Virginia women’s basketball advances to 10-0 with a 42-point win over UNCW

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.– The Cavaliers came out and outplayed their opponents early on Sunday afternoon. At one point in the first quarter, they led by as many as 13, before ending the quarter up 19-8.

After the game, London Clarkson said quick starts have been a focus since head coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton’s arrival in Charlottesville.

“Coach Mox has been emphasizing that in the first quarter we have to come out with the punch,” he said.

The second quarter didn’t start out so well as UNC-Wilmington went on a 12-4 run to cut the lead to five, but the ‘Hoos responded immediately. A 13-2 run to close the first half put the Agugua-Hamilton team up by a comfortable 16 points at halftime.

“I think it especially helps to be at home. I think our fans this year have been incredible,” said McKenna Dale.

Clarkson added: “I don’t even notice the score when we’re up there and just momentum goes our way.”

After the Seahawks cut the deficit to five at 25-20, the Cavaliers locked down the defense and took advantage of the offense. They went on a 27-2 run between the end of the first half and the beginning of the second.

UNC-Wilmington scored just 14 points in the second half and Virginia held them to just 16 field goals on the day. In three of the four quarters, the Seahawks fell short of double digits in points.

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“As soon as we get a couple of stops and then we can turn that into offense… I think we’ll really be able to feed off that energy and translate it into our game,” Dale said.

Dale was the star of the show on Sunday, especially in the first half. He got his first start of the season, and the first of his career at UVA, and he certainly made it worth his while. His 15 first-half points led all scorers and was the most he had scored in a complete game in his two seasons at UVA since transferring from Brown.

“She made the most of her minutes and that’s what we needed,” Coach Mox said.

Dale then scored 5 points early in the third quarter as part of UVA’s 10-0 run to open the second half. In the end, he scored 22 points on 8-15 shooting (4-9 from 3) to go along with three assists, two steals and six rebounds, three of which were on the offensive boards.

“I love seeing her blossom and reach her potential,” said Coach Mox. “When I first got here, I told her I didn’t think she was just a shooter, and she actually got a chance to show it because there was a cover on the basket for our first two games and she was doing other things. .”

Through the first seven games of the season, Dale was 0-for-15 from deep, but over the last three games he has knocked down 3-pointers at a rate of 50%, making nine of his last 18 attempts, including four of nine on Sunday.

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“Now that she’s got her confidence back with her 3-point shot…she’s really a versatile player and I’m happy to see her show that,” said Coach Mox.

Dale credited her teammates and coaches with helping her overcome her shooting problems early in the season.

“I feel like the whole community is behind me. The coaching staff is behind me. The players are behind me,” she said. “So that makes it very easy for me to get my confidence back and keep shooting.”

Clarkson also had the best day of the season on offense, as he tied his career high for points with 12 on 5-7 shooting. He also had season highs in rebounds (4) and blocks (2).

“I think London is a phenomenal goalscorer from multiple places. She is also versatile,” said Trainer Mox. “I believe in using everything you have in your bag, not putting it in a box. So for London, even though she’s great on the block, I still want her to be able to shoot 15 feet and then stretch to all three.”

He added: “I’m going to continue to pour into her and run plays for her and today she just came out there with confidence and did what we know she can do.”

Mir McLean added 11 points as did freshman Cady Pauley. For Pauley, this was the highest point of her career in her points and her double-digit performance means every player on the team has scored in double figures in a game this year.

With this win over UNC-Wilmington, the Cavaliers are now 10-0. The last such start for the program was in the 1991-92 season when the team won the first 13 games of the season. The ten-game winning streak is the first since the 1999-2000 season.

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The Cavaliers received two votes in last week’s Top 25 Associated Press poll.

They will travel to Williamsburg, Virginia to face William & Mary (4-3) on Wednesday night.

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