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Tara McKnight is one of two seniors on this year’s Cavalier women’s basketball team. Originally a walk-on to the UVa program, McKnight will serve as a captain for he second consecutive season. McKnight and the Cavaliers open the regular season Saturday night at 7 p.m. against Longwood.

You were just elected team captain for the second year in a row. How do you feel about that?

McKnight: It’s a great honor. To think that my teammates would vote for me makes me feel good and makes me feel as if I have to step up and speak up, be more of a leader and get everybody on the right track to do the right thing, get in the right mindset to win some championships.

What motivates you on the court?
To do whatever I can for the team, making myself better and being as good as I can be. I try to do whatever it takes to win.

Do you feel ready for the season?

McKnight: Definitely. I think that everybody’s coming together and we’re all learning and trying to get everything together. We’re ready to do whatever we need to do in order to win on the court.

How do you think the team looked in the exhibition game?
I think we came out a little rough in some spots, but that’s expected in our first game. We played a lot of combinations that we’re not used to, with having people that we didn’t have last year, and we’re still trying to get everything and everybody meshing well together. I think that the game showed signs of a lot of potential for what we can accomplish this season.

What is your graduation date and major?
I stayed for a fifth year to complete a one-year master’s program in Student Affairs in Higher Education, but I might have to stay some extra time to finish all of my classes due to scheduling conflicts with practice and games.

What do you plan on doing after you graduate?
I’m pretty sure that I want to be around basketball, whether it’s coaching or anything else.

What has it been like playing under Coach Debbie Ryan?
: It’s been great. I feel as if I have tried to absorb as much as possible. There’s a lot of things to learn from Coach Ryan and the coaching staff, so I’ve tried to learn whatever I can.

When you aren’t in school or playing basketball, what do you like to do for fun?
I don’t have that much free time, but I do like to draw and I love movies, and of course hanging out with my friends and my teammates.

What has it been like playing with decorated guards Sharne Zoll and Monica Wright?
They’re the best of the best, so it’s been great. It’s a lot of fun to be on the court as the same time as them, but sometimes I catch myself watching instead of playing! There’s always the strong chance that they’ll do something great, so it’s been a lot of fun.

What are your personal goals for the season, and what do you hope the team accomplishes?
: Personally, I just want to contribute as much as I can and fulfill my role to the best of my abilites, whatever coach wants that to be. As a team, we are definitely looking to win some championships, particularly the ACC Championship. We’re going step by step, trying to win every game, every tournament we’re in, that goes for ACCs, NCAAs. We’re here to win. That’s what we’re here to do.

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