is not there quite yet. Pauley absolutely can contribute at this level. Her growth and progression will be the next marker as we learn whether Coach Agugua- Hamilton will be a force in this league.


Tell me that’s not a sweet stroke...


After a statistically strange first quarter in which no fouls were called on either team, the fouls came fast and furious for the depleted Wahoos. Camryn Taylor, again, was in foul trouble. Clarkson was out, Taylor was the last big on the roster, and she really tried to avoid the fouls, but she picked up four fouls in the third quarter — three in just 22 seconds — and she was forced to watch Clemson’s Amari Robinson and Brie Perpignon roll to the basket, largely uncontested.

Granted, one of the fouls was particularly tacky, but she also drew a charge that could have gone either way. On the season, she is averaging a ghastly 5.9 fouls per 40 minutes. That is actually worse than Kadin Shedrick, whose own foul troubles are most responsible for the men’s recent sucky run of play. The women have a very thin margin, and it’s made worse when Taylor’s minutes are circumscribed by foul issues as opposed to tactical matchups. Taylor has fouled out six times in ACC play and had another seven games where she had four fouls.


And yet… stop me if you’ve read this before on these pages, the women gave it all they had. Taylor Valladay, Alexia Smith and Taylor were all staggering and sucking air at points in the second half. Clemson jumped out to 10 and 14 point leads in the third and fourth quarters, and both times Virginia closed to within four. It’s pretty obvious Virginia’s playing for next year, but the never-say-die attitude these women play with has me excited for next year.


Valladay put on a clinic today on how to run a one-woman full-court press. Three times she stole the ball on the in-bounds following a made Virginia bucket. She scored on two of them. Valladay’s engine is easily that of Kyle Guy’s.

Next Up: The women conclude the regular season on Sunday when they travel to Miami to take on the Hurricanes. Game time is noon and the game will be on the ACC Network.