On Thursday night, the Virginia Cavaliers (4-20, 1-14) finally ended their 15-game losing streak with a 67-54 win over the Duke Blue Devils (15-10, 6-9) in John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers had not won an ACC game since beating Pittsburgh on February 27, 2020. However, hopefully the victory over the Blue Devils can finally get the Cavaliers going in the right direction, as the Hoos are guaranteed to have their fourth consecutive losing season under head coach Tina Thompson.
This season has again been a tough one for UVA fans to swallow. The Cavaliers are currently in last place in the ACC and will not make the NCAA Tournament, unless they are somehow able to win the ACC Tournament. At this point, the Cavaliers will take any win they can get, and the win over Duke should give UVA fans some sort of hope for the rest of the season and beyond.
All season, the Hoos have really struggled on both ends of the floor and were able to put everything together. Several players that will be part of the future of the team going forward stepped up to deliver big performances, especially Mir McLean, a midseason transfer from UConn. Since McLean arrived in Charlottesville a few weeks ago, the team has made improvements and has been more competitive over the past five games. In the win over the Blue Devils, McLean proved to be the best player on the court, filling up the stat sheet with 12 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 blocks.
Juniors Taylor Valladay and London Clarkson also made important contributions for the Hoos, combining for 23 points and 8 rebounds. Senior Amandine Toi led the way in scoring for the Cavaliers with a season-high 21 points to help lead the Hoos to nearly a wire-to-wire victory against one of their biggest rivals in the ACC.
Following the huge win over Duke, the Hoos will hope to keep their positive momentum going on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Panthers (11-15, 2-13) at John Paul Jones Arena at 4 PM ET on ACCN. The matchup with the Panthers will be their first meeting of the season, as the Cavaliers will look to win back to back games in the ACC for the first time in nearly two years under coach Thompson.