Dec. 27, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia women's basketball team (5-6) closes out the non-conference portion of the schedule by hosting the 2013 Cavalier Classic Presented by Holiday Inn University Area. Princeton (7-4) will take on Alabama (6-5) on Saturday, Dec. 28 at 12 p.m. in the first game of the tournament with Coppin State (4-6) taking on Virginia at 2:30 p.m. in the second game of the day.
On Sunday, Dec. 29, the winners of Saturday's games will face one another and the losers will also play each other. The game times are set with Virginia playing at 2:30, whether it be in the championship game or the consolation final. Coppin State will be the home team in the 12 p.m contest.
The Virginia games will air live on the radio on WINA 1070-AM and will have audio and video streams available on VirginiaSports.com as part of the All-Access streaming package.
Virginia has captured 23 of the 27 Cavalier Classic team titles since the tournament began in 1976 and has won the championship each of the last nine years. At the conclusion of the tournament, a six-player All-Tournament team will be announced as including the tournament MVP.
Virginia is 2-0 all-time against Coppin State including a 54-44 victory over the Eagles last season at JPJ. For Coppin State, this will be the fourth Atlantic Coast Conference team it will face this season. The Eagles have outrebounded their last two opponents, Miami and American. Against American, Coppin State's Kyra Coleman, Larrisa Carter, Janelle Lane and Bria Harris all finished with at least eight rebounds. Coppin State is led in scoring by its senior triumvirate of Coleman (15.3 points per game), Carter (13.3) and Ashle Craig (10.4).
The Cavaliers and the Crimson Tide also played one another last season with the game in Tuscaloosa going to double overtime with Alabama pulling out a 73-70 victory. Virginia holds a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series. Alabama enters this weekend's action riding a three-game winning streak. Three Crimson Tide players are averaging double figures in: Shafontaye Myers (15.0), Daisha Simmons (14.0) and Ashley Williams (10.1). Simmons is also the squad's rebounding leader with 6.4 per game.
Virginia and Princeton have not faced each other since 1978 when UVa earned an 85-56 victory. Princeton has won five of its last six games, including its last four consecutive. The Tigers have scored 80 points or more in four games this year and are averaging 75.5 points per game, leading the Ivy League in that and five other statistical categories. Three of Princeton's starting five have averaged double figure scoring numbers. Led by Blake Dietrick's 14.6, Kristen Helmstetter (12.4) and Michelle Miller (10.0) round out the Tigers' top scorers. Princeton currently ranks No. 31 in the latest RPI rankings.
Right before breaking for Christmas, the Cavaliers went 1-1 in the FGCU Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites Classic, falling 79-72 to Tulane in overtime and defeating host-school Florida Gulf Coast 85-56 in the finale. The Cavaliers erased 20-point and 8-point deficits against Tulane, but could not sustain a one-point lead in the final 19 seconds of regulation. The Green Wave outscored UVa 14-7 in OT.
Senior guard Lexie Gerson (Fort Washington, Pa.) scored 18 points against Tulane, including scoring 13 during Virginia's first comeback, going 4-of-5 from three-point range.
Junior center Sarah Imovbioh (Abuja, Nigeria) recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds against the Green Wave.
Senior guard Ataira Franklin (Bowie, Md.) had a team-high 22 points with four rebounds, four assists and three steals in the Tulane game.
Against FGCU, Virginia made nine consecutive three-point attempts in the first half, finishing the period shooting 90.0 percent (9 of 10) from long range to take a 46-37 lead into the break.
Six different Cavaliers made at least one three-pointer in the game with senior guard Kelsey Wolfe (Germantown, Md.) connecting on 4-of-7. Wolfe finished the game with 14 points, three assists, a rebound and a steal.
Playing in her native South Florida, freshman guard Tiffany Suarez (Miami, Fla.) scored a career-high 13 points at FGCU.
Gerson is averaging 12.0 ppg and 7.3 rpg in the last three games. Gerson just missed logging her first career double-double with a career-high 10 rebounds and nine points against UMES. She scored a season-high 18 points against Tulane including going on a tear to end the first half, making three three-pointers in the final 1:19 of the period. Gerson also blocked two shots in the Tulane game.
Sophomore guard Faith Randolph (Derwood, Md.), who returned to the starting lineup against FGCU, is shooting 57.6 percent from the field in her last three games, going 15-of-26 and 5-of-9 (55.5 percent) from three-point range. Randolph scored a career-best 22 points against UMES, the fifth time this season a Cavalier player has scored 20 or more points in a game. Faith Randolph has had at least one steal in each of the last eight games.
Wolfe scored 20 points with eight assists in the two games of the FGCU Tournament, including making a career-best four three-pointers (in seven attempts) in the finale against FGCU.
By scoring 36 points in the FGCU Tournament, Franklin moved up to 16th on the Virginia career points list. At 1,334 points, she has now passed Monik Foote (1995-99, 1,315), Val Ackerman (1978-81, 1,316) and Telisha Quarles (1999-02, 1323). Franklin needs 66 points to tie Melissa Mahony (1979-82) for 15th on the list. Franklin currently leads the Cavaliers in scoring, averaging 12.9 ppg this season.
The Cavaliers begin conference play on Sunday, Jan. 5 when they host Pitt at 2 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena in the first-ever meeting between the two teams as ACC opponents.