Jan. 23, 2014
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - A four-game stretch against ranked teams that looked to be a problem when Virginia started with losses to No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Duke is now looking as if it could be the turning point of the Cavaliers' season.
Kelsey Wolfe scored 24 points and Ataira Franklin and Faith Randolph each scored 19 Thursday night, and Virginia jumped No. 6 Maryland after halftime and ended the Terrapins' 14-game winning streak with an 86-72 victory.
"We've been playing with a lot of confidence here these last couple of weeks, and they're running with their team right now. They're running it and I'm managing it," Joanne Boyle said, flanked by Franklin and Wolfe, two of her three seniors.
The Cavaliers started their four-game gauntlet with a competitive 79-72 loss to the Fighting Irish, then got run out of Cameron Indoor Stadium, 90-55. It was a game, Boyle said, that taught them all about pace.
Since then, they beat No. 24 Florida State 85-68 and then ended a five-game slide against the Terps.
"We didn't want to get into a track meet with Maryland,"' Boyle said, praising her team's "poise throughout the game."
The Cavaliers (10-9, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed 38-34 at halftime, but scored the first 11 points of the second half to open a 45-38 lead. Five quick points by Alicia DeVaughn pulled the Terps to within 47-45, but Wolfe made a 3-pointer and Lexie Gerson followed a Maryland turnover with a foul-line jumper, pushing the lead back to 52-45 with 14:11 to go.
Maryland got a three-point play from Shatori Walker-Kimbrough to close the gap to four, but the Terps got no closer.
"I just think it shows that we're a resilient team, and we're really starting to come into our own, especially being able to put these two big wins together," Franklin said. "We're starting to show everybody that this is the team we're going to be."
Alyssa Thomas scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds DeVaughn scored 14 for Maryland (16-2, 4-1).
Both teams shot 50 percent from the field, but Virginia had eight 3s, the Terps just four.
Coach Brenda Frese said she was to blame for the loss.
"Sometimes you can get into a falsehood, maybe a fool's gold when you're 4-0 in the conference," she said, "that maybe these games are easier to come by than they really are."
Gerson and Sarah Imovbioh each added 12 points for the Cavaliers.
After the game, Boyle got on the public address microphone and thanked the crowd. It was Virginia's first victory against a top-10 team since they beat No. 3 Tennessee in 2011.
Thomas, whose fourth basket of the first half put her over the 2,000-point mark for her career, was plagued by foul trouble in the second half, but played extensively with four fouls trying to rescue her team. She was 9 for 14 from the field.
The Terps had closed to 55-50 when Imovbioh scored off an inbounds pass triggered with just 3 seconds on the shot clock, and after another Terps turnover, Randolph's jumper gave the Cavaliers their biggest lead to that point at 59-50.
Thomas then scored five in an 8-2 burst that got Maryland within 61-58 with 8:37 to go, but again, the Cavaliers didn't flinch. Franklin drove for a basket and then pulled down a rebound and scored on a stickback to rebuild the lead.
Maryland got no closer than six the rest of the way.