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By Cathy Bongiovi

Jan. 7, 2003

Following graduation from high school last spring, Deidra Chatman and Tiffany Sardin packed their bags for the University of Virginia. After spending the summer getting adjusted to college life on grounds, the duo is ready to don the orange and blue as the Cavaliers’ first-year class.

A 6-6 center from Richmond, Calif., Chatman set the Kennedy High School record for blocked shots as a senior. The Street & Smith’s All-American also earned her team’s Defensive Player of the Year honor.

Sardin, a 6-1 forward who hails from Chicago, was an Academic All-American and Street & Smith’s All-American at Marshall High School.

Both agree that positive experiences on their recruiting trips influenced their decisions to attend UVa.

“I loved the whole school when I came here on my recruiting trip,” said Chatman, who also considered Cal, Purdue, Arizona and UCLA. “I felt comfortable on my visit- with the coaches, with the players, with the whole atmosphere. It just felt like me.”

“I chose UVa, because when I came on my visit, I felt really comfortable,” said Sardin, who also visited Illinois and UNLV. “I liked the coaching staff, and the players were great to me. I felt like it was a home away from home.”

That home-bound feeling has helped the pair as they’ve adjusted to being so far away from home for the first time.

“At first I was fine. Everyone here would ask, ‘Are you homesick?’ When October rolled around, I felt pretty much the same,” Californian Chatman explained. “Towards the end of October, I started feeling it a little bit. Now I’m really ready to go home.”

“It’s a lot different. I’m from a big city, and Charlottesville’s a small town. And the weather- everything is different,” said Chicagoan Sardin. “But it’s been o.k. I miss my family. My teammates and the coaching staff help me make it through.”

But homesickness has not been their biggest adjustment.

“I’d say my biggest adjustment has been in the classroom,” Sardin admitted. “The work is a lot harder and more challenging than in high school.”

“The biggest adjustment for me has been practicing with the team. I felt it was hard,” Chatman said. “I was struggling a bit, but my teammates helped me out a lot. They picked me up when I was struggling, so it made it easier to adjust.”

In the next four years, these first-year student-athletes have high goals in mind.

“I hope to become a better all-around player, to help the team anyway I can, and to win a national championship at least once out of the four years I’m here, but hopefully more than that,” said Chatman, who may major in economics.

“I’d like to graduate with a degree, to get my masters, and to be a physical therapist,” said Sardin, who plans to major in sports medicine. “If everything works outs, I wouldn’t mind playing in the WNBA.”

Off the Court with Deidra

FAVORITESFood: Chicken FettuccineColor: greyAnimal: kittenHobby: reading & cleaningMovie: The Fifth ElementActress: Cameron DiazTV Show: Will & GraceBook: The Coldest Winter EverSong: Someday by Mariah CareyMusic Group: Hot BoyzWNBA Team: Sacramento Monarchs

If I had to play another sport at Virginia,I would run track.

Nobody knows how muchI want to be in a music video.

Three words that best describe meresponsible, thoughtful, caring

I wishI had the ability to read minds.

The person I admire most ismy mother, because she’s independent anda hard worker.

Off the Court with Tiffany

FAVORITESFood: chicken stripsColor: blue, redPro Team: Portland Trail BlazersWNBA Team: Los Angeles SparksAthlete: Scottie PippenMovie: Save the Last DanceActor: Denzel WashingtonActress: Julia StilesMusic Group: 112Song: Smile

In my free time,I enjoy playing video games.

A bumper sticker that bestdescribes me sayspotential

Nobody knows how muchI love reading poems.

Three words that best describe meshy, friendly, caring

The best advice I’ve ever given isBe the leader of your own path.

I wishI were 6-5 and able to dunk!

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