Nov. 27, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia women's basketball team (3-2) will be spending Thanksgiving on Grand Bahama Island, competing in the Lucaya Division of the Junkanoo Jam Tournament. Virginia opens the tournament by facing No. 3/4 Tennessee (5-0) on Thursday, Nov. 28 at 2 p.m. The Cavaliers will then take on either Kansas State (2-2) or Southern Methodist (6-0) on Friday, Nov. 29. If the Cavaliers defeat Tennessee, they will play in the championship game on Friday at 8 p.m. The third-place game will be contested on Friday at 5:45 p.m.
Both games will be broadcast live on WINA - 1070 AM with John Freeman calling the action. Live stats will not be available for the games. Scoring updates will be posted on Twitter (@UVaWBBHoops).
This year is the 25th year that the Junkanoo Jam Tournament has been held over the Thanksgiving holiday week in the Bahamas. The Cavaliers are making their third appearance in the tournament and will now have spent eight of the last ten Thanksgiving breaks playing in tournaments in tropical settings, going 10-10 in those games. UVa has a 3-1 record at the Junkanoo Jam, winning the championship in their last appearance in 2009 with an 84-79 victory over Indiana and a 78-66 victory over South Dakota State. Virginia's only loss in the tournament occurred in 2006 with the Cavaliers falling to South Dakota State, 62-55, in the opening game.
The games for both the Cavaliers' Lucaya Division and the Freeport Division will be played at St. George's High School. Florida, Illinois State, Oregon State, and Penn State are playing in the Freeport Division of the Junkanoo Jam with that bracket's championship game being decided on Saturday, Nov. 30.
The game against Tennessee will be the first time this season that Virginia has faced a ranked opponent. Virginia closed out the 2013 season with a 72-60 victory over No. 24 Florida State. Tennessee leads the all-time series, 12-3, with the Lady Vols holding a 3-1 record in neutral-site games. Virginia has won two of the last four meetings between the squads.
The Cavaliers have defeated the Volunteers three times when UT was ranked in the top five. Unranked UVa won in overtime, 69-64, on Nov. 20, 2011 in Charlottesville in Joanne Boyle's first season guiding the team. Ataira Franklin scored 12 points in that game, going 5-of-10 from the field, with two assists and two steals. Lexie Gerson, coming off the bench, scored 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, while also logging five steals.
Virginia defeated No. 4 Tennessee, 79-75, on March 24, 1990 to earn a Final Four berth. UVa defeated No. 5 UT, 83-82, on Nov. 17, 2008 in Knoxville.
Virginia is 1-0 all-time against Southern Methodist with the Cavaliers defeating the Mustangs, 77-68, in a 1998 NCAA Tournament game in Tucson, Ariz. If the two teams meet on Friday, it will be the first time Virginia played a team from the newly-formed American Athletic Conference. If the Cavaliers face Kansas State on Friday, it will be the first time ever playing against the Mustangs.
Virginia is coming off a 68-58 loss at West Virginia on Sunday (Nov. 24). The Cavaliers hit 10 three-pointers in the game, the first time the team had connected on double-digit threes since making a school-record 14 at Rider on Jan. 2, 2008. Senior guard Ataira Franklin (Bowie, Md.) made a career-high six three-pointers on eight attempts, ending the game with 23 points. It was the first 20+ point scoring performance of the season for a Cavalier player. Franklin also had a team-high eight rebounds and added two assists, three steals and blocked two shots.
The Cavaliers went 6-for-16 from the free throw line at West Virginia, shooting 37.5 percent. They were 1-of-7 in the second half of the game after starting 5-for-9. The 37.5 percent shooting was the first time since 2006 that the team shot less than 40 percent in a game from the stripe. On Nov. 24, 2006 at the Junkanoo Jam, the Cavaliers were 3-of-12 (25.0 percent) in a loss to South Dakota State. The team is shooting 66.9 percent for the season and has three players shooting 70.0 percent or better, including freshman forward Sydney Umeri (Acworth, Ga.) who is 8-of-11 from the stripe in her rookie campaign.
After averaging 4.0 points per game in her first two games, Franklin has averaged 17.0 ppg in the last three games. Franklin averaged 14.3 ppg last season. Franklin has moved up to second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.8 ppg. She is also second on the team in rebounding with 4.8 rpg.
Redshirt senior guard Lexie Gerson (Fort Washington, Pa.) was the only other Cavalier in double figures, scoring 10 points with seven rebounds and three assists.
Franklin has moved up to second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.8 ppg. She is also second on the team in rebounding with 4.8 rpg.
Junior forward Sarah Imovbioh (Abuja, Nigeria) did not have a rebound at West Virginia. It was only the second time in her career she did not grab at least one rebound in a game. She also had zero boards last season against NC State after playing only two minutes in the game.
Freshman forward Amanda Fioravanti (Frederick, Md.) scored six points with five rebounds in nine minutes at West Virginia. She had a similar scoring efficiency against High Point, scoring six points in 10 minutes.
Despite coming off the bench in the last three games, sophomore guard Faith Randolph (Derwood, Md.) continues to lead the team in scoring averaging at 12.4 ppg. Randolph also leads the team in assists with 17.
Randolph has a 1.41 assist-to-turnover ratio. Senior guard Kelsey Wolfe (Germantown, Md.) leads the team at 1.77 (16 assists, nine turnovers).
The Cavaliers will be back at John Paul Jones Arena on Thursday, Dec. 5 for this year's Big Ten/ACC Challenge game against Michigan. This year's Challenge will mark the seventh year of an event that has been extended to 2016. All 12 Big Ten teams and 12 of the 15 ACC teams will participate in the 2013 Challenge.
A year ago, ACC teams combined for a 7-5 mark against its Big Ten counterparts to win its fifth Challenge Title. The ACC owns a 41-27 edge over the Big Ten in the Challenge. The two leagues each earned six wins in 2011 to mark the only tie in Challenge history.
Overall, since the 2000 season, the two conferences have squared off in head-to-head competition on 152 occasions with the ACC holding an 82-70 advanta