CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Starting with NC State's visit to John Paul Jones on Sunday, two of the top 10 teams in the country await the Virginia women's basketball team on the ACC schedule.
UVA has lost its last 13 games against opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. Eight of those losses have come against top-10 teams, including most recently, No. 6 Mississippi State's 72-44 win at JPJ in Tina Thompson's debut as head coach on November 9.
But in the aftermath of the biggest win of her first UVA season, Thompson was confident that the Cavaliers wouldn't be intimidated by what lies ahead.
"If you go into a game thinking that you're going to lose, the result is probably that you're going to lose," Thompson told reporters after Thursday's come-from-behind 62-58 win against Virginia Tech. "So we watch film like it's a winnable game. We teach our kids and go over scout like it's a winnable game."
"That mindset isn't going to change. I've never thought that way; I'm not going to pour that into our kids," Thompson added. "So every game that we play in the ACC will be a tough game. We know that. But we're always going to put ourselves in a position to win."
At 16-0, NC State will come into JPJ on Sunday ranked eighth in the latest AP poll, and the last unbeaten team left in the country. For the Wahoos, that game will be followed by a trip to Louisville to face the No. 2 Cardinals, who are currently 14-1 after losing to top-ranked Notre Dame on Thursday night.
UVA will take a 7-9 overall record into Sunday's matchup with the Wolfpack, including a 1-2 mark in conference play. The Cavaliers trailed by as many as 19 points in the third quarter of Thursday's game at home against the Hokies, but outscored Tech 29-8 in the fourth quarter to pick up Thompson's first ACC win as head coach.
After that win, Thompson credited the work her shorthanded team has continued to put in in practice, despite the Wahoos' losing record. Her players agreed, saying the rally provided some validation as the Cavaliers get deeper into conference play.
"It builds more confidence, because all the hard work, you're finally seeing it pay off," said UVA sophomore guard Bri Tinsley, who leads the 'Hoos in scoring in ACC play at 14.3 points per game. "So you just, you put more time in in the gym. Yeah, just the confidence goes up. It just helps."
"It helps your work ethic too, because with a win like this, you don't want to fall back down," added junior guard Dominique Toussaint, who matched her season high with 19 points against the Hokies. "So I know I'll probably be in the gym again very, very soon. Getting up shots, making these shots for the next big games."