The ‘Canes headed into their 5th ACC game against Virginia coming off of a significant 82-68 win over Boston College.
Yet, the momentum from the success against BC was not carried through the game against Virginia. The ‘Canes fell 77-65 over their conference opponent on Sunday at the Bank United Center.
“We lost to a very good team, a team that is coming into their own,” Head Coach Katie Meier said. “They’re a really dangerous team and I think the ACC better watch out for Virginia.”
Forward Tamara James was held to 15 points by Virginia’s stellar defense. UVA’s players were relentless in their coverage of the ‘Canes primary scorer. In the first half, James only managed to make one basket on 1-for-7 shooting.
“We really respect what a great player [James] is,” Virginia Head Coach Debbie Ryan said. “We had to change things up to keep her from getting the shot.”
Guard Renee Taylor stepped her game up against the Cavaliers, making herself an offensive threat in response to James being held in check. She led the Hurricanes in scoring, racking up 21 points.
Throughout the first half of the game, the game remained a close struggle between the two evenly matched teams. The Cavaliers ended the first half in the lead after a jump shot by guard Brenna McGuire, closing the period on top 30-29.
McGuire, who has only averaged six points per game throughout the season, was the leading scorer for Virginia with 22 points.
“I was due for a game like this,” McGuire said.
The Hurricanes came back for the second half seeming to have regained their stride. They began to take possession of the ball and subsequently the game, building a five-point lead at 42-37.
The edge only lasted a few plays before Virginia’s defensive game began to dominate once again. A turnover by the ‘Canes gave center Siedah Williams the opportunity to make a two-point shot and take the lead.
“In the second half, I think my team got a little bit upset and out of sync,” Meier said. “They could not get their emotions back together to retain the game plan.”
The Hurricanes continued to struggle but were unable to close the gap against their opponent despite the quickness of Taylor and many attempts at the goal by James.
“I don’t think there is a quick little band-aid [for our problem],” Meier said. “We have to work through some things and understanding our roles on the team. We need to focus on making Miami better.”
Stacey Arnold can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.