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Aug. 18, 2006

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.– The University of Virginia women’s basketball team ushers in a new era this season, playing in its new home- the state-of-the-art John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers will face several nationally prominent opponents at home during its inaugural season in the JPJA, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced in its release of the 2006-07 schedule on Friday.

“Our mission for this year’s schedule was to bring excitement and tremendous competition to the new John Paul Jones Arena,” said Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan, who enters her 30th season at UVa. “I believe we have accomplished our goal by putting together one of the most competitive slates in the past decade.”

The Virginia Cavaliers, who finished last season at 20-12, open the season at Rhode Island on Friday, Nov. 10. Then UVa hosts longtime intra-state rival Old Dominion in its first-ever home game at the JPJA on Sunday, Nov. 12.

“We open with long time rival Old Dominion,” Ryan added. “The Monarchs set an early standard of excellence and have been the foundation of the rich women’s basketball history of our Commonwealth. With the incredible ACC schedule and all the other perennially tournament-tested teams, we will have one of the best schedules in the country.”

The `Hoos continue their three-game homestand with Marquette (Nov. 17) and Liberty (Nov. 20).

The Cavaliers then head to Freeport, The Bahamas, for the 2006 Junkanoo Jam on Nov. 24-25. The four-team tournament also features Baylor, Central Florida, and South Dakota State.

Former UVa All-American Dawn Staley (1989-92) returns to her alma mater with Temple on Wednesday, Nov. 29, coaching against her former coach. This is the second time Staley and Ryan have coached against each other and the second time in Charlottesville. At the 2003 Cavalier Classic, UVa claimed a 72-71 win in the tourney’s first round.

UVa opens December at home with Seton Hall (Dec. 2) before travelling to Marshall (Dec. 5). UVa then closes out the month with four home games, beginning with Cleveland State (Dec. 16).

On Monday, Dec. 18, the five-time national champion Connecticut Huskies visit the JPJA. The game will be televised nationally on espnU. That game pits former UVa assistant coach Geno Auriemma against his former mentor Debbie Ryan for the fifth time in their coaching careers. Also on the UConn coaching staff is UVa alumna Tonya Cardoza (1988-91).

Virginia hosts its own Cavalier Classic on Dec. 28-29. Alabama-Birmingham, coached by former Cavalier Audra Smith (1989-92) and former UVa assistant coach Daryl Oliver, squares off with Northwestern State, while the Cavaliers face Maine in first round action.

UVa opens the new year at Richmond (Jan. 3) before beginning Atlantic Coast Conference play at North Carolina on Jan. 8. UVa will also visit NC State, Georgia Tech, and Clemson, while hosting Wake Forest,Boston College, Duke, and Miami for the teams’ only regular-season meeting. In its 14-game league schedule, UVa will play intra-state rival Virginia Tech, Maryland, and Florida State twice (home and away).

“Our schedule is highlighted with the return of many of the pioneers of this program who have gone on to accomplish great things in the basketball world,” Ryan said. “Having three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Dawn Staley, Tonya Cardoza, Hall of Fame inductee Geno Auriemma, UAB’s Audra Smith and Daryl Oliver on the other side of the bench will be challenging and fun.”

Virginia will make at least six television appearances. Appearing on the Regional Sports Network (Comcast Sports Net, Fox Sports Net South, SunSports, New England Sports Network) five times, UVa will face North Carolina (Jan. 8), Maryland (Jan. 19), Virginia Tech (Jan. 22), Duke (Feb. 2), and Maryland (Feb. 11). Additionally, the Cavaliers host powerhouse Connecticut (Dec. 18) in a nationally televised contest on espnU.

The 2007 ACC Tournament is slated for March 1-4 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.

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