#39 Virginia Women's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Virginia Cavaliers
Overall Rank: #39
Conference Rank: #9 ACC
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Virginia begins a new era in Charlottesville as athletic director Carla Williams went outside the box and hired Tina Thompson to take over as the new head coach, replacing Joanne Boyle. Thompson was an assistant coach at Texas over the past three seasons and was promoted to associate head coach last season for the Longhorns. Coach Thompson had a storied playing career at the professional level and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2018 class. The Cavaliers bring back four starters from a team that went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, so Thompson will should not have a major rebuild on her hands and instead will be able to build off last season.
2017-18 Record: 19-14, 10-6
2017-18 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tina Thompson
Coach Record: First season at Virginia, and First season overall as a head coach
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Aliyah Huland El, Guard, 10.1 ppg
J’Kyra Brown, Guard, 9.5 ppg
Lauren Moses, Forward, 7.2 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Dominique Toussaint, Junior, Guard, 11.4 ppg
Jocelyn Willoughby, Junior, Guard, 9.6 ppg
Felicia Aieyotan, Junior, Center, 7.4 ppg
Brianna Tinsley, Sophomore, Guard, 4.1 ppg
Lisa Jablonowski, Junior, Forward, 2.3 ppg
Khyasia Caldwell, Sophomore, Guard, 0.9 ppg
Shakyna Payne, Junior, Forward, 0.8 ppg
Mone` Jones, Senior, Forward, 0.5 ppg
Amandine Toi, Redshirt Freshman, Guard, Did Not play last season
Key New Players
Erica Martinsen, Freshman, Guard
Dani Lawson, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Purdue
Dominique Toussaint and Jocelyn Willoughby are a solid backcourt tandem that combined to average 21 points per game last season. Toussaint does a nice job of running the offense and will be even more effective if she can get her field goal percentage north of 40 percent. Willoughby shot 44.6 percent from behind the three-point line last season and is solid rebounder on the defensive end of the court. Felicia Aieyotan is back in the post and should give coach Thompson a fun opportunity to further develop her low post scoring this season.  Aieyotan is already a force defensively as she was named to the ACC All-Defensive team and led the conference by averaging 2.09 blocked shots per game. The schedule is tough as always for the Cavaliers as they open the season at home against Mississippi State. Kentucky, Michigan State and South Florida are three other huge non-conference games for the Cavaliers. Conference play will bring about a balanced schedule. Virginia only plays Notre Dame, Duke, Florida State, and Miami once with Louisville as the toughest home and home. If the Cavaliers can take a step forward offensively and buy in to Coach Thompson’s philosophy, they should hover around 18-20 wins and get back to the NCAA Tournament
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 62.1 (242nd in nation, 12th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.2 (82, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.3 (166, 11)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.7 (87, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.0 (161, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.5 (70, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.3 (110, 7)
Rebound Margin: 0.5 (163, 11)
Assists Per Game: 12.9 (182, 12)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.7 (175, 8)
Madness 2018 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#119 Erica Martinsen