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November 5, 1998

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Virginia women’s basketball team took the court for the first time this season, opening with an exhibition game against the Tapiolan Honka Topcats from Finland at University Hall in front of 1445 spectators. The Topcats held off several charges by the Cavaliers and came away with a 75-69 victory.

With the game knotted at 26-26 with 6:15 to go in the first half, Tapiolan Honka went on a 12-2 run to pull ahead 38-28 with 3:15 to play in the half. Erin Stovall hit back-to-back three point shots to spark Virginia to an 8-4 run, helping the Cavaliers pull within six points. The Topcats took a 42-36 lead into the locker room.

Virginia cut away at Tapiolan Honkas lead and eventually took the lead 46-44 on a Renee Robinson layup with 13:32 to play in the game. However, th e Topcats pulled ahead for good when Anja Hellman knocked down a three-point shot to give Tapiolan Honka a 51-48 lead. The Topcats extended their lead to seven points several times in game before holding on for the six-point victory.

The Cavaliers finished with four players scoring in double figures, led by Monick Foote who posted team-highs with 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists. The trio of Lisa Hosac (12 points, 7 rebounds), Lesley Brown (10 points, 8 rebounds) and Erin Stovall (11 points, 4 rebounds) each recorded solid numbers for UVa. Deanna Mitchelson added seven points and and four rebounds, while Svetlana Volnaya and Robinson added four points each in the loss.

The Topcats were highlighted by Hellman, who posted a game-high 27 points. She scored 14 of her 27 points from the free throw line (14-16) and was five of 12 from the field including three of eight from three-point range. Teammate Kaisa Kepsu gathered a game-high nine rebounds to go along with 10 points in the win.

The Cavaliers will return to action on Monday, (Nov. 9) when Virginia completes the exhibition portion of its schedule with a game against the Russian Select team. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be played at University Hall.

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