Nov. 26, 2005
ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands -
The Virginia women's basketball team captured second place at the Paradise Jam on Saturday with a 69-64 loss to No. 12 Minnesota in the championship game at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports & Fitness Center.
The Cavaliers stand 3-1 on the season, while the Golden Gophers improved to 4-0. Senior Tiffany Sardin (Chicago, Ill.) and sophomore Denesha Kenion (Oxon, Md.) were named to the six-member All-Tournament Team for their stellar play.
"I thought we played extremely hard today," said head coach Debbie Ryan. "There were a couple of stretches where we couldn't put the ball in the basket, and we couldn't get a call. But that's basketball."
In the first half, Virginia took control, going ahead by eight points, 17-9 after three treys from point guard Sharnee Zoll (Marlboro, N.J.). UVa was shooting 46 percent from the field while holding the Gophers to 25 percent shooting. Minnesota came back within one twice and tied the game at 27-27, but never led in the first stanza. UVa held a two-point edge at halftime, 29-27, led by Kenion's 10 points.
In the second half, the Golden Gophers took over the lead, 34-33, with 16:48 to go. Minnesota jumped ahead by as many as three, but the Cavaliers regained the lead, going ahead by three, 53-50 with 6:44 left to play. Then Minnesota held on to win by five.
Zoll paced the Cavaliers with a season-high 16 points, including three buckets from long range. Kenion came off the bench for career-high 13 points, 10 of which she scored in the first half. Sophomore Takisha Granberry (Charlotte, N.C.) added 11 points.
"She's just a great team player," Ryan said of Kenion. "She came in yesterday, played the whole first half and did a great job. Today she had a career-high in the first half. She just had a really solid tournament. She's not even a starter and to make the all-tournament team is just tremendous."
"We just have to learn from this game," said sole senior Sardin. "We definitely have some work to do."
For the Golden Gophers, Liz Podominick netted 18 points, while reserve Jamie Broback added 14 points. Emily Fox chipped in 11 points.
Overall, Minnesota out-rebounded UVa, 39-31. The Cavaliers shot 48 percent 40 (23-58) from the field and 77 percent (13-17) from the line.
"It's been great," Kenion said. "I'm just happy to be here. Rebounding was the big difference (today).
"Rebounding killed us today," Ryan said. "We just didn't do a good job on the boards like we normally do."
In the Third Place game, Alabama (2-2) whipped Nevada (0-4), 76-46.
Virginia returns home on Saturday, Dec. 3 for a 7 p.m. game with Harvard at University Hall.
Paradise Jam Championship Game
1 2 - Final
Virginia (3-1) 29 35 - 64
#12 Minnesota (4-0) 27 42 - 69
Third Place Game 1 2 - Final
Alabama (2-2) 36 40 - 76
Nevada (0-4) 14 32 - 46