Thursday, March 24, 2011

WNIT - Ryan, Virginia try to keep it going against BC

Stumbled across this ESPN commercial the other day, a vivid reminder that while folks can quibble about Virginia coach Debbie Ryan's recent results, no one can accuse her of no longer having fire in her belly.

The Cavaliers will try to extend the tenure of Ryan, who has announced she will step down after this season, for at least one more game when ACC foe Boston College (20-12) visits John Paul Jones Arena Thursday at 7 p.m. in the third round of the WNIT.

A little over a month ago, these teams also met at JPJ and the Eagles rolled 73-50. We're not sure what to make of that score, though. Virginia didn't score a point in the first 9:41 and fell behind 20-0 - against an Eagles team that ranked 11th in the 12-team ACC in scoring defense. We're not guaranteeing Virginia will win the rematch, but we're sure Thursday's game won't play out like that first meeting.

Through two WNIT games, Virginia (18-15) has used the offense-by-committee approach that has marked its most successful outings in 2010-11. Ariana Moorer, Chelsea Shine and Ataira Franklin all scored 14 points in Sunday's 71-49 victory over Loyola (Md.). And in last week's 69-56 win over Morgan State, the Cavaliers' individual point totals were - no kidding - 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2 (by 3 players).

The Virginia-BC winner will meet Thursday's Charlotte-Florida winner in the quarterfinals on Saturday, Sunday or Monday. That game could also be played at JPJ; the WNIT determines the site after the matchup is set. According to Jay Jenkins of the (Charlottesville) Daily Progress, if the Cavaliers do host the quarterfinal that would be the final game for Ryan at JPJ as the arena has scheduling conflicts over the WNIT's final two rounds.

Of course, for any of this to be an issue - and for Ryan to continue manning the Virginia sideline - the Cavs must take care of business against BC Thursday night.

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