Winston-Salem, NC - The Wake Forest Deacons welcomed the Virginia Cavaliers to LJVM Coliseum on Sunday afternoon as both teams fought to prove themselves after both suffered severe losses on January 7th.
Virginia is now 12-5, taking the win over the Deacons 52-50. The Cavaliers continue to dominate the 2015-16 season. The win against Wake Forest marked the second of three ACC wins for the Cavaliers. Wake Forest drops to 9-7 and remains 0-3 in the ACC.
"I thought our defense was really good today. I thought we did a great job of contesting and getting out, all except for the fouling. We controlled the boards from tip to finish. I just thought the fouling was the difference. Their last four points were free throws," Wake Forest coach Jen Hoover reviewed stats post-game.
It was time for Virginia guard Aliyah Huland El to rise up when announced that projected starter and all-ACC Guard Faith Randolph is out for six weeks with a broken thumb.
With that being said, Virginia came out ready to attack and immediately showed up powerful on defense. It didn't take long for the Demon Deacons to catch up as Amber Campbell took it all the way down the court, not once, but twice to get Wake Forest on the board with four.
The second period was a three-point show for Wake Forest's Campbell sinking in back-to-back three's, and Elisa Penna contributed three. Virginia was blown away at the Demon Deacons' efforts to show up; they couldn't seem to stay on their feet. The Demon Deacons quickly found themselves in foul trouble, allowing the Cavaliers the chance to creep up through free-throw shots.
"Foul trouble crippled them early; it was an emphasis for us to try to get them into foul trouble as well. The difference is they shot 8% from the free-throw line, and we shot 44% from the free-throw line. That is the difference in the game," stated Hoover.
The first half was quite an upset with Wake Forest leading 29-28 at the end of the second; a team that, prior to Sunday's matchup, was all-time 5-65 against Virginia.
Virginia threw in the towel during the third period. The Cavalier defense appeared fatigued which allowed Wake Forest to sink in easy shots. A foul on Demon Deacon, Elisa Penna, with only seven-tenths of a second remaining before the fourth, allowed Venson from Virginia to sink in two. Virginia couldn't seem to get moving, allowing Wake Forest to stay in the lead as they entered the fourth, 47-42.
At the start of the fourth, Campbell picked up her third foul and as the leading scorer for this game, Wake could not afford a substitution. With 2:04 remaining in the game, Virginia trailed close behind, 49-48.
A steal allowed the Cavaliers the opportunity for a layup, but it was a missed shot and rebounded by Wake Forest. With 44 seconds remaining, Wake missed a free-throw, and the ball was rebounded by Virginia. Mikayla Venson was sent to the line with two shots to tie up the game.
What an exciting fourth period as Cavaliers Breyana Mason ended up making the game-winner for Virginia, which was also the Cavaliers' first lead of the game. Virginia took home the win, 52-50.
"You can't just give the ball to somebody 40 times and expect to win the game," Hoover speaks on the turnovers and the free-throws that lost the game for the Demon Deacons.
Both teams will be back for more ACC action on January 14th. Wake Forest will venture to sunny Miami while Virginia will host Louisville at home.