Nov. 21, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia women's basketball team (3-0) heads to Puerto Rico to compete at the San Juan Shootout Thanksgiving weekend.
The Cavaliers open the tournament on Friday, Nov. 23 taking on Vanderbilt (3-1) at 6 p.m. AT (5 p.m. E.T). (Note: this is a game time change from some published schedules). They close out the tournament on Saturday, Nov. 24, taking on Syracuse (4-0) at 3:30 p.m. AT (2:30 p.m. ET).
Live streaming audio of the game will be available through VirginiaCavaliers.com. Live stats will not be available for the games, however, score updates will be available on Twitter (@VirginiaWBB).
Vanderbilt is the first ranked opponent the Cavaliers will face this season. The Commodores are ranked No. 17 (AP) and 19 (USA Today) in this week's polls. The Commodores fell several spots in the polls after falling 71-66 at Dayton last weekend. Virginia received votes in both polls while Syracuse garnered votes in the USA Today poll. The Cavaliers last win over a ranked opponent was the 69-64 overtime win over No. 3 Tennessee last season.
The Cavaliers lead the all-time series against Vanderbilt, 3-2, with the two teams last meeting in 1996 when UVa earned a 65-49 victory in Charlottesville.
Virginia assistant coach Ashley Earley is a Vanderbilt alumna. Earley scored more than 1,300 career points at Vanderbilt and helped the team to four NCAA Tournament berths, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2002 and two appearances in the Sweet Sixteen (2004, 2005). The Commodores also won the SEC Championship in 2002 and 2004.
Virginia has never lost to Syracuse, holding a 3-0 advantage over its future conference opponent. The last meeting between the two teams was in 1999 when UVa earned a 70-59 victory in Charlottesville.
In addition to those three teams, Georgia Tech, Eastern Kentucky, Florida State and UW-Milwaukee are also competing at the San Juan Shootout, a tournament that has been held every year since 1987. This is the Cavaliers' first trip to Puerto Rico. Virginia has previously played in the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas and the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands. Last Thanksgiving, UVa traveled to Hawai'i for the Rainbow Wahine Classic, going 1-2 in the three games with losses to No. 24 Texas and California and a win over Hawai'i.
The Cavaliers are off to a 3-0 start for the second year in a row. Last season, in Joanne Boyle's first year at the helm, the Cavaliers went 4-0 to start the year, defeating No. 3 Tennessee in overtime for that fourth victory. This is the sixth time since 1997-98 that Virginia has started the season with a 3-0 or better record. In that same span, UVa has only twice started 4-0, last season and a 6-0 start to 1997-98.
The aggressive Cavalier defense led the ACC in steals-per-game last season (13.1). This year, they have logged double-digit steals in each of their first three games. Ataira Franklin and Kelsey Wolfe are tied for the team lead with nine steals apiece.
The Cavaliers currently have three players averaging in double figures in scoring. Franklin leads the team with a 15.7 average after scoring in double digits each of her first three games. Sarah Imovbioh is averaging 13.3 points-per-game and Wolfe is averaging 13.0. Wolfe came into the season averaging 2.8 points per game in her career. Wolfe scored a career-high 22 points in the Penn game, 10 points higher than her previous best mark of 12.
After returning from the Caribbean, the Cavaliers will face Minnesota in a Big Ten/ACC Challenge game against the Golden Gophers on Thursday, Nov. 29 in Minneapolis. The team returns home on Sunday, Dec. 2, hosting No. 12/14 West Virginia.