Cavalier Corner

Dec. 2019

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16 CAVALIER CORNER dropping 31 points in Virginia's 84‑60 season‑opening victory against Bucknell Nov. 5 — the first 30‑point game by a Cava‑ lier since 2010. That effort, plus a 10‑point, four‑rebound performance in a 59‑49 loss to USC Nov. 9, earned her recognition as the season's first ACC Women's Basketball Player of the Week honoree. "There are so many great players in the league, and for me to start the season off being the first is exciting," Willoughby said. "It's just more motivation for me to con‑ tinue producing and being consistent with how I started the season and trying to main‑ tain that momentum in the games to come." Yet, Willoughby's off‑the‑court accom‑ plishments are what stand out about her the most. While balancing a demanding basketball season and participating in a number of extracurricular activities, she still managed to graduate in three years with a degree in global development studies. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Willoughby was named to the All‑ACC Academic Team in each year of her collegiate career thus far. Entering her final year of eligibility, Wil‑ loughby is a graduate student at Virginia, working toward her master's degree from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. "Between leadership and policy, regard‑ less of whatever field I end up in, those are going to be transferable skills and very applicable," Willoughby said. "When my basketball career is over, I don't know what I'm going to end up doing for a more tradi‑ tional professional career. "But I know that the degree and the skills that I obtain while pursuing it are going to fare well for me." She's already putting those leadership skills to good use. Willoughby's in the midst of her third year as a non‑voting, student‑ athlete member of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Oversight Committee. In that role, she's responsible for promot‑ ing and developing women's basketball. Willoughby also helps make recommenda‑ tions on rules and administrative processes. "I try and provide the student‑athlete voice so that the coaches and athletic ad‑ ministrators in the room can also factor those in when they are able to actually vote," she said. "It's been a pretty reward‑ ing experience." This is a very important role in women's basketball and collegiate athletics, given certain potential legislative changes such as the NCAA allowing players to profit off of their name, image and likeness. Another one of her extracurricular activi‑ ties is being a Meriwether Lewis Institute for Citizen Leadership Fellow. According to the program's website, it's designed to pre‑ pare students "for a lifetime of leadership at the University of Virginia and beyond." "That was one of the first opportunities I took that really got me invested in UVA and allowed me to see the school for what it is outside of athletics," Willoughby said. "It's a program that chooses 25 second‑year students from across the university — stu‑ dents from different majors, from different schools. "You spend the summer working together "It's hard to explain the mentality of a fourth-year player and realizing this is the last opportunity to accomplish all of the things I set out to do when I chose this university. That's the biggest change for me from last year to this year." WILLOUGHBY Willoughby averaged 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game during Virginia's 2-2 start this season. PHOTO BY MATT RILEY/COURTESY UVA

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