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Chelsea Shine, a sophomore forward on the 19th-ranked Virginia women’s basketball team, recently checked in with to discuss the 2009-10 season. Virginia opens ACC play on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Florida State, before returning home on Monday, Jan. 11 for a 7:30 p.m. home game vs. Maryland that will be televised by ESPN2.

Question: Talk about the two victories over Colorado and St. Bonaventure this week as UVa wrapped up its non-conference schedule.
Shine: Well for Colorado, we left two days early (Thursday) to get acclimated to the change in altitude. So we definitely knew it was an important game and that Colorado had us circled on their schedule. It would have been a big win for them and they were saying that if they could beat us they could play with anyone in the Big 12. So we had a big target on our back. We had two great days of practice and we knew we were going to face a better Colorado team than last year. We were ready and got an important win. Then we came back and got another important win at home vs. St. Bonaventure on Monday night.

Question: How did the team celebrate New Year’s Eve?
Shine: We all hung out together downstairs in the lobby of our hotel in Boulder. We hung out and watched the ball drop in New York on TV. Once that happened, I went to bed, I couldn’t stay up until midnight Colorado time. It was relaxing.

Question: What is the biggest difference between being a freshman last year and a sophomore this year?
Shine: I think experience and knowing the system are two of the main things. You’ve got a year under your belt. Your first year, it’s a lot of observing and learning. You learn how to travel and you learn about your team and you learn the system.

Question: How do you think the freshmen are adapting to their first year of college basketball?
Shine: They’re all awesome. They all have different personalities. I’m not going to say that I’m surprised at how well they are doing. We knew we would have a lot of expectations from them. So I’ll say I’m pleasantly pleased.

Question: Looking ahead to the start of ACC play, what are your expectations opening at Florida State then coming back to Maryland?
Shine: We’re trying not to look ahead. You shouldn’t get into the habit. But I know everyone has it in the back of your minds. Everyone is anxious and excited. We make the trip to Florida State and it will be a big opening event. First ACC game on the road. It will take a lot of preparation. We’re trying to stay focused in the moment. A win against FSU is not going to mean as much if we don’t beat St. Bonaventure. So we’re not looking too far ahead.

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