Cavalier Corner

December 2021

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14 CAVALIER CORNER BY MELISSA DUDEK W hen the Virginia women's basketball team ran out through the smoke-filled tunnel and onto the court at John Paul Jones Arena ahead of its home opener against USC Nov. 14, the fans in the stands were hard- pressed to recognize the players. A lot had changed since March 1, 2020, the last time that fans had been able to watch the team play on its home court in person. Five veteran transfers from four schools were now on the roster, with three in the starting lineup. Even the returners were new. The three first-year players during the COVID year had only played in five games and none in front of fans. One of the third-year returners who was now a key player off the bench had only played 83 minutes her rookie year. Two players were familiar, and one of those players — graduate student guard Amandine Toi — was very familiar. Though Toi has been on Grounds since 2017 and walked the Lawn last year when she earned her bach- elor's degree in French, injuries robbed her of the opportunity to play in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, and she only became an on-court fixture two years ago. Last season, she found her stride, scoring an average of 20.5 points per game in the first two ACC contests before the season was canceled. "I hope I can still show more," Toi said. "I want to be a leader for this team. We want to be aggressive. I think we have more competi- tors this year, which makes that possible. "So I want this team to be competitive but also be aggressive on the job." The other familiar face belongs to third-year guard Carole Miller. She was a consistent contributor her rookie season, playing in all 30 games, averaging just less than 24 min- utes per contest. The third-year, majoring in engineering science with a minor in systems engineering, averaged 6.0 points per game with five double-digit efforts in her rookie year. Aside from Toi and Miller, there isn't much familiarity, so we'd like to change that. Let us officially introduce you to the "New Hoos." The most significant addition has been to the post group. Eleah Parker, a grad transfer from Penn; third-years Camryn Taylor and London Clarkson, transfers from Marquette and Florida State, respectively; and the in- creased contributions of third-year returning Cavalier Meg Jefferson give the team a solid rotation down low. "We finally have a post presence," head coach Tina Thompson said. "We have a big that we can actually feed and go one-on-one on the post and have the ability to score. "It changes how we rebound. In the past, we rebounded by committee. Now we actually can rely on our bigs to be dominant in that area." Parker was the marquee name in the trans- fer class when it was announced this past summer. The two-time Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year brought in an impressive résumé that included being ranked fourth in the nation in blocked shots her last season of play and more than 1,000 career points. Her reputation earned her a spot on this year's Lisa Leslie Award watch list, an honor given annually to the top center in the na- tion. She also brings a bachelor's degree in cognitive science with a neuroscience concentration from Penn while she begins works on her master's in public health from the UVA School of Medicine. Playing alongside Parker is Taylor, who made a huge splash in her UVA debut by scoring 27 points in the season opener at James Madi- son Nov. 9. During her sophomore season with the Golden Eagles, she averaged 12.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. As a freshman, Taylor saw action in 31 games off the bench, finishing fourth on the NEW NEW HOOS HOOS The UVA Women's Basketball Team Features Lots Of New Faces Third-year forward Camryn Taylor, a transfer from Marquette, scored 27 points in her UVA debut and was averaging a team-high 14.2 points per outing through 10 games. (Photo courtesy UVA)

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