Johnson, McGhee Shine in Cavaliers’ 87-79 Road Win Over Wake

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Courtesy of UVA Athletics) – Kymora Johnson (23 pts, 8-13 FG, 6 reb, 7 ast) and Olivia McGhee (22 pts, 9-15 FG, 5 reb) combined for 45 points to lead Virginia (12-12, 4-9 ACC) in its 87-79 victory over Wake Forest (4-20, 0-12 ACC) at the LJVM Coliseum Sunday afternoon (Feb. 11).

McGhee’s 22 points are a career high and eight points more than her previous best (14), which she achieved three times earlier this season. Johnson recorded her sixth 20-point performance of the season. She has now posted 22 points or more in five of the Cavaliers’ last seven games. Camryn Taylor (14 pts, 5-7 FG) and Sam Brunelle (13 pts, 5-9 FG, 6 reb) also scored in double figures for the Hoos.

Virginia shot 53.4 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range, its second-best performances in both categories among ACC matchups this season. The Cavaliers knocked down 13 3-pointers, only two shy of tying the program record, which UVA achieved against Tulane earlier this season.

HOW IT HAPPENED
The Cavaliers got off to one of their best starts of 2023-24, knocking down six of their first 10 attempts from the field. McGhee scored nine of UVA’s first 19 points of the contest. Taylor checked into the game midway through the first, marking her first appearance in Virginia’s last four games due to injury. The Cavaliers doubled up Wake at the end of the first quarter, 22-11, after shooting 56 percent from the floor.

Wake scored the first 11 points of the second quarter to tie the score, 22-22, and had a chance to take the lead on an and-1 opportunity but missed at the charity stripe. The Demon Deacons were just 1 for 6 from behind the 3-point line, but made eight of their 11 attempts from the line. Brunelle knocked down UVA’s third 3 of the quarter with just three seconds left in the half, at which point Virginia led, 38-32. McGhee led all scorers at the break with 14 points, which tied her previous career best.

Brunelle’s 3 before the half kickstarted a 16-3 run into the third. Two 3s from Johnson and one from Brunelle later in the quarter ultimately gave the Hoos their largest lead of the game, 64-46, at the 1:56 mark. Virginia led 66-51 heading into the fourth after outscoring the Demon Deacons 28-19 in the third. Johnson had a dozen of her 23 points in quarter No. 3. Virginia shot 69 percent from the field and 71 percent from 3-point range in the third.

The Demon Deacons trimmed the UVA lead to seven [72-65] with 4:09 to play. McGhee converted an and-1 on a sideline out-of-bounds play, which put the Cavaliers up 79-68 with just under 1:00 to go. However, Wake did not go away  quietly, making four of its final five attempts from the field, three of which of 3-pointers. Williams buried the Demon Deacs’ final 3-pointer of the game with 10 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game [85-79]. After being intentionally fouled, Johnson sunk two free throws with eight seconds left to effectively seal the win.

WITH THE WIN…

  • The Cavaliers claimed their third victory in their last five games.

  • UVA won back-to-back ACC games for the first time this season.

  • The Hoos earned consecutive ACC road victories for the first time since 2017-18.

  • Virginia matched its ACC win total from last season (4).

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Virginia went 13 for 26 from 3-point range. Its 13 made 3s were just two shy of tying the program record, which it set against Tulane (15) earlier this season.

  • The Cavaliers shot 53.4 percent from the field, its second best shooting performance of the season.

  • Kymora Johnson (23 pts) has led UVA in scoring in six of its last seven games.

  • Olivia McGhee scored a career-high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting. McGhee’s previous career best was 14 points, which she achieved in three separate games.

  • Sam Brunelle finished with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Brunelle has scored in double figures in four of UVA’s last five games.

  • After missing the previous four games due to injury, Camryn Taylor scored 14 points after going 5 of 7 from the field. She fouled out in 19 minutes of action.

UP NEXT
The Cavaliers return to action on Sunday (Feb. 18) when they host Syracuse (20-4, 10-3 ACC), which is ranked No. 23 in this week’s AP top-25 poll. Tipoff from John Paul Jones Arena is set for 2 p.m. on ACC Network. The game will be Virginia’s designated National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) game and will celebrate former longtime head coach Debbie Ryan as this year’s honoree.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WAVY.com.