Saturday, November 26, 2011

Virginia returns to form, handles Hawaii

Six games into the season, this much is clear about Virginia under new coach Joanne Boyle - the Cavaliers have an aggressive zone defense that can suffocate most teams. Now, Texas isn't like most teams, and on Friday, the Longhorns carved these Cavs up. But one day later, Virginia served up what's becoming a quintessential performance for this 2011-12 squad. The final score looks a lot like the 67-41 result the Cavaliers (5-1) posted against High Point, or the 55-38 beatdown they laid on Providence. A lot of the stats are similar, too, including, unfortunately, the 36.2 percent field goal shooting percentage the Cavaliers mustered against Hawaii. So yes, the offense still has a ways to go. But that defense - on most nights - has been something else - Hawaii was held to 24.0-percent shooting.

Ataira Franklin led the Cavaliers with 14 points, Lexie Gerson added 13 and Ariana Moorer had 10 points and 9 rebounds. Virginia also scored 25 points off 23 Hawaii turnovers. Kamilah Jackson led all scorers with 21 points. But Shawna-Lei Kuehu, who committed to Cal when Boyle was the head coach before reversing course and signing with Hawaii, was 0-for-5 from the field with 9 turnovers. Kuehu did have 13 rebounds.

The final game of the Rainbow Wahine Classic pits the Cavaliers against Boyle's former team, California, and her former assistant coach, current Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. Like the Cavaliers, the Golden Bears are 1-1 in this tournament with a victory over Hawaii and a loss to Texas. Cal's setback to the Longhorns was much closer, though - a 61-60 setback in Saturday's second round.

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