CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - The Virginia women's basketball team earned a 78-59 victory over visiting NC State.
The Cavaliers broke open a 51-51 tied game by outscoring NC State 27-8 in the final 10 minutes to improve to 11-5 on the season and 3-2 in the ACC.
NC State (8-9, 0-5 ACC) held a 13-point lead in the first half, but the Cavaliers went on an 11-0 run during the final 5:17 of the period to trail by just two, 32-30, at the break.
Virginia took its first lead of the game 1:21 into the second half on a three-pointer from China Crosby (Sr., New York, N.Y.), the first of five lead changes in the second period.
After the Cavaliers pushed their lead out to 10, 49-39, on a three-pointer from Ataira Franklin (Jr., Bowie, Md.) with 13:19 left in the game, the Wolfpack mounted a 12-2 run, tying the game 51-51 with 10:26 remaining.
Franklin put Virginia back ahead, 53-51, scoring on a fast-break layup with just under 10 minutes left in the game, the start of a 12-0 run that would put Virginia back in control of the game.
Wolfe ended the game with 24 points. Telia McCall (Sr., Marietta, Ga.) had her third straight double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
"This was a great game," said head coach Joanne Boyle. "Every game in the ACC is tough and we were really prepping hard for NC State. They were 0-4 coming in, but all their games were tough. I told our team early not to take them lightly and that the Wolfpack were a dangerous team. I think they proved that in the first half. NC State really stayed in that zone. I thought at first we were just dribbling and not trying to move the ball against the zone, but in the second half we did a much better job."
Virginia fell behind early, trailing 8-2, when a three-pointer from McCall narrowed the gap. Wolfe provided most of the early offense for the Cavaliers, making five of their first eight baskets while assisting on two others.
After a layup by NC State's Kody Burke, giving her 12 points in the half, Virginia trailed 32-19 with 5:17 left in the period. A pull-up from McCall from five feet in front of the basket started the Cavalier comeback. McCall scored six points during the 11-0 run, including a layup with 1:18 left in the half that put Virginia down by two, 32-30.
NC State began the second half with two misses shots and a turnover, extending its scoreless drought. Markesha Gatling made a layup with 18:17 left in the game, NC State's first points in seven minutes, giving them a brief 34-33 advantage. Crosby raced down to the other end, hitting another three pointer from almost the exact same spot as her first, putting Virginia up 36-34.
The Cavaliers took a 38-37 lead on a jumper by Franklin with 16:53 remaining in the game, the start of an 8-0 Virginia run that was capped by a low-post feed to Simone Egwu (Sr., Odenton, Md.) who converted the layup for a 44-37 UVa advantage. A Franklin three-pointer gave the Cavaliers its first double-digit lead of the game, 49-39, before the Wolfpack's run knotted the contest at 51.
The Cavaliers scored 12-straight points, with a layup from Jazmin Pitts (Jr., Mosely, Va.) with 5:21 remaining giving the Cavaliers a 63-51 advantage. A three-pointer from Burke followed by a layup from Kiana Evans off a UVa turnover cut the lead to seven, 63-56, but the Cavaliers answered with nine-straight points, including Wolfe's third three-pointer of the game, to take a 72-56 lead with 1:47 remaining.
"It was a competitive game," NC State head coach Shellie Harper said. "We know this is a tough place to play. Virginia does a really good job of not beating themselves. They are very consistent and they are going to win a lot of ball games being that way."
Wolfe ended the game with 24 points, her third 20-point performance of the season, and one point shy tying her career high. Wolfe made six of nine field goal attempts and was 3-of-5 from three-point range. She also had six assists, three steals and four rebounds.
McCall's double-double was the third of her career and her third in the last three games. McCall was 7-for-11 from the field, including hitting a three-pointer in the first half.
"I am feeling very confident right now," McCall said. "It can be attributed to just making shots, making open shots, not forcing it, and my teammates passing me the ball. We are also playing good team offense and good team defense."
Franklin scored 15 points with five rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Crosby scored 10 points with four assists and two steals.
"It's always nice to have four starters in double figures," Boyle said. "It shows you are sharing the ball, that people are confident out there and everybody trusts each other. It was a great game for us, not early, but we broke it out in the second half."
The Cavaliers will be back on the road this week, taking on No. 11/20 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 6:30 p.m. The North Carolina game will be televised on the Regional Sports Networks (FS South, Sun Sports (South Florida), FS Florida (Central and North Florida), Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Plus, NESN, FS Arizona Plus, FS Detroit Plus, FS North Plus, FS San Diego, FS Prime Ticket).
The Cavaliers will be back home on Sunday, Jan. 20 when they host No. 24/25 Miami at 2 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena. The Virginia/Miami game will be streamed live online via ESPN3.