UVA wins border battle in women’s basketball opener

The University of Virginia had 43 rebounds en route to a 66-53 win over the GW women’s basketball team in both squads’ regular-season opener Friday night. The Cavaliers (1-0) took advantage of poor passes and eight missed free throws by the Colonials (0-1) to secure the win. Virginia is 25-4 in season-openers.

“This was not really a normal season opener tonight,” said Virginia coach Debbie Ryan. “This was a tough team. They’re going to do very well in the Atlantic 10. We had a lot of respect for them coming in. I felt like our team was just very ready to play.”

Although both teams shot below 50 percent from the floor (GW shot 38.6 percent compared with the Cavaliers’ 40.7 percent), Virginia made 77.8 percent of their free throws while GW only made a third of theirs.

“It’s embarrassing,” Colonials coach Joe McKeown said of his team’s performance. “It’s embarrassing to be a Division I college player and not make free throws. We started the second half with three straight misses that (if made) maybe bring (the score difference) under 10 and you feel like you get a little momentum going and we just break free throws. I’m embarrassed tonight.”

Sophomore Kim Beck was five-for- eight from the floor and led the team with 13 points. Sophomore Sarah-Jo Lawrence went five-for-12 with 10 points. Senior captain Jessica Simmonds added another nine points while redshirt freshman Lisa Steele had five points in her first official game, including a three-pointer late in the second half.

For the Cavaliers, senior Tiffany Sardin registered her first double-double ever with 12 rebounds and 14 points. Sophomore Takisha Granberry also had 14 points and junior Siedeh Williams 13 points.

The Colonials held the three-point shooting advantage, making 45 percent while the Cavaliers made 30 percent.

Virginia proved to be a very strong team defensively, as GW gave up 20 points off turnovers.

“We usually pride ourselves on being a very strong defensive team,” Ryan said. “I was surprised to see our zone have a little bit of an impact at the end of the game so it was kind of interesting to me.”

GW was out-rebounded 43 to 34, and the Colonials had trouble capitalizing on their 11 offensive rebounds.

“We did a terrible job blocking out Virginia, especially on the offensive glass,” McKeown said.

Despite matching Virginia’s 30 points in the second half, GW could not overcome the 36-23 deficit they faced at halftime. The Cavaliers led by as much as 22 with 12 minutes remaining, while the Colonials trailed the entire game.

“We’re a team that’s in progress,” Ryan said. “We’re very young. We just have a lot of kids who got a lot of experience last year … they’ve just gotten better.”

The team’s effort on the court is one of the largest problems facing the Colonials after this game, McKeown said.

“I see a lot of things that are glaring, mostly in the effort, in the effort that we put on the floor tonight,” he said. “That’s very unlike our teams over the years. I can live with not making shots, but the effort was really the most glaring thing to me. That’s disappointing and probably the first thing we have to address.”

Beck said the squad’s play in practice is partially to blame.

“We have to pick up our practice effort, our practice play,” Beck said. “It clearly showed in the game how we practiced this week.”

The Colonials will travel to the Bahamas to participate in the Junkanoo Jam Tournament. They are set to play Purdue Friday before facing either Texas or South Carolina the following day.

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