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Virginia Falls to No. 12 Virginia Tech 72-60 in Hard-Fought Battle

By Matt Newton,


The Cavaliers kept pace with the Hokies until late in the fourth quarter, but ultimately came up short in the Commonwealth Clash

With a big and energetic crowd on hand at John Paul Jones Arena for the Commonwealth Clash, Virginia fought hard to keep pace with the No. 12-ranked team in the nation. The Cavaliers rallied from down 15 points and trailed the Hokies by just four points in the fourth quarter.

Ultimately, however, UVA couldn't quite close the gap as the Hokies made clutch plays down the stretch and the Virginia women's basketball team dropped a hard-fought battle against No. 12 Virginia Tech 72-60 on Sunday night in Charlottesville.

The first 30 seconds of the game went about as well as it possibly could have for Virginia. The Cavaliers won the tip-off and Yonta Vaughn immediately fed a pass to a wide open McKenna Dale, who splashed a three-pointer from the right wing just six seconds into the contest. UVA then got a stop and scored again as Taylor Valladay got inside for a layup.

It was a tremendous start for the Cavaliers, but everyone in the building expected the 12th-ranked Hokies to eventually settle in, and they certainly did. Virginia Tech responded with a 12-0 run over the next four minutes, capped off by a pair of three pointers from Cayla King. Virginia went more than four minutes without scoring and made just two field goals over the next eight minutes, a drought that would allow the Hokies to build an 11-point lead.

Foul trouble has plagued UVA all season and once again, it impacted the Cavaliers early in this contest, as the team's leading scorer Camryn Taylor was called for two personal fouls just over three minutes into the game. With Taylor on the bench, the onslaught continued for the Hokies, who went up 23-11 late in the opening period. A layup for Taylor Valladay appeared to end the quarter on a high note for Virginia with four seconds left, but Kayana Traylor quickly received the inbounds pass and banked in a shot from half-court to beat the buzzer, giving Virginia Tech a 26-13 lead after one quarter.

Virginia turned the ball over five times in the opening period, leading to eight Virginia Tech points. In the second quarter, the Cavaliers were much better with ball security, committing just two turnovers. That, combined with the return of Camryn Taylor, led to a big quarter for the Hoos.

Taylor checked into the game with the Cavaliers trailing by 15 points. She proceeded to score three-consecutive baskets to spark a pivotal 14-2 run for Virginia. McKenna Dale knocked down a three-pointer and then Taylor delivered a three-point play the old-fashioned way to get UVA back within three points. Taylor scored 11 points in the second quarter alone on a perfect 5/5 from the floor.

Just as she did in the first quarter, Kayana Traylor again ended the period by making a big play for the Hokies, muscling to the basket for a layup just before time expired. Virginia outscored Virginia Tech 18-11 in the second quarter to get back in the game, but the Hokies still led 37-31 at halftime behind 12 first-half points from Elizabeth Kitley. The 6'6" Kitley, who was the ACC Player of the Year in 2022, missed the first meeting between these two teams with an injury, but she made her presence felt this time around, as the Cavaliers simply didn't have the size to contain her combination of size and skill. Kitley finished with 16 points on 8/11 shooting and seven rebounds.

Virginia Tech opened the third quarter on an 11-4 run and a putback layup from Kitley gave the Hokies a 13-point lead midway through the period, as it again looked like the game might get away from the Cavaliers. But, Virginia showed resilience again and fought to get back in the game, this time riding its defense. The Hoos held the Hokies scoreless for the final 5:22 of the third quarter, allowing UVA to end the period on a 6-0 run, with four of those points coming from none other than Camryn Taylor. Virginia held Virginia Tech to just five made field goals, but the Cavaliers couldn't get their own offense going and made only four shots, allowing the Hokies to take a 48-41 lead into the final period.

Virginia Tech scored the first five points of the fourth, but UVA responded again as London Clarkson made a big play to score an and-one that got the Cavaliers back within single digits, but more importantly, gave Kitley four personal fouls. Clarkson scored again and then Camryn Taylor added a layup to complete a 7-0 run for Virginia to get back within five points.

A pair of free throws from Kaydan Lawson made it 55-51 with less than six minutes to play, but the Hokies responded with a five-point possession, as Georgia Amoore scored a layup plus a foul and Virginia Tech got the rebound on the ensuing free throw, leading to an open three-pointer for Traylor.

With Kitley out of the game, the Hokies leaned on Kayana Traylor, who put on a show in the fourth quarter. Traylor scored 15 of Virginia Tech's 24 fourth-quarter points on 5/6 shooting. She finished with a game-high 25 points, including three three-pointers.

Back-to-back baskets by Camryn Taylor gave the Cavaliers one final chance to come back as they trailed 60-55 with 4:12 to play, but Virginia Tech responded with a back-breaking 8-0 run to seal the win for the Hokies.

Kayana Traylor and Elizabeth Kitley combined to score 41 of Virginia Tech's 72 points, while Camryn Taylor and London Clarkson combined for 37 of UVA's 60. Taylor finished with 22 points on 9/16 shooting while Clarkson had 15 points and four rebounds.

The victory for the Hokies completes the season sweep over the Cavaliers and secures a half-point for Virginia Tech in the 2022-2023 Commonwealth Clash, which Virginia now leads 5.0-1.5.

The Cavaliers have now lost four games in a row and seven of their last eight in a streak that began when UVA fell at Virginia Tech 74-66 back on January 5th in Blacksburg. Now 14-8 and 3-8 in ACC play, Virginia faces another tough battle on Thursday night at No. 17 North Carolina.

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