1998-99 Women's Basketball Preview
July 17, 1998
Head Coach Debbie Ryan needs only 19 wins to reach the 500-win mark for her career. She enters her 22nd season with a career and Virginia record of 481-165. For her career, Ryan has averaged 23 wins and 8 losses per season.
The Cavaliers welcome the return of senior guard/forward Monick Foote (6-0) back to the line-up after sitting out last season to rehab a stress fracture in her right tibia. Foote, a team captain in 1997, was a Naismith Award candidate and a preseason Honorable Mention All-America pick by Street & Smith’s prior to the 1998 season. She averaged 14.0 ppg and 5.4 rebounds for the Cavaliers in 1997.
Junior guard Tiffany Bower (5-8) also returns to the Cavalier line-up after a ruptured achilles tendon side-lined her for the entire 1998 season. Bower wins the award for guts and determination after enduring torn achilles tendon injuries in both her left and right legs within a seven-month span in 1997. In addition, she sat out her first year (1995) due to a torn ACL in her right knee.
Bower is the queen of conditioning off the court and a sparkplug on the court. She had her best season in 1997 with 7.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game as the team’s sixth player and could earn a starting role this season.
Senior forward DeMya Walker (6-2) moved into third place all-time in the ACC standings in blocked shots. She already holds all of UVa’s records for blocked shots-game (8), season (95), career (247). Walker needs 83 blocks to become the ACC’s career leader in blocked shots.
DeMya Walker is competing for the USA Select Team in Puerto Rico, Poland and Spain this summer. As of July 7, 1998, Walker was averaging 16.3 ppg and 7.3 rpg in a three-game sweep of the Puerto Rico National Team on July 3-4-5.
The Cavaliers boast two Russian-born players, sophomore center Elena Kravchenko (6-10) and junior forward Svetlana Volnaya (6-1) , a junior college transfer. Both players are from Minsk, Belarus and are competing together in their homeland this summer.
Three-point specialist and 1998 starter, Kate Mooney, will redshirt the 1999 season to concentrate on her major, Architecture. As part of her curriculum, Mooney has to participate in the grueling studio workshops which will consume most of her life for the next year. Mooney plans on returning to the team for the 2000 season, which will be her senior season. Mooney led the team in three-point field goal percentage (.324) and connected on 45 treys which ranked second behind Mimi McKinney’s 53 treys.
Experience and depth. Virginia returns two veteran players, Monick Foote and Tiffany Bower, who accounted for 21.1 points in 1997. Both players sat out 1998 with injuries. Foote and Bower should provide leadership which the team lacked last season. DeMya Walker returns as the team’s top scorer and the trio poses a good inside-outside scoring threat. Watch for junior forward Lisa Hosac (6-2) to get more touches on the ball. She proved she could score with her career-high 29 points vs. Arizona in NCAA Tournament.
Even last year’s freshmen got considerable playing time and will add to the team cohesiveness. Virginia adds junior college transfer Svetlana Volnaya who can contribute immediately this year. Only one player on the team, incoming freshman Telisha Quarles, will not have college experience.
Quickness and athleticisim. Sophomore guard Erin Stovall is perhaps the quickest player in the ACC, and has worked to control her game. DeMya Walker is a very quick and nimble post player which allows her to block so many shots and step through defenses to score. Lesley Brown is a very athletic player who has tamed her game and could be a defensive asset. Monick Foote, Renee Robinson and Tiffany Bower are strong and fast. Even 6-10 Elena Kravchenko moves well in the post and is a good passer. Sophomore Chalois Lias is a great leaper and should help the rebounding cause and sophomore Dean’na Mitchelson is a big, strong body to help clear out the lane.
Defense. The Cavaliers led the ACC in blocks, field goal percentage defense and ranked second in steals last season. Their quickness can reek havoc on opponents. With their athleticism, Virginia plays much bigger than the height chart would indicate. The only real height is 6-10 Elena Kravchenko who, despite her slight build, posted up well against ODU’s Nyree Roberts and her defensive presence sparked a 19-point turnaround in the Cavaliers’ comeback win over Southern Methodist in the NCAA Tournament game last season.
Perimeter shooting. Long distance shooting could be lacking with three-point specialist Kate Mooney redshirting and the graduation of Mimi McKinney. Monick Foote and Erin Stovall could be the only three-point shooters this season.
Rebounding. For the first time since the 1988-89 season, the Cavaliers were outrebounded for the season (39.7 – 41.1). Virginia has not really had a big presence under the boards since Wendy Palmer graduated in 1996.
1997-98 Season Highlights
Record: 19-10, 9-7
17th in final AP poll
23rd in final USA Today poll
Team LeadersScoring: DeMya Walker, 16.3 ppgRebounding: DeMya Walker, 8.4 rpgAssists: Mimi McKinney, 3.6 apgSteals: Mimi McKinney, 2.2 spgBlocks: DeMya Walker, 3.3 bpgMin.: DeMya Walker 32.2 mpg
The Cavaliers entered the season with senior guards and potential starters Monick Foote and Tiffany Bower sidelined for the entire campaign. The pair accounted for 21.1 points per game in 1997. Head Coach Debbie Ryan recorded her 200th ACC win with the victory over Wake Forest on Feb. 18. She became the first conference coach to reach that milestone.
Virginia reached the NCAA Tournament for the 15th straight year. The only teams to have more appearances are Tennessee and Louisiana Tech.
DeMya Walker was named to the All-ACC Team first team while Mimi McKinney was named to the second team. Erin Stovall was named to the ACC All-Freshman team.
DeMya Walker was named an honorable mention AP All-American and was named to the District III Kodak All-America team.
Of the five ranked teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Virginia was ranked second in strength of schedule. Duke had the toughest schedule (12th nationally), followed by Virginia (16), N.C. State (27), North Carolina (47) and Clemson (81).
Eight of the team’s 10 losses were to teams in the Top 25, and two of those games went into overtime. Virginia upset seventh-ranked North Carolina 105-100 in triple overtime on Jan. 15 in Chapel Hill, but lost to the fifth-ranked Tar Heels 84-85 in double overtime on Feb. 15 in Charlottesville. Virginia took 11th-ranked Duke to over- time before falling 78-85 on Feb. 22. The Cavaliers come-from-behind 77-68 win over Southern Methodist in the NCAA first round was the third time this season Virginia rallied from a half-time deficit to win. The Cavaliers defeated West Virginia 59-58 after trailing 36-28 at intermission on Nov. 23 and a six days later, defeated Virginia Commonwealth 61-54 after trailing 28-24 at the half on Nov. 29.
Virginia overcame a 19-point second half deficit in the last 13:55 minutes of the game to defeat SMU. It was the largest deficit overcome in 1998.
DeMya Walker’s 29 points vs. SMU in the NCAA Tournament was the second highest scoring output of the season and Lisa Hosac matched that with her career-high of 29 points two days later in the loss to Arizona. Mimi McKinney recorded the team’s highest scoring output ever with 48 vs. North Carolina on Jan. 15.
The Cavaliers were 10-3 at home, 8-4 on the road and 1-2 at a neutral sites. In ACC games, Virginia was 5-3 at home, 4-4 on the road.
Virginia was 2-8 vs. ranked opponents. Against ranked opponents, Mimi McKinney averaged 17.3 ppg and DeMya Walker averaged 15.4 ppg.
Virginia led the ACC in blocks, field goal percentage defense and ranked second in steals.The Cavaliers string of 14 straight 20-win seasons was broken, one win shy of 20. The last time Virginia posted less than 20 wins was in the 1982-83 season when they finsihed 15-13.