'Eight is enough': UVA bands together after Brunelle ruled out for remainder of season
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- A look down Amaka Agugua-Hamilton's bench would only show three players ready to check in during Sunday's game against No. 22 NC State, but for Virginia it was plenty.
"Eight is enough," Coach Mox said followed by a long pause and laugh, "Eight is enough."
UVA was without three players on Sunday in Mir McLean (out for the season), Carole Miller (currently away from the team) and Sam Brunelle, who will miss the remainder of the season. Brunelle announced on Saturday the William Monroe alum would undergo foot surgery via social media after missing the previous three games.
"Unfortunately I have suffered from a foot injury over the last month and will be having surgery to repair it soon," Brunelle said in a statement, "Although I can not finish out this season I am extremely excited to be back next year for my 5th year!"
Brunelle was third on the team in scoring with 11 points per game and four rebounds, but on Sunday she watched on as the Cavaliers faced the Wolfpack. The injury news capped a difficult last month for Virginia, battling a multitude of injuries and other absences, while on a seven-game losing streak.
With the UVA bench already down to eight players, the Cavaliers also battled foul trouble with leading scorer Camryn Taylor and forward McKenna Dale both fouling out, leaving only freshman Cady Pauley available with three minutes left. But Virginia continued to persevere to win 71-59 over NC State, picking up the program's first win over a ranked opponent since 2017.
"We believed in each other and the next person," junior guard Alexia Smith said, "Like Coach Mox says, next woman up every time. So the work that we put in we trust it and we believed in the process and at the end of the day we overcame a lot of things."
The bye week finally hits for the Cavaliers now with only three games left in the regular season. A much needed chance to rest the players who will finish out the year and saw on Sunday eight was in fact enough.
"No matter how many we got out there as long as we band together and play for each other and support each other through everything," Coach Mox said, "I think we'll be fine."