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The 2007-08 Virginia women’s basketball season officially opened Friday, as the squad gathered at John Paul Jones Arena for its first practice of the season. The Cavaliers will play host to Team Concept in an exhibition contest Nov. 5 and commence the regular season Nov. 10 at home against Longwood.

Head coach Debbie Ryan enters her 31st season at the helm, and welcomed two new faces to the staff over the summer. Assistant coach Angel Elderkin came to Virginia after spending last season with the national champion Tennessee Lady Vols. Erin Batth also joined the program as the director of basketball operations.

Ryan returns three starters from the roster last year, including ACC Rookie of the Year Monica Wright, Second Team All-ACC performer Lyndra Littles and Sharne Zoll, who also has an all-conference honor to her credit. Virginia also returns letterwinners Paulisha Kellum, Britnee Millner, Tara McKnight, Abby Robertson and Jayna Hartig, along with Aisha Mohammed, who is expected to contribute after suffering an injury and missing last season. Enong Stovall additionally returns after sitting out last year. Ryan also welcomes newcomers Kristen London and Kelly Hartig to the roster.

Virginia is looking to build upon its WNIT appearance a year ago, marking the 25th postseason appearance in school history. The Cavaliers advanced to the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year before falling on the road to Wisconsin. Ironically, the Badgers are UVa’s opponent in the inaugural Big Ten/ACC Challenge, set for Nov. 30 at JPJA.

The ACC women’s basketball media day is set for Oct. 23 in Greensboro, N.C., with Ryan and Zoll representing Virginia. At that time the preseason poll and preseason all-conference selections will be announced.

Season tickets may be purchased on line at or by calling the UVa athletics ticket office at 1-800-542-8821 or 434/924-8821. Fans can also order in person at the athletics ticket office in Bryant Hall at Scott Stadium weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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