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Shorthanded Hoos Battle, but Fall at No. 11 North Carolina 73-62

By Matt Newton,


Missing Sam Brunelle with an injury, the UVA women's basketball team suffered its fifth-straight loss

What was already going to be a significant challenge became nearly impossible as the UVA women's basketball team faced the task of taking on a top-15 ranked UNC squad on the road without the services of the team's second-leading scorer Sam Brunelle, who missed the game with a foot injury.

The Cavaliers fought hard and stayed within striking distance  behind solid performances from London Clarkson and McKenna Dale, but ultimately did not have enough scoring to keep up with No. 11 North Carolina as Virginia fell 73-62 on Thursday night in Chapel Hill.

North Carolina would eventually become the fifth-straight opponent to hang 72 or more points on Virginia, but in the first quarter, neither team could buy a bucket. The Cavaliers and Tar Heels combined to turn the ball over 11 times in the first quarter. UNC shot 30% from the floor and UVA was an even worse 21% from the field in the opening period, which ended with the Tar Heels leading 9-8.

North Carolina woke up on the offensive end in the second quarter as eight different Tar Heels scored in the period, led by Kayla McPherson, who led all scorers with nine points in the first half. UVA got a pair of three-pointers from Taylor Valladay and Alexia Smith, but still managed only 13 points in the second quarter. Camryn Taylor led Virginia with eight points in the first half, but the Cavaliers shot just 29.6% from the floor and committed 11 turnovers. North Carolina took a 33-21 lead into the halftime break.

London Clarkson ignited a quick 6-0 run for Virginia in the third quarter with a pair of layups. After UNC responded, McKenna Dale answered right back with a pair of three-pointers to cap a 12-4 run that got the Cavaliers back with eight points.

UVA shot 44.4% from the floor in the third quarter and had a good offensive showing with eight points from Dale and seven from London Clarkson, but North Carolina's offense was still too much, as the Tar Heels won the quarter 20-9 behind 46.7% team shooting and seven points from Deja Kelly. That allowed UNC to take a 53-40 lead into the final frame as the Hoos did everything they could to stay within reasonable striking distance.

A personal 5-0 run from Clarkson got the Cavaliers back within 11 points at 60-49 with a little over seven minutes remaining. But that was the closest Virginia would get as the Tar Heels responded with an 8-1 run and went up by as many as 16 points before cruising to the 73-62 win.

London Clarkson led all scorers with 23 points on 8/14 shooting and McKenna Dale nearly recorded a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. Camryn Taylor had 10 points and seven boards, but once again struggled with foul trouble from start to finish.

UNC's offense operated by committee, with five different Tar Heels scoring in double figures led by Kayla McPherson with 14 points and four assists.

The Cavaliers have now lost five games in a row and eight of their last nine, with seven of those eight losses coming against ranked opponents.

Now 14-9 and 3-9 in ACC play, Virginia will look to get back in the win column at Pittsburgh on Sunday at 2pm.

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