GUAYNAMO, P.R. – Virginia opened the San Juan Shootout tournament in Puerto Rico with a 73-66 victory against No. 17 Vanderbilt.
The game got off to a slow start with the two teams combining to score seven points in the first four minutes. The Cavaliers extended their early 5-2 lead with a 7-0 run, highlighted by a three-pointer by Faith Randolph. UVa began dominating with Jazmin Pitts scoring Virginia’s next nine points. Vanderbilt answered, hitting four three-pointers to cut a ten-point deficit to one (23-22) with seven minutes left in the first half.
Virginia extended the lead back to five with Sarah Imovbioh going up to the hoop after getting a rebound, despite her initial shot being blocked. Imovbioh got another quick layup to make it a 29-22 lead, putting her into double digits in scoring with just under five minutes left in the first half.
Another layup by Pitts extended the lead back to double digits (33-22) with three minutes left in the half. After Vanderbilt again narrowed the gap to nine, Ataira Franklin picked off a Vanderbilt pass attempt through the lane, getting the ball out ahead to China Crosby, who scored on the fast break to give Virginia a 35-24 advantage with 1:20 left in the half.
The Cavaliers went into the break leading the Commodores 37-26.
Virginia shot 68.2 percent from the field in the first half, going 15-for-22. After making the four early three-pointers, Vanderbilt finished the first half going 4-for-18 from three-point range.
Coming out of the break, Vanderbilt made its first four three-point attempts. Virginia continued scoring in the paint with the Cavaliers holding a 47-38 advantage with 14 minutes left in the game.
The Commodores scored three consecutive baskets, narrowing the gap to three (47-44) with 12:38 remaining. Another three by Randolph ended the run, giving UVa a 50-44 edge.
The Cavaliers’ defense forced three Vanderbilt turnovers. Vanderbilt’s Christina Foggie hit her eighth three-pointer of the game to end the UVa run and to bring the game back to a single-digit margin at 62-54.
Later, Vanderbilt made a jumper to make it a 71-66 game with 1:11 remaining.
Crosby took a jumper as the shotclock was about to expire, Vanderbilt came up with the rebound, but with 7.9 seconds left on the clock, the team dribbled out the game on the other end with the Cavaliers coming away with the upset victory.
“I am really proud of the girls,” head coach Joanne Boyle said. “We came down here to have some fun, but after awhile, it turns into a business trip. I am really proud of how they prepared and approached this game. We didn’t play a perfect game, but we played forty minutes of grind-out basketball. I thought we did a great job of doing the little things to get the ‘W’.”
Pitts scored a career-high 20 points, eclipsing her previous mark of 17 that she scored her freshman year against North Carolina A&T.
“I was just having fun through the whole entire game,” Pitts said. “The team was having fun when I first got into the game and it sort of relaxed me. We just had to read the defense. They were switching a lot. We had to see where they were and once we got the ball, stay composed, look, and score the basket.”
Imovbioh scored 15 points with six rebounds. Crosby scored 13 points with seven assists, five rebounds and three steals. Randolph had eight points with four assists.
With the win, Virginia improves to 4-0 on the year, the second straight season that the team has opened with four consecutive wins. Vanderbilt falls to 3-2..