The Wildcats came back from a 13-point halftime deficit to pull out a 69-60 win over Virginia in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
The ‘Cats had 11 turnovers in the first half, and trailed by as much as 18 points in the third quarter. But they turned it around in the third quarter, scoring 23 points and only turning the ball over once. Meanwhile, Virginia fell into a huge shooting slump, going 4-23 from the field for the first 15 minutes of the second half. They had an extended stretch of 12 minutes without knocking down a field goal.
Coach Joe McKeown said, “In the first half we kept trying to make great plays instead of basketball plays. Our players came out with a sense of urgency to start the second half.”
Nia Coffey was the team’s leading scorer with 29 points on 9-15 shooting. She took over the game in the second half, putting up 20 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. She also excelled at getting to the free-throw line, going 10-12 from the stripe, all of which came in the second half.
“It started with our defense,” Coffey said. “We just weren’t very aggressive on defense in the first half so we really stepped that up. Then we were just patient on offense, and we got to the line and just started playing our game.”
Christen Inman looked sharp in her first game back from an upper-body injury that held her out of the two previous games. She had 12 points on 5-9 shooting, 2-4 from three-point range.
Freshman forward Abi Scheid played extended minutes for the ‘Cats off the bench, and helped out especially on the glass. She had 6 rebounds, 4 of which came on the offensive boards.
The ‘Cats will stay at home as they get ready to host Chicago State on Sunday. We’ll have the pregame show at 12:45 followed by the tip at 1 p.m.