All in all, it was a pretty good weekend for Virginia athletics. Not only did the football team win at Florida State for the first time in program history, the women’s basketball team defeated No. 3 Tennessee, 69-64 in overtime Sunday in Charlottesville.
That’s not a bad way for first-year Virginia Coach Joanne Boyle to introduce herself to the Cavaliers fan base. Four games into her stint as Debbie Ryan’s successor, Boyle has led Virginia to a 4-0 record, a victory over one of the most iconic programs in women’s basketball and a No. 22 ranking in the latest Associated Press top 25 poll.
“The thing that’s really impressive about this group is kind of their buy in to us and what we’re doing,” Boyle said Monday before her team departed for Waikiki Beach Showdown in Honolulu. “We don’t have five all-Americans on this team, and that’s okay. But we have 10-12 young women that believe in this and work hard every time they step on the floor.”
On Sunday, Virginia held Tennessee to three points for most of the overtime period until the Volunteers made a three-pointer with four seconds remaining.
Senior forward Chelsea Shine led the way with 18 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Ariana Moorer posted a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. The team shot 52.2 percent from the field in the second half, and five Cavaliers scored in double figures.
“That’s unique, and you have to savor those moments and savor those teams because you don’t always get those teams that, you know, people might look at us and say they’re not as talented,” Boyle said. “But our commitment to each other and the way we walk out there with a confidence in each other and have each other’s back and play together, that’s special, and you don’t get that every year. I think that’s what this team has the potential to just keep growing with that.”
And now, Boyle said, the Cavaliers have to “let this one go.” Virginia’s first game in Honolulu is against No. 24 Texas. The Cavaliers’ third game of the three-day tournament is against California, the program Boyle left after six years to take over at Virginia.
“If we’re going to really make some noise this season and not be forgotten, it’s not just the win against Tennessee,” Boyle said. “It’s what we’re about to do in the future.”