Nov. 14, 1997

Cavaliers Tip Off New Season Against William & Mary

  • William & Mary vs.#13 Virginia
  • Nov. 16, 1997
  • 3:30 p.m.
  • University Hall
DeMya Walker
Junior forward DeMya Walker is Virginia's leading returning scorer and rebounder. (File Photo)

For the first time since the 1993-94 season, the Cavaliers open the season at home when they host in-state opponent William & Mary in University Hall.

The Cavaliers are 22-2 all-time in the season opener (13-0 at home, 8-1 away, 1-1 neutral). The only two losses in season openers were to Kansas 84-86 in the Wahine Classic on Nov. 25, 1995 and to Tennessee 51-78 in the Hall of Fame Classic on Nov. 19, 1996.

Series With William & Mary
Virginia and William & Mary have met eight times before, with Virginia holding an 8-0 edge in the series. The last time these two teams met was in 1992 in University Hall with the Cavaliers coming away with the win, 82-40.

Tribe Head Coach Trina Thomas Patterson is no stranger to Charlottesville. She is a 1987 graduate of UVa and lettered for four years (1984-87) for Virginia Coach Debbie Ryan.

Probable Virginia Starters (subject to change)
Pos.  Player            Cl. Ht. Last year's stats
F   Lisa Hosac          Jr. 6-2  4.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg
F   DeMya Walker        Jr. 6-2 13.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg
G   Kate Mooney         Jr. 6-0  3.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg
G   Mimi McKinney       Sr. 5-9  7.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg
G   Renee Robinson      So. 5-6  2.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg

Reserves
F   Lesley Brown        Jr. 6-0  3.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg
C   Tammy Gardner       Sr. 6-4  1.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg
G   Lauren Swierczek    So. 5-11 1.5 ppg, 0.3 rpg
C   Elena Kravchenko    Fr. 6-10
F   Chalois Lias        Fr. 6-0
F   Dean'na Mitchelson  Fr. 6-2
G   Erin Stovall        Fr. 5-9

Carbo and Kravchenko Reunited
William & Mary's Nicole Carbo and Virginia's Elena Kravchenko will be reunited on Nov. 16. Carbo, along with her parents Ann and Richard of Norristown, Pa., were the host family for Kravchenko during her senior year at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School.

Cavaliers 1-1 in Preseason Games
The Cavaliers completed the exhibition slate with a win over Denamo 73-62 and a loss to Soproni 86-77.

DeMya Walker and Mimi McKinney were the top players in the two preseason games. Walker averaged 22.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in the two exhibition games while McKinney averaged 16.5 ppg and 7.0 rpg. Cavs Picked to Finish Second in Conference

The Cavaliers were picked to finish second in the Atlantic Coast Conference in a vote by the ACC Basketball Writers on Oct. 26. North Carolina was picked as the preseason favorite with 153 points. Following is the predicted order of finish by the writers:

        Team            Points
    1.  North Carolina  153
    2.  Virginia        119
    3.  Duke            112
    4.  N.C. State      107
    5.  Clemson          83
    6.  Maryland         81
    7.  Georgia Tech     57
    8.  Wake Forest      27
    9.  Florida State    26

Walker and Robinson Honored By ACC
DeMya Walker and Renee Robinson were selected to the ACC All-Conference Preseason Team. Walker was selected to the first team along with Tracy Reid (North Carolina), Chasity Melvin (N.C. State), Itoro Umoh (Clemson), Payton Black (Duke) and Chanel Wright (North Carolina).

Robinson was joined on the second team by Carla Munnion (Georgia Tech,) Stephanie Cross (Maryland), Sonia Chase (Maryland), Hilary Howard (Duke) and LySchale Jones (N.C. State).

Out For The Season
The Cavaliers will be without the services senior guard/forward Monick Foote and junior guard Tiffany Bower. Foote made the decision to redshirt this season due to a chronic ankle problem (right) and a stress fracture in the same leg that developed during the summer. Foote wants to take the time to properly rehab the leg and comeback for a healthy senior year in 1998-99.

Bower suffered a torn left achilles tendon on the third day of practice and will not play this season. Bower worked extremely hard over the summer to come back from a torn right achilles tendon which she suffered on the eve of the NCAA Tournament last March and was cleared to play this season.

Ryan Begins 21st Year At Virginia
The women's basketball marks its 25th anniversary this year and in the previous 24 years, Head Coach Debbie Ryan has coached the team for 20 years. Ryan enters her 21st year with a career record of 462-155.

In her 20-year career, Coach Ryan has directed the Cavaliers to 14 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, with three straight trips to the Final Four in 1990, 1991 and 1992. When she won her 400th career game on Jan. 25, 1995 at Maryland, she reached the 400-win milestone in only her 538th game, faster than any other coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

During Ryan's era, the Cavaliers have advanced to the "Sweet 16" 11 times, won three Atlantic Coast Conference Tournaments (1990-92-93), competed in the Final Four three times (1990-91-92), won the 1990 and 1992 East Regional, the 1991 Midwest Regional and won 10 ACC regular-season titles, including six of the last seven.

The Cavalier mentor has been named Naismith Coach of the Year (1991) by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, ACC Coach of the Year (1984, 1986, 1987, 1991, 1993, 1995), state Coach of the Year (1981, 1995) and Converse District III Coach of the Year (1986, 1987). In addition to her accomplishments on the court, Ryan boasts a graduation rate of 100 percent of all athletes who completed their four-year eligibility.

Rule Changes for 1997-98
The women's game is conforming to men's bonus free throw and timeout rules. Women will shoot two free throws on the 10th common foul of each half instead of one-and-one.

For non-televised games, full timeouts are reduced from five to four with two 20-second timeouts at any time. For TV games, full timeouts go from three to two and 20-second timeouts are increased from two to three with two that can be carried to the second half. The idea: Speed up games and reduce confusion for fans familiar with men's rules.

A change that will benefit defense: The shot clock will begin when the ball is touched instead of upon possession. The points of emphasis for the season: traveling in the paint, off-ball contact and rough post play. According to officials supervisor Marcy Weston, refs will also be closely watching dribblers for carrying the ball.

Tall Order
Incoming freshman center Elena Kravchenko is 6-10, making her the tallest player in the ACC, but not in women's college basketball (the tallest player in Division I is 6-11 freshman Gitika Srizastava at Harvard). Kravchenko is reported to be able to run the floor well, play defense and has been described as a great passer. She averaged 9.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.9 blocks per game last season for Plymouth (Pa.) Whitemarsh High School.

Silver Anniversary
The Virginia women's basketball team begins its 25th year of competition this season. Last season, the Cavaliers became the first ACC women's team to reach the 500-win plateau.

Defense
Virginia led the nation in field goal percentage defense (.342) in 1997 and ranked 11th in scoring margin (16.6) and 12th in scoring defense (.568).

Worn Path
Virginia has made 14 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including 11 consecutive "Sweet Sixteen" appearances, all under Head Coach Debbie Ryan's direction.

Home Sweet Home
Virginia has won 102 of its last 109 games (.938) in University Hall since the 1991 season. The Cavaliers are 272-49 (.847) all-time in U-Hall.

Closing In On 500
The Cavaliers 64-62 win over N.C. State on Jan. 11 marked Debbie Ryan's 450th win as a head coach. What makes this milestone remarkable is that she reached her 450th win in her 600th game, faster than any other men's or women's coach in the ACC, including Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski.