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Jan. 21, 2003

by Cathy Bongiovi

Sometimes we choose our fate, and sometimes it chooses us. For sophomore LaTonya Blue, it was a little bit of both.

“My fourth grade teacher Mr. Graham made me play actually,” Blue recalled of her first basketball experience. “I was the tallest girl in my class, and he just told me I was going to play basketball.”

And the rest is history. Well, not quite.

Blue worked hard and earned a spot on the St. Frances Academy team. The USA Today and Street & Smith’s honorable mention All-American was selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player twice. Also named the Defensive Player of the Year twice, Blue was named St. Frances’ Player of the Year as a senior. The honor roll student has continued her hard work at Virginia.

“LaTonya’s really coming on as of late,” captain Anna Crosswhite said. “She’s become one of our go-to players. She really is enjoying that role. She’s learning with every game, and she’s getting better which is helping the team get better.”

As a freshman last season, the Baltimore native played in all 30 games with 16 starts. Despite breaking a finger, Blue managed to play with a protective cast for nine games.

This season, the 5-11 guard has continued to build upon her young collegiate career. At Wake Forest, she scored a season-high 24 points, two shy of her career best, while shooting 10-11 from the charity stripe. Blue also grabbed five rebounds and a steal in 27 minutes of action.

Against No. 1 Duke, Blue went a perfect 4-4 from the line, helping the Cavaliers to their best free throw performance of the year. In the NC State game, Blue nailed two clutch free throws with 11 seconds remaining.

She stands second in team scoring with 9.2 ppg, which ranks No. 22 among ACC players. Blue also stands 13th in ACC field goal percentage (.688).

But there’s more to LaTonya Blue than just basketball.

“At home I usually go to the movies or hang out with my friends,” Blue said of her free time, “And sometimes I stay at home and watch TV.”

As a second-year, Blue hasn’t chosen a major yet.

“I’m thinking about drama,” Blue confided. “But I’m not sure yet.”

But Blue is still setting goals for off the court.

“Right now, probably get a nice job,” Blue said of her post-graduation plans. “I’m not sure doing what, and make good money.”

Blue admits that the best part of Virginia women’s basketball isn’t what fans see on the court.

“It’s the friendships,” Blue revealed. “I’ve made some real close friends on the team and with the coaches.”

Off the Courtwith LaTonya


Food: grandfather’s fried chicken

Color: blue

Animal: tiger

Hobby: designing clothes

Movie: Love & Basketball

Actor: Morgan Freeman

Actress: Angela Bassett

TV Show: Martin

Book: B-More Careful

Children’s Book: Go Dog Go

Musical Artist: Lauryn Hill

WNBA Team: Los Angeles Sparks

Athlete: Allen Iverson

Class at UVa: poetry writing

UVa Tradition: Spring Fling

A bumper sticker that bestdescribes me saysspoiled brat

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

Three words that best describe me areauthentic, loyal, honest

The best advice I’ve ever give isdo what’s in your heart.

I wishmy father was still here.

I can’t believehow far I’ve come since fourth grade.

The best thing about being a Cavalier isthe family-like bonds withthe coaches and my teammates.

I chose Virginia, becauseI want to win a NCAA championship.

I admire Debbie Ryan, becauseshe has a passion for what she lovesto do- coach!

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