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Jan. 29, 2006

by Cathy Bongiovi-Stewart

Growing up in North Carolina, sophomore Takisha Granberry lived and breathed ACC basketball.

“I was spoon-fed the ACC,” she laughs.

Born in Saginaw, Mich., she moved to the Tar Heel state at the age of four. When the time came to choose a college, Granberry had many options.

“Growing up it was Carolina,” Granberry recalled. “I liked Tennessee, too. It started changing when I was in high school.”

But her heart opted for the University of Virginia.

“I really liked it,” she shared. “It was a family decision.”

Granberry admits her biggest adjustment to college life has been learning.

“Learning. Learning and wanting to learn,” she said. “Just taking everything in.”

A 5-11 guard from Charlotte, N.C., Granberry provided support off the bench last year for the senior-laden squad as a true freshman. For her efforts, she shared the team’s Most Improved Player honor.

Granberry has absorbed that knowledge and now shares it with the five freshmen.

“As a first-year, I got to see what I needed to do for next year,” she recalled. “I knew my role last year was just to be a role-player. Now it’s more stepping up and taking control.”

This season, Granberry has worked her way into the starting line-up for Virginia.

But before Granberry could pursue her dreams at UVa, she had to overcome obstacles in her basketball career. As a freshman at West Charlotte High School, Granberry tore her left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Then as a senior, she tore her right ACL. After surgery on both knees, Granberry endured intensive rehabilitation to get where she is today.

“I believe I’m back at 100 percent now,” Granberry said. “It was affecting me pretty bad. It had my confidence level kind of down, because I didn’t know if I would be able to come back strong like I wanted or how I once was. But I shook it off. I don’t even think about the injuries anymore.”

This season Granberry is a major contributor to the young Cavalier squad. In 17 games, she’s averaged 9.1 points per game. In the upset win at No. 18/23 Virginia Tech, Granberry netted a career-high 16 points.

“To win the ACC and to go on to the NCAA Tournament,” she said of her goals for this season.

While helping the `Hoos to their best start since 1992, Granberry has a laundry list of goals she’d like to achieve before she graduates in 2008. But she won’t be satisfied until she reaches the No. 1 goal.

“A national championship,” she added.

In her second year, Granberry is still deciding on her major course of study.

“I’m leaning towards drama,” Granberry. “I like the art.”

The sophomore loves to put her creative talents down on paper.

“I’ve been mostly drawing,” Granberry said. “I took a drama class during the summer to learn how to draw. I liked that a lot. I received an `A’. Now the drama class I’m taking this semester is a painting class. I’m not sure which one I like better yet.”

Also an avid movie buff, Granberry spends her free time watching suspense thrillers.

“I love watching movies,” she said. “I really like the Bone Collector if that gives you an idea of what I like.”

When Granberry graduates from UVa, she hopes to pursue both of her loves.

“I want to pursue basketball, and I want to take on art,” she shared. “I like making shoes, designing shoes.”

Takisha’s Favorites
Food: Spaghetti
Ice cream: Cookies & Cream
WNBA Team: Charlotte Sting
Color: Red
Movie: Menace to Society
Actor: Denzel Washington
Actress: Vivica A. Fox
TV Show: Martin
Spot on Grounds: Bus Stop
Class at UVa: Art

My pregame rituals are …
to listen to music and to take a nap.

I love to cook …
peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.

Three words that best describe me are …
driven, loyal, laidback

My dream profession is …
to play in the WNBA.

Nobody knows how much …
I watch movies.

My advice to a young athlete is …
never give up.

Things I always pack for road trips are …
my portable DVD player and iPod.

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