Telia McCall had one goal for her final season with the Cavaliers.
"Personally, I want to be more consistent," McCall said right before the season began. "I have been told that in certain games, I will play really, really outstanding, and there are certain games where they ask, `Where's Telia?' I want to be more consistent, more reliable. I want to make a name for myself and play as a team player. I want to be able to be a leader on the team as well."
So far this season, McCall is realizing and even exceeding those goals. She is consistently getting the ball into the hoop, especially in ACC games where she is averaging 10.3 points per game. McCall leads the team in rebounding, averaging 8.4 boards per game, and followed up her first career double-double at Miami (10 points, 11 rebounds) with her second and third double-doubles (18 points, 10 rebounds at Georgia Tech and 15 points, 11 rebounds against NC State) in the next two games.
"The difference has been having confidence, getting the opportunity and doing the things that I need to do consistently," McCall said. "I know my role. I need to get rebounds and I need to score for my team. I haven't been rushing it because I know that I don't need to force shots. So I know that going into a game, I need to get rebounds and I need to be an offensive threat for my team."
Her best game so far this season was scoring a career-high 18 points at Georgia Tech, an accomplishment made even sweeter by accomplishing the feat a mere 20 miles from where she grew up in Marietta, Ga.
"In the Georgia Tech game, everything just felt right," McCall said. "My first shot was a three and I made it. I think I was 4-for-5. My shots were just going in. Pretty much all of my shots were going in. It was just feeling it."
McCall's efforts haven't just catapulted her to the top of the Virginia rankings. She has also been ranked as high as fifth in the ACC in rebounding this year.
"I knew that I was capable of doing that, but I didn't see it coming at all," McCall said of her positioning among the conference rebounding elite. "I just knew I had to get rebounds because I know last year we struggled a lot getting rebounds, so I made that more of my focal point, getting rebounds and playing good defense."
McCall's consistency transcends the playing court. Her commitment to serving the community is as consistent as her game. She has spent a tremendous amount of time during the last several years working with the kids at the Hope Community Center, a local non-profit that works with the economically-challenged children of the community who are prime candidates for failure in a school systems.
"I love going out to the Hope Center and working with the young kids there," McCall said. "Two summers ago, there was this thing called Christmas in July. People donated a lot of clothes and toys. The people would come in and get a load of stuff and put it in their bags. They were so happy. We just love doing stuff like that, giving back to the community and helping out any way we can."
For McCall, this is her true calling in life.
"I'm trying to go to grad school for social work because I want to eventually open my own non-profit for underprivileged youth," McCall said. "I want to have a center for them where they can just come and participate in different activities. They can play basketball. They can play volleyball. When I was growing up, we used to go to the rec center all the time and basketball was the only sport that was played. Mine would have more of a variety. That is what I want to do: help the community out."
But right now, most of her efforts come toward serving a different community, that of Virginia women's basketball.
'Hoos Looking to Make More HistoryMen's Tennis5/22/17A win over No. 9 seed North Carolina on Tuesday afternoon would give second-seeded Virginia its third straight NCAA men's tennis title.McKee Thriving in New SurroundingsTrack & Field, Cross Country5/22/17A transfer from Kansas, Kelly McKee will compete in the triple jump this week at the NCAA East Regional meet in Lexington, Kentucky.Cavalier Men's Basketball NotebookMen's Basketball5/16/17The Cavaliers are heading into their ninth season under head coach Tony Bennett, who has led them to four straight NCAA tournaments.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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