Saturday, January 21, 2006

Down for the count

No one said the ACC was going to be easy.

This has proven true for the UVA women's basketball team. After a great win Monday against interstate rival Virginia Tech, UVA had to take on their rival up the road, the Maryland Terrapins. The Terps are 6th in the nation and they played like it. Virginia still had the talent to compete, but their effort fell short in overtime, losing 84-74.

The game was big for both teams, and the fans knew it, a season-high audience watched as Virginia started the game out with a 15-6 run. Maryland responded and had 38-33 advantage at the break. UVA would rally back to take the lead back at 45-44. The game was close from then on and out until the overtime. UVA shot only 12% from the field when it counted most. Maryland had a big test, but unfortunately for the Cavaliers...they were the ones that passed in crunch time.

"(It was) just a heck of a game," Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said. "I'm proud of the fact that we hung in there. We showed a lot of poise in the last five minutes (of regulation). It was a wild finish. We know how difficult it is to win here."

UVA did lose to one of the best teams in the nation and took them to overtime, but that does not provide much comfort to the reeling Cavaliers. Sharnee Zoll had a career game with 17 points and 8 assists. Lyndra Littles had another strong game off the bench with 13 points. Nevertheless, after starting the year 11-1 they are now 12-4 (1-3 ACC). That ACC mark HAS to improve if UVA is to return to the NCAA tournament. Without a doubt the women have shown moments that they can be a top 25 team. Inexperience seems to be keeping them down at this point as UVA is still a very young team.

Nevertheless, the road does not get any easier. Next up for the women is Miami. Miami is 14-3, 3-1 ACC and looking to be in great form. What makes matters worse for Virginia is that the game is on the road. The last time UVA traveled they couldn't make anything and lost to Florida State in their ACC opener. The Virginia women certainly have a strong overall record and good wins, but they need a win to maintain any sort of momentum. Basketball is a very streaky sport and it's time for the lady Cavaliers to show that they still have the talent not only to make the promised land of the NCAA tourney, but to be a factor.


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