Nov. 25, 2005
ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands -
The University of Virginia women's basketball team cruised to a 69-48 win over Alabama in the opening round of the Paradise Jam on Friday afternoon at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports & Fitness Center.
The Cavaliers improved to a perfect 3-0 on the season, while the Crimson Tide fell to 1-2.
Virginia now advances to the Paradise Jam Championship game on Saturday, Nov. 26 against the winner of No. 12 Minnesota vs. Nevada. Tip-off is set for 4:30 p.m. AST.
"I think we were really ready to play today," said head coach Debbie Ryan. "We really wanted to approach this like it was an NCAA Tournament regional, knowing that there are ranked teams here. I was really pleased with our performance, and I thought everyone contributed in every way."
In the first half, Virginia jumped out to a 9-2 lead as sophomore Takisha Granberry (Charlotte, N.C.) scored the team's first six points. Junior Brenna McGuire (Winchester, Mass.) then connected on two long-range buckets. UVa went ahead by as many as 14 points, but led by eight at intermission, 34-26.
In the second half, UVa held Alabama to just three points over the first 10 minutes of play, going ahead by 24 points, 53-29. The Cavaliers held onto its double-digit lead to seal the win.
Freshman Lyndra Littles (Washington, D.C.) came off the bench to lead UVa's balanced scoring attack with 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
"I had to work hard and get in good position," Littles said."I give them everything I can during the minutes I'm in there."
Senior Tiffany Sardin (Chicago, Ill.) and McGuire finished with 12 points each. Granberry added 11 points. Sophomore Denesha Kenion (Oxon, Md.) entered the game early as point guard Sharnee Zoll (Marlboro, N.J.) was called for two early fouls. Kenion recorded six points and a career-high six assists. UVa ended the game with junior walk-on Tara McKnight (Bluffton, S.C.) and four of the five freshmen seeing action.
"I thought Denesha played absolutely brilliant today," Ryan added. "She stayed within herself and didn't try to get outside the normal realm of the offense. She ran our offense. She stayed really solid on defense. She played a great game today, and she deserves all the accolades."
For the Crimson Tide, Lauren Hill was the only player in double figures with 17 points.
Overall, UVa out-rebounded Alabama, 33-32. The Cavaliers shot 48 percent (24-50) from the field.
1 2 - Final
Alabama (1-2) 26 22 - 48
Virginia (3-0) 34 35 - 69