CHARLOTTESVILLE - The Virginia women's basketball team rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit to defeat visiting James Madison, 59-53, Tuesday (Dec. 20) at John Paul Jones Arena. Sophomore guard Ataira Franklin (Bowie, Md.) finished with a career-high 22 points to lead the Cavaliers.
With the win, Virginia improved to 10-2 overall and 7-0 at home this season. The victory also snapped a two-game JMU win streak in the series as the Cavaliers avenged two-point losses in 2009 and 2010.
James Madison's record went to 7-2 overall with the loss.
For just the third time this season, Virginia trailed at halftime. The Dukes got off to a fast start, scoring the game's first seven points which prompted a timeout by Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle.
The Cavaliers battled back and went on an 8-0 run of their own and took the lead on a Chelsea Shine (Wayne, Pa.) lay-up with 14:24 left in the stanza that made the score 8-7.
After trading baskets and the score 13-12 in favor of JMU at the 10:58 mark, the Dukes used a 5-0 run to take an 18-12 lead. That six-point margin lasted until the waning seconds of the first half, when Lauren Whitehurst's put-back with time expiring extended JMU's lead to 30-22 at the break.
In the second half, JMU extended its lead to 12 points at the 17:18 mark on a lay-up by Jasmine Gill that made the score 36-24 in favor of the Dukes.
Virginia chipped away at the lead, eventually tying the score, 48-48, on a lay-up by Telia McCall (Marietta, Ga.) with 5:47 left. The score would be tied twice more, including the final tie at 53-53 with 2:42 left in the game.
From there, Virginia scored the contest's final six points - a jumper by Franklin, a lay-up by McCall and two free throws by Ariana Moorer (Woodbridge, Va.) - to earn the 59-53 victory.
It was the seventh-consecutive opponent that Virginia has held to less than 60 points this season.
Shine finished with 12 points and a team-high tying eight rebounds, while Moorer extended her double-digit scoring streak to 10 games with 12 points and eight boards.
The Cavaliers are back in action when they host the Marriott Cavalier Classic on Dec. 28 and 29 at John Paul Jones Arena. The schedule is as follows: Elon vs. UMass (Dec. 28, 4:30 p.m.), Virginia vs. Wagner (Dec. 28, 7 p.m.), Elon or UMass vs. Wagner (Dec. 29, 4:30 p.m.), Elon or UMass vs. Virginia (Dec. 29, 7 p.m.).
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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