CHARLOTTESVILLE, JAN. 16 -- Whether it was Virginia's tough defense or Maryland's poor effort, the top-ranked Cavaliers left little doubt tonight who the better women's basketball team is, forcing 37 turnovers in a 76-59 victory before 5,600 at University Hall.
Despite an erratic offensive performance, the Cavaliers won handily, largely because the Terrapins were unable to handle Virginia's pressure defense, which forced 24 turnovers by halftime.
"I think maybe they were just a little bit intimidated coming in tonight," Virginia Coach Debbie Ryan said. "I felt like our experience was definitely the difference."
The Terrapins (10-6, 3-1 ACC) were in the game early, but the turning point came when center Jessie Hicks picked up her second foul with 14:13 left in the half. Her absence enabled the Cavaliers' 6-foot-5 identical twins, Heather and Heidi Burge, to go to work inside.
When Hicks sat down, Virginia led 8-7. But the Burges -- who have played together more often in recent games -- scored Virginia's next 18 points, and Heather's layin with 7:43 to play in the half made the score 26-12.
Heather led the Cavaliers with 16 points and Heidi had 13.
Maryland closed within nine with 4:10 left in the half, but the Cavaliers (15-1, 4-0) closed with a 10-3 run, and Dena Evans's three-pointer with two seconds left gave Virginia a 41-25 lead.
The Cavaliers' defense continually picked off errant passes in the first half. None of the Terrapins' three leading scorers -- Hicks, forward Dafne Lee or guard Aluma Goren -- scored before halftime.
Because of the outbreak of war in the Persian Gulf, Ryan wore an American flag on her shirt and there was a moment of silence before the game.
Navy 79, Drexel 59: In Annapolis, forward Angie Dobbs scored 24 points as Navy (9-5) recorded its sixth straight win. Drexel is 6-8.
Catholic 71, Gallaudet 51: Gretchen Ritter scored 25 points to lead Catholic (3-9) at home over Gallaudet.
Prince George's 60, Essex 50: Yolanda Lee had 25 points in the road victory for PG (7-4, 7-0 JuCo). Essex (1-11) was led by Jen Ellsworth's 21 points.