#28 Virginia Women's Basketball 2012-13 Preview

Virginia Cavaliers

Overall Rank: #28
Conference Rank: #4 ACC
Virginia Women's College Basketball 2012-2013 Team Preview
Virginia Team Page


The first year of the Joanne Boyle regime got off to a positive start as the Cavaliers won 25 games in 2011-12 for the first time since 1999-2000.  They also battled their way to a 9-7 record in the always difficult ACC Conference and just missed out on a trip to the NCAA Tournament despite having a big win against a very strong Tennessee squad.  The key to the 2012-13 season for the Cavaliers is finding a way to get a couple more power wins throughout the regular season to take their fate out of the hands of the NCAA women’s basketball selection committee.

2011-12 Record: 25-11, 9-7
2011-12 Postseason: WNIT
Coach: Joanne Boyle
Coach Record: 25-11 at Virginia, 229-104 overall

The ability for Virginia to defend the basketball at a high level was very critical to their success in 2011-2012. The Cavaliers held teams to just 54 points per game and held teams to just over 37 percent shooting. Virginia also did an excellent job of taking care of the basketball as they had just 14.3 turnovers per game and were excellent at forcing turnovers with an average of  just over 22 turnovers per contest. China Crosby, if she is completely healthy from last year’s season ending knee injury, is going to be the sparkplug for this team offensively. She is arguably the most talented player on the squad. It is going to be a matter of keeping her at full strength as much as possible during this season. Also, Ataira Franklin is the leading returning scorer from 2011-12, as she averaged 12.4 points per contest. If Franklin can build on her consistency from last season, especially from behind the three point line, that will be a huge plus for Coach Boyle’s squad.

Replacing Arianna Moorer in the backcourt is a priority. She was the catalyst to the offense last season with a scoring average of over 14 points per contest. The inability to consistently shoot the basketball in 2011-12 was problematic at times for the Cavaliers. Virginia shot just a little over 38 percent from the floor. If this team is going to crack the top three or four in the ACC they have to show the ability to make shots at a consistent enough level to put up 75 points in games against the likes of Maryland and Duke.

Final Projection:
The ability to overcome a slew of early pre-season injuries will help determine how far the Cavaliers go in 2012. In an ideal scenario, Coach Boyle would have a fully healthy team and be able to run up and down the floor with the elite of the women’s basketball world and secure an NCAA Tournament berth. This is still a possibility, even with the run of injuries. However, the margin of error for this team has become pretty thin and keeping everyone else healthy, including China Crosby, is going to be critical. The schedule in the preseason has a fair enough balance, even with games against West Virginia and Vanderbilt, that it will allow the coaching staff to develop some more depth heading into ACC play when they open December 6th at Maryland. There is an overall feeling of excitement that the Cavalier women’s basketball program is moving in a direction where it will be back among the nation’s best sooner rather than later. This season is going to be challenging but one where Virginia grinds out another postseason berth to continue the forward momentum that Coach Boyle and her staff are building in Charlottesville.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Ataira Franklin, Junior, Guard, 12.4 points per game
China Crosby, Senior, Guard, 7.9 points per game
Jazmin Pitts, Junior, Forward, 4.5 points per game
Telia McCall, Senior, Forward, 5.4 points per game
Simone Egwu, Senior, Center, 4.0 points per game

Madness 2012 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#34 Faith Randolph
#86 Raeshaun Gaffney