Playing with heavy hearts, the Virginia women’s basketball team overcame adversity, coming from behind in the second half to defeating the Loyola Chicago Ramblers 68-62 on Wednesday night. The win for the Cavaliers improves their record to 4-0, which is their best start since the 2016-2017 season.
The game in Chicago began with a moment of silence to honor and pay tribute to the three UVA football players that lost their lives in a mass shooting on Grounds on Sunday night. The Hoos wore a patch with the numbers 1, 15, and 41 on their shooting shirts that also said “UVASTRONG” to honor and pay tribute to Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler, and D’Sean Perry. Virginia will be wearing this patch on their shooting shirts for the rest of the season to honor Lavel, Devin, and D’Sean.
During the game, the Cavaliers got off to a slow start, trailing 22-17 at the end of the first quarter and 35-29 at halftime against the Ramblers. However, the Hoos were able to turn things around in the 3rd quarter, using several big baskets and assists from Senior Taylor Valladay to cut the deficit to one point entering the 4th quarter. Valladay would finish the game with 11 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds for the Hoos.
In the 4th quarter, the Cavaliers continued their positive momentum with an offensive explosion in the 4th quarter. Junior Mir McLean helped the Cavaliers put up an impressive 20 points in the 4th quarter to pull away from Loyola Chicago and win 68-62. She finished the game as the leading scorer for the Hoos, scoring 14 points on 7/9 shooting. Senior Camryn Taylor also had a big 4th quarter for the Hoos, finishing the night with 12 points and 5 rebounds.
After the game, new head coach for UVA, Amaka Agugua-Hamilton, spoke about her team playing just days after the shooting: “I am just incredibly proud of our group. Our family. This was difficult. Our community’s hurting. Our university is hurting. Our athletic department is hurting. Our football team is hurting. All those student-athletes and our players. We had several players that were very close to those three amazing young men and just for us to have the courage to come out here and compete and band together and fight through adversity is very inspiring.”
The undefeated Cavaliers will return to action on Sunday afternoon at 2 PM to take on the American Eagles in Washington, DC.