March 4, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia women's basketball team (13-16, 6-10 ACC) opens the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Women's Basketball Tournament by taking on Boston College (12-18, 3-13 ACC) on Wednesday, March 5 at 3:30 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C., the 15th-consecutive year the tournament has been held at the venue.
The winner will advance to the second round, taking on seventh-seeded Georgia Tech on Thursday, March 6 at 6 p.m. The winner of the Georgia Tech contest will advance to face second-seeded Duke in the quarterfinals on Friday, March 7 at 6 p.m.
The ACC has announced that the first-round games will be part of "Wear Pink Wednesday" to honor those in the community who have been touched by cancer. Participating organizations include the Alight Foundation, Guideposts of Strength, Sisters Network, Kay Yow Cancer Fund and Earlier.org, a partner of the ACC Women's Basketball Tournament. Competing teams will be wearing pink jerseys. Fans in attendance are also encouraged to wear pink.
All 14 games of this year's tournament are set to be televised. The first, second and quarterfinal rounds will be carried by the league's regional sports network, RSN. Both of Saturday evening's semifinal games will be carried nationally by ESPNU, while a national audience will watch Sunday's championship game via ESPN. All games will also be available via ESPN3 and WatchESPN.
Virginia's tournament games will also be carried on the radio on WINA 1070-AM with John Freeman, Larry Johnson and Myron Ripley calling the action.
Virginia finished conference play with an 82-70 loss at Florida State. The Cavaliers and the Seminoles went into the game in a tie for ninth place in the standings. The loss gave the Cavaliers their lowest-ever seeding in the tournament, though it is also the first year that the tournament has 15 teams competing in the championship. UVa's 6-10 conference record matches its mark in the 2003-04 season when the squad finished seventh in the ACC. Virginia also finished the 2012-13 campaign with 10 losses, finishing that 18-game conference slate with a sixth-place standing.
Boston College ended the year tied with Pitt in 14th place, but garnered the lowest seed by virtue of a 67-65 loss in Pittsburgh on Jan. 30.
This will be the third-straight year that Virginia will open the ACC Tournament by facing Boston College. Two years ago, the Cavaliers downed the Eagles, 72-41, to advance to face Maryland in the quarterfinals. Last season, BC upset UVa, 66-57, in the first round.
Boston College has won the last three meetings between the two including the Eagles' 69-65 victory this season in Newton, Mass.
Boston College has lost six straight games heading into the tournament and the victory over UVa is its only win in the last 12 games. Virginia has dropped its last four contests and lost six of its last seven games with the 80-64 victory over Virginia Tech the only win since Feb. 6.
The Cavaliers have advanced to the ACC Championship game six times in program history, winning the tournament in 1990, 1992 and 1993, with Virginia's last appearance in the finals coming in 1994. Virginia is 4-3 in first-round games and 20-11 in the quarterfinals.
Boston College is making 7.8 three-pointers per game while Virginia is making 5.3. The Cavaliers has a +4.9 turnover margin while the Eagles are -2.4. UVa averages 70.0 points per game and the Eagles are averaging 66.2.
Redshirt senior guard Lexie Gerson (Fort Washington, Pa.) led the Cavaliers with 15 points against Florida State. Gerson has hit at least one three-pointer in 12 of the last 13 games, including a span of 11-straight that was snapped by an 0-of-2 performance against Miami. Gerson was 1-of-4 from three-point range against Florida State, but also hit two jumpers from just inside the arc against the Seminoles.
Junior center Sarah Imovbioh (Abuja, Nigeria) scored 13 points with nine rebounds at Florida State, just missing her 10th double-double of the season. Imovbioh's last double-double was an 11-point, 12-rebound performance against North Carolina. In the last five games, Imovbioh has had the UNC double-double and come close three other times (including the FSU game) with 19 points and nine rebounds against Virginia Tech and 12 points and eight rebounds vs. Miami.
Senior guard Ataira Franklin (Bowie, Md.) has scored in double-digits in each of the last 12 games, beginning with an 18-point performance against Florida State in the first meeting of the year on Jan. 19 and including scoring a team-high 17 points against Miami, averaging 15.2 ppg over that span. Franklin has hit at least one three-pointer in each of the last eight games, making more than one trey in seven of those contests including going 2-of-5 at Florida State on Sunday.