Thompson

Virginia head coach Tina Thompson is entering her second season with the Cavaliers.

The Virginia women’s basketball team will play Rutgers in this year’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the ACC announced on Tuesday.

The Cavaliers and Scarlet Knights will meet on Thursday, Dec. 5 in Piscataway, New Jersey. The tip-off time and TV coverage for the game will be announced at a later date.

This year’s matchup will be the fifth meeting between Virginia and Rutgers in the past five years, but the first time the two teams will meet in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

The Cavaliers and Scarlet Knights last met in 2017 in Piscataway, with Rutgers coming away with a 52-43 victory. Virginia holds a 7-5 advantage in the all-time series against the Scarlet Knights.

UVa has struggled in recent Big Ten/ACC Challenge games. The Wahoos have lost six straight Challenge games and were blown out by Michigan State (91-66) in last season’s game. Virginia’s last win in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge was a 90-68 victory at Minnesota in 2012.

The Cavaliers hope to end that streak this season against Rutgers, which went 22-10 last season and earned an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Scarlet Knights return eight players from last year’s team, including rising redshirt junior guard Arella Guirantes, who averaged 12.1 points per game in 2019-19, including 17.8 points over her last five games of the season.

Virginia went 12-19 in Tina Thompson’s first season on Grounds, but returns most of its key contributors, including guards Jocelyn Willoughby (14.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg) and Dominique Toussaint (11.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.4 apg). Center Felicia Aiyeotan, who battled injuries most of last season, returns as does talented French guard Amandine Toi, who has missed the past two seasons with injuries.

This year’s Challenge games will be played over the course of two days, beginning with five games on Wednesday, Dec. 4, with the remaining nine games to follow on Thursday, Dec. 5.

The Wednesday games are Minnesota at Notre Dame, Indiana at Miami, Clemson at Iowa, Boston College at Northwestern and Duke at Nebraska. In addition to the Virginia-Rutgers matchup, Thursday’s games are Maryland at N.C. State, Purdue at Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh at Penn State, Syracuse at Michigan, Louisville at Ohio State, Michigan State at Florida State, Illinois at North Carolina and Wisconsin at Georgia Tech.

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John Shifflett is The Daily Progress sports editor. You can contact him at (434) 978-7250, jshifflett2@dailyprogress.com, or @John_Shifflett.

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