COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Chalk up another moral victory for Virginia, which played very well against the eighth-ranked team in the country.
The Cavaliers’ performance in a 68-61 loss to Maryland on Monday night was encouraging to coach Joanne Boyle.
It was not, however, satisfying.
In Boyle’s first year at Virginia, the Cavaliers have defeated Tennessee, lost by 11 at Duke and lasted two overtimes before losing to North Carolina. Against Maryland, Virginia trailed by only five points in the closing minutes.
“For us, we’ve got to stay the course,” Boyle said. “Moral victories are great, you’re competing, but we’re over the moral
victories. We want to get one.”
Lexie Gerson scored 15 for Virginia (14-5, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) and Ataira Franklin had 14. The Cavaliers missed 20 of 32 shots from the floor after halftime.
“There were times we had a good pace to our offense and times that we didn’t,” Boyle said. “That’s just a work in progress for us.”
Virginia had a season-high 12 steals, which contributed heavily to Maryland’s 17 turnovers. But the Cavaliers, who came in allowing an ACC-low 51.7 points per game, yielded 52 in the opening 29 minutes.
“All the credit goes to Maryland,” Boyle said. “They’re a great team and know how to fight off opponents.”
Next up for the Cavaliers: A home game Thursday night against Miami, the only team to beat Maryland this season.
“It’s another chance to be at home and play another great team,” Boyle said. “Our kids, they rise the occasion — Tennessee, Duke, UNC, Maryland. They don’t back down. Thursday will be a great challenge for us.”
Laurin Mincy scored 20 and Lynetta Kizer had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Terrapins (17-1, 4-1), who were coming off a 75-63 defeat at Miami on Thursday night.
“I thought Virginia was really, really good,” Terrapins coach Brenda Frese said. “They came in and had a really good game plan. They really made us play their tempo and their style of play — very, very aggressive. I thought it took us a while in terms of getting the feel and the rhythm of the game, but in the second half we were able to wear them down.”
Maryland shot 44 percent from the floor and went 13 for 22 at the foul line.
“At the end of the day, a win is a win,” Mincy said.
The Terrapins outdid the ACC’s best defense by holding the Cavaliers to 39 percent shooting and finishing with a 43-33 edge in rebounding.
It was 38-all before Maryland’s Tianna Hawkins made a layup and reserve guard Kim Rodgers buried a 3-pointer to launch an 11-5 run that made it 49-43.
After a timeout, the Terrapins beat the press and got the ball to Brene Moseley, who hit a 3-pointer for a 52-43 lead with 11 minutes left.
The Cavaliers closed to 62-57 with 2:08 remaining, but Mincy made four free throws over a 31-second span to blunt the comeback and end Virginia’s two-game winning streak in the ACC.
The Terrapins got 10 points from Mincy and outrebounded Virginia 21-15 in taking a 36-32 halftime advantage.
Despite committing six turnovers in the opening 10 minutes, Maryland held a 16-15 lead before the Cavaliers got four points from Chelsea Shine in a 9-0 run capped by Franklin’s jumper from beyond the arc.
But Maryland’s Alicia DeVaughn made three layups and Mincy hit a pair of 3-pointers in an 18-6 spurt to end the half.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)