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Junior guard Paulisha Kellum recently checked in with to give her perspective on the women’s basketball team and the season so far. Virginia travels to Maryland on Thursday night for a 7 p.m. game that will be streamed live over the Internet by ACC Select.

Question: You have a knee injury that has sidelined you this season. When you come back next year, what will this year of rehabbing and being on the bench teach you?
: I’m learning a lot more just watching and understanding the perspective of what the coaches are saying. I think I’ll have just a better understanding of the game. I’ve learned that I don’t give up. I’m very optimistic about any situation that I’m in. Everything happens for a reason and I don’t let anything pull me down or let my confidence drop. I just keep pushing and keep going.

Question: Who is a player that has surprised you this year?
: I would say Chelsea Shine. She’s produced a lot for us this year. She’s made a difference in certain games and played some big minutes for us. She is so tough and is able to score.

Question: The other freshmen seem to be coming on strong as the second half of the ACC schedule continues.
: I think with the other freshmen, with all of them [Britny Edwards, Whitny Edwards, Ariana Moorer, Shine], they’re still in that learning stage and understanding that this part of the season is tough and it doesn’t get any easier. They’re great freshmen and they all have great talent.

Question: What are your thoughts on the ACC this season? Florida State leads the conference and there have been multiple upsets.
: We have the toughest conference in the country. I personally think that. With Florida State, they weren’t a surprise for me because they were a good team last year and they didn’t lose a lot of players or starters from that year. Their team chemistry is great. We’ve all been beating each other and there haven’t been a lot of blow-outs. There is definitely no given as to who will win the ACC Tournament.

Question: You have played with classmate Monica Wright since high school, how have you seen her game progress?
: Monica has progressed a lot since her first year. Our first year she wasn’t put in a tough situation where she had to lead and score and have a lot of pressure on her, it was just her playing her game. Now she is in a role where she has to be a leader, teach and produce. It’s a tough role but she is handling it very well. That’s what makes her a great player. She’s getting better throughout the season and she’s encouraging everyone around her to be better.

Question: Your next game is against Maryland, a team you beat at John Paul Jones Arena earlier this year. How tough will the rematch be?
: Definitely beating them once gives us a boost of confidence. But we cant get too happy right now because we’ll be at their home, which is one of the toughest places to play in the ACC. We know what happened last game and we were down double digits and we rallied in part to our home crowd. It’s going to be a little big tougher than last game.

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