Game 5: Gophers visit Virginia (11-26-22)

Ignatius L Hoops

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VIRGINIA RESOLUTION

One of the few perks for a mediocre Big Ten season is being matched against an equally mediocre team in the ACC Challenge. Thus: a 7-11 (9th place in the B1G) Gopher club is scheduled to face a 4-14 (11th in the ACC) Wake Forest. Scanning further down to the bottom of last season’s ACC standings you will discover Minnesota’s next opponent, the Virginia Cavaliers.

After Thanksgiving, Minnesota travels to Charlottesville to participate in the Cav Classic facing Virginia and Liberty. The Cav Classic kicks off an important stretch of basketball for the Gopher hoopers. After the Hoos and the Flames, Minnesota has home dates with Wake Forest, Penn State and Kentucky before facing Iowa in Iowa City. The serious season begins.

Last season, Virginia finished 2-16 (tied for last with Pitt) in the ACC and 5-22 overall. That was the final act for Tina Thompson. After four mediocre years and a 30-63 record, the Hall of Famer was terminated following a loss to Wake Forest in the ACC tournament. Wake Forest officials were not impressed by the Demon Deacon win and later replaced head coach Jen Hoover with Megan Gebbia of American. But that’s a thread to pull another day.

Tina Thompson was replaced by a coach familiar to Gopher fans, Amaka Agugua-Hamilton. Coach Mox spent six seasons as a Michigan State assistant before her successful three-year head coaching run at Missouri State. The Virginia native, who played her college ball at Hofstra, has the Cavaliers off to a 5-0 start. The start includes a 72-52 conference win over Wake Forest.

One of Agugua-Hamilton’s early moves as Cavalier coach was signing Gopher transfer Alexia Smith. Smith is playing 19 minutes a game and producing more points and rebounds than during her Gopher stint. The other transfer signing, Sam Brunelle, made a bigger national splash. Brunelle, the Notre Dame transfer has two years of eligibility remaining and is off to a quick start in Charlottesville. Both Smith and Brunelle fit coach Mox’s push the pace offense and physical defense.

Smith and Brunelle were the Cavaliers only arrivals from the transfer portal. Coach Mox is pretty much trying to coach up the seven inherited players along with two freshmen. The 5-0 record is the product of a hard-working team and an easy schedule.

Everyone plays. Ten of the eleven players average double figures in minutes and the eleventh averages 7. There are five players averaging double figures in scoring. UVA sets a lot of screens and with Brunelle they will run some high low action. The Cavaliers are averaging 80 points per game while limiting opponents to 56 points. Despite the scoring output, Virginia is not a great shooting team from three (.272). Sam Brunelle (.333) and Kaydan Lawson (.421) bring a little fear from behind the arc. On the positive side, it is an experienced team with nine upper classmen (many of whom have made previous stops).

Preseason ACC polls have Virginia pegged for 11th. Yes, that would be an improvement; but I suspect it would be a disappointment to Coach Mox who is resolute in obtaining loftier goals.


SOME PLAYERS TO KNOW

6’2” senior forward Cameron Taylor is the team’s leading scorer at 13.6 points per game. Although her scoring and rebounding has dropped steadily since her 22-point, 13 rebound outburst against George Washington. After transferring from Marquette to UVA before last season, she was leading the team in scoring and rebounding before taking a leave of absence in mid-January as she dealt with the death of her mother. Agugua-Hamilton and her staff have gradually worked Taylor back into basketball.

The second leading scorer is 6’2” grad student forward Sam Brunelle. Highly recruited out of high school, Brunelle spent three seasons with the Irish including earning a spot on the ACC All Freshman Team. She went from being a starter as a freshman to coming off the bench for Notre Dame as a Junior. The Virginia natives return home seemed pre-ordained. "I haven't felt this happy in a long time. To be able to be around people who bring my happiness out of me more and just want to see me do great is amazing."

5’7” senior point guard Taylor Valladay is the other transfer from Marquette. She and Taylor were teammates for the Golden Eagles and decided it was time to go after Carolyn Kieger took the Penn State opening. Last season, Valladay started all 26 games she appeared in for the Hoos. She was 8th in the ACC in assists per game (3.8) and 7th in assists/turnover ratio. Plus, she can score. Valladay netted 19 points in the victory over American

5’11” junior guard Mir McLean spent a season and a half coming off the bench at UConn before transferring to Virginia before the last spring semester. She was granted immediate eligibility and moved into the Cavaliers starting lineup where she grabbed over 8 rebounds per game. She missed this seasons opening victory over George Washington because of an injury; but has started every game since. McLean posted 11 points and 11 rebounds against in the win over American.

6’0” junior guard Kaydan Lawson actually was recruited and signed by Virginia. She scored 18 against George Washington and 15 against Wake Forest. More important, Lawson is a decent three-point shooter 8-19.



GOPHERS VERSUS VIRGINIA

Minnesota and Virginia have met 5 times with Virginia owning a 3-2 edge. The last meeting was in late November 2012 when the Cavaliers won an ACC challenge match up 90-68. The Gophers have met an Agugua- Hamilton team more recently. Lindsay Whalen opened her second season with a 69-77 loss to Missouri State at Williams Arena.

IT'S ONLY A GAME

Before Virginia plays Minnesota, they have a Wednesday game versus Campbell. It will be the Cavaliers first home game since the tragic murder of three football players.



Camryn Taylor’s Last Five Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
G. Washington22131273
UMBC1572222
Wake Forest1332254
@ Loyola Chi.1251234
@ American643233


Sam Brunelle’s Last Five Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
G. Washington1053301
UMBC2171223
Wake Forest1271312
@ Loyola Chi.862260
@ American1330272


Probable Starters with This Year’s Stats:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
6’2”FSrCamryn Taylor2413.66.4
6’2”FGSSam Brunelle2712.85.6
5’7”GSrTaylor Valladay2612.03.4
5’11”GJrMir McLean2411.06.8
6’0”GJrKaydan Lawson2110.25.2



Others With This Years Stats:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’8”GJrAlexia Smith196.35.0
6’0”GSrCarole Miller174.83.0
6’2”FSrLondon Clarkson144.42.4
5’8”GFrYonta Vaughn143.42.6
6’0”GGSMcKenna Dale113.23.0
 




Ignatius L Hoops

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Alexia Smith with the start for the Cavaliers against Campbell. Smith opened the scoring for Virginia with a lane jumper
 


Bfan

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Alexia Smith, a 5' 8" guard of Virginia formerly of Minnesota, through yesterday has averaged per game:

-6.3 points, .407 field goal percentage, .333 shooting on a few 3's, 5 rebounds per game, 2.25 assists, a 3-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, and 1.25 steals per game -- on an average of 19 minutes per game.

 

Ignatius L Hoops

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It's a grinder at the half with the Cavalier's up 22-18. Campbell is doing a great job of cutting off UVA's drives to the bucket.
 


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Last season at this time the Gophers participated in a tournament called Battle for Atlantis. It was held in the Bahamas. Minnesota beat Syracuse, and Minnesota lost to UConn (finished season #2/#5 ranked) and Oklahoma (finished season #21/#22 ranked).

This season's tournament is called the Cavalier Classic hosted by University of Virginia Cavaliers. It won't be as difficult.

Virginia is unbeaten at the time of this post so it won't be easy either. Virginia is currently leading a game underway.

 



Ignatius L Hoops

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Virginia pulled away as the physicality took its toll for a 62-41 win. Sam Brunelle knocked down back to back threes early in the fourth helping the separation.

The Hoos forced 25 Camel turnovers. At least six of those were charges; something Minnesota must avoid when working inside. Camryn Taylor led UVA with 13 points. All in all It was a rugged foul fest with Campbell comitting 23 and UVA 19. The Cavaliers are quite comfortable playing that style.

Coach Mox is, according to the broadcast, the first UVA coach to start 6-0.
 



Ignatius L Hoops

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I enjoyed that interview.

Whalen mentioned that Virginia has a new coach and several transfer players in, so this teams is a better team than last season.

In fact, as I.L.H. wrote, "the first UVA coach to start 6-0."

Virginia has two player that transferred in this season; Smith and Brunelle. The other five transfers played for the Cavaliers last season.
 



Bfan

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Virginia has two player that transferred in this season; Smith and Brunelle. The other five transfers played for the Cavaliers last season.

Woah! Sam Brunelle was quite the transfer in for Virginia!
  • Member of the U16, U17, U18 USA national basketball teams.
  • Three-time gold medalist with Team USA and winner of one bronze.
AT VIRGINIA – 2022-23

  • Opened her UVA career with back-to-back doubles-digit scoring performances including scoring a team-high 21 points against UMBC. It was the eighth 20-point game of her career
  • Named to the Katrina McClain Award Watch List for the top power forward in the country, her third time being named to the preseason watch list
  • Has two years of eligibility remaining
At Notre Dame – 2019-22

  • Played three seasons for the Irish (2019-22) with the team advancing to the Sweet 16 her junior season
  • 2020 and 2021 Katrina McClain Award Watch List for the top power forward in the country
  • 2020 Naismith Trophy Watch List
  • 2020 Preseason All-ACC
  • 2020 ACC All-Freshman Team
  • ESPN W National Player of the Week (3/2/20)
  • Averaged 13.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as a freshman, starting all 31 games
  • Played in 80 games, starting 31, averaging 10.0 points per game and 4.0 rebounds per game

1669306085261.png

 

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This Virginia team has been making headlines this season like this:

-UVA women’s basketball battles back to beat Campbell 62-41, SB Nation11-24-22

-UVA women’s basketball fights back, earns emotional win, 247 Sports 11-16-22

-Virginia Women's Basketball Routs Wake Forest 72-52 to Win ACC Opener, SI 11-13-22

-Virginia Women's Basketball Scores 100 Points in Thrashing of UMBC, Sports Illustrated 11-10-22


This team has rallied later in games, after inconsistent play, to win comfortably.

Virginia has averaged 77 points per game while allowing 53.3 per game.

American was able to score 60 against Virginia, the most of any opponent. Minnesota can surpass that.

Virginia has scored a high of 101 against UMBC and a low of 62 against Campbell.

Virginia has never scored fewer points this season than any opponent's most posts this season.

This game smells to me like last season's invite tournament against an unranked Oklahoma team that turned out to be better than anyone thought at the time.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Minnesota has averaged 80.8 points per game while allowing 65.8 points per game.


This game could be exciting to watch.

 
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia women’s basketball team (6-0, 1-0 ACC) hosts the Cavalier Classic Tournament Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 26-27, at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va.

Minnesota (3-1, 0-0 Big Ten), East Carolina (4-1, 0-0 American) and Liberty (2-2, 0-0 Atlantic Sun) will be playing in the tournament.

SCHEDULE

Saturday, Nov. 26, 2 pm: Virginia vs Minnesota
Saturday, Nov. 26, 5 pm: ECU vs Liberty

Sunday, Nov. 27, 2 pm: Virginia vs ECU
Sunday, Nov. 27, 5 pm: Minnesota vs Liberty

BROADCAST INFORMATION

  • All four games will stream online on ACCNX through the ESPN app. It is available through participating TV providers that carry ACCN
  • Sunday’s game between Virginia and East Carolina will be televised on the ACC Network
  • All of the 2022-23 Virginia women’s basketball games are available locally on the radio on NewsRadio 1070 AM and 98.9 FM WINA
  • Live stats be available
  • Links are posted on VirginiaSports.com
CAVALIER CLASSIC

  • Starting as the precursor to the ACC Tournament in 1976, the Cavalier Classic Tournament’s official name has changed several times through the years but has taken place every year except 2020. This is the 36th Cavalier Classic Tournament
  • North Carolina captured the first title in 1976
  • Minnesota won the tournament title in 2003
  • Virginia captured 24 of the 29 Cavalier Classic team titles
  • Since 2014, the tournament has deviated from the previous format and does not have a declared champion, playing instead as a true “classic” tournament with set match-ups
  • Liberty will be the designated road team in the second game each day. Virginia will be the home team in the first game of the day each day
VIRGINIA NOTES

  • Virginia is off to a 6-0 start to the season for the first time since 1997-98. The last time UVA started the season 7-0 was its 8-0 start to the 1992-93 season
  • The six-straight victories are the longest win streak for the team since winning eight in a row during the 2017-18 season (Dec. 17- Jan. 11)
  • Virginia is coming off a 62-41 win against Campbell on Wednesday. The Cavaliers led 22-18 after a low-scoring first half, but exploded for 40 points after the break
  • UVA outscored the Camels 21-8 in the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers are outscoring teams 136-76 in the final 10 minutes this season, an average of 10.0 points more than their opponents in the final period
  • The Cavaliers are averaging 47.2 rebounds per game, ranking fourth in the ACC. The team has not averaged more than 37 rebounds per game in the last five years and have been in the bottom two of the ACC each of the last three seasons
  • UVA leads the conference in offensive rebounds per game at 17.2
  • The Cavaliers are top-20 in the nation in three rebounding categories: +14.2 rebounding margin (19th), 47.2 rebounds per game (15th) and 17.2 offensive rebounds per game (18th)
  • Mir McLean is leading the team in rebounding, averaging 6.8 per game
  • McKenna Dale had eight rebounds in the win against Campbell, her highest rebounding total in her time at UVA
  • Virginia has four players averaging double figures
  • Camryn Taylor continues to lead the team in scoring, averaging 13.5 points per game. She has scored in double figures in five of six games this season and all but four games she played in last year
  • Virginia is averaging 43.6 points per game in the paint this season
QUICK NOTES ABOUT MINNESOTA/ECU

  • UVA guard Alexia Smith played two seasons for the Golden Gophers, appearing in 52 games with 13 starts, averaging 3.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. She is averaging 5.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game
  • UVA will play two Big Ten opponents in its next three games, taking on Penn State on Wednesday (Nov. 30) in the ACC/B1G Challenge and Minnesota in the opening game of the Cav Classic
  • UVA alumna J’Kyra Brown is in her first season as the Director of Recruiting at East Carolina. She began her playing career at ECU, but transferred to UVA after her freshman year, playing three seasons for the Cavaliers (2015-18). She finished her career with 131 made-three-pointers, tying for 10th in the UVA record book with Dawn Staley and Mikayla Venson. She scored a combined 950 career points in her collegiate career between ECU and Virginia, with 766 of those coming in her three seasons as a Cavalier
  • ECU head coach Kim McNeill and associate head coach Corey McNeill spent five seasons on Joanne Boyle’s coaching staff at UVA (2011-16), with Kim being promoted to associate head coach in 2013
  • Minnesota leads the all-time series 3-2. The last meeting between the two teams was a 90-68 victory for the Cavaliers in Minneapolis in 2012 in an ACC/B1G Challenge game
  • East Carolina leads the all-time series 3-2. The Pirates won the last meeting 54-51 at JPJ Arena during the 2020-21 season


 

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Rose enters the game with three double-doubles in the last four games.


1669417907473.png
 

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Too bad it’s on ACCNX. This is the first high stakes game for the season, behind a subscription service to watch it. If the gophers don’t have radio, I guess i’ll just have to follow stats.
 



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Ignatius L Hoops

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Ignatius L Hoops

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Do you have the sports package or whatever it's called with BIG Network?

I don't have that now. I bet that's it.
I have the sports package; but my access to ACCNX is likely because we have a Disney, Hulu and espn+ bundle.
 




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