Friday, January 28, 2011

UVa. visits UNC; Garrison's resurgence paces Longwood

Friday's games

Virginia (12-9, 1-4 ACC) at No. 15 North Carolina (17-3, 3-2 ACC), 6:30 p.m. TV (check local listings)
A week ago, we were concerned about a possible hangover after the Cavaliers' heartbreaking overtime loss to Maryland. Instead, the Cavs responded less than two days later by opening up a can o' whup-ass on shell-shocked Virginia Tech. Now it's the Tar Heels' turn to respond - they're just 3-3 in their last 6 games and are coming off Sunday's nationally televised 23-point loss at Maryland. The Tar Heels played that game - and will likely play this one - without senior Jessica Breland, who had arthroscopic knee surgery last week. Breland's expected absence should help Virginia hold their own on the boards, something we think is a must for the Cavaliers to stay competitive. In addition, the Cavs must transition quickly to defense when they turn the ball over. The Tar Heels are going to get some steals; they had 17 of them against Maryland. But they scored only 9 points off Terrapin turnovers. That's the number to keep track of tonight. ACC road wins are especially hard to come by. But if UNC's points-off-turnover count is anywhere near that low again, the Cavaliers can give themselves a chance against the shorthanded Tar Heels. Call us crazy, but...  Virginia 75, UNC 72

By the way, the Tar Heels will retire the number (42) of former star Nikki Teasley during halftime tonight. I remember watching the incredible things Teasley could do with a basketball during a practice at her high school, St. John's at Prospect Hall. I left that practice thinking Teasley may have been the most talented player I'd ever seen. Turns out I wasn't the only one who felt that way.

"She could do more things with a basketball than any player I've ever coached, male or female," says Stu Vetter, who coached St. John's nationally prominent boys' team when Nikki was there. During clinics Nikki would perform a ball-handling drill in which she walked the length of the court with two basketballs, simultaneously dribbling them through her legs, right hand to right hand, left hand to left, back to front. "Picture that," says Vetter. "It was mind-boggling to watch. The guys would be on the side of the court slapping hands, going nuts."

Teasley went on to set a number of UNC records, and her career assist total (5.8) is the highest in ACC history. She also sat of seven games during the 1999-2000 season and missed all of 2000-01 while battling depression. Ironically, it was prior to boarding a bus for a game against Virginia in January, 2000 that Teasley first disclosed to coach Sylvia Hatchell that she needed some time away.

Davidson (8-10) at Longwood (4-13), 7 p.m. (
Click here to watch)
Monday's 76-66 victory over UNC Asheville was another showcase for the triumphant return of senior Krystal Garrison, who appeared in 81 games her first three seasons but was not with the team at the beginning of 2010-11. Garrison re-joined the Lancers shortly after Bill Reinson was installed as interim head coach, and it took her a while to get her basketball legs back. But in the six games since she became a starter, Garrison is averaging 15.5 ppg including a career-high 25 points against UNC Asheville. She is also shooting 46.1 percent from 3-point range (12 of 26) over those six games. The Lancers are 2-2 at home under Reinson and should have extra support as tonight is also the "Pack the House Dorm Challenge." Residence halls on campus will compete to have the most folks in attendance. The Lancers must also do something about Davidson star Sophia Aleksandravicius (17.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 3.3 bpg). Longwood 71, Davidson 65

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