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Paulisha Kellum, a junior on the Cavalier women’s basketball team, recently checked in with to discuss the team’s start of conference play. UVa plays a televised league match-up at Virginia Tech on Monday, Jan. 18. Tip-off is 5 p.m., and the game will air on the ACC’s Regional Sports Network.

Question: You have been a teammate of Monica Wright’s for four years in college and before that you played AAU basketball together. How special was it for you to not only see her break Virginia’s all-time scoring record, but to have gotten the assist on the 3-pointer that put her over the top?
: It was so special. During the game I didn’t know that was the specific play, but I’m so happy for Monica and I was happy to be a part of it. Being a teammate of Moni’s and a friend of Moni’s for so many years. She’s worked so hard and she gets better and better every day.

Question: Coming off of two tough losses at No. 11 Florida State and vs. Maryland, how will the team look to bounce back against Virginia Tech on Monday night?
: We’ve got to focus on putting this one behind us and learning from our mistakes. From this game, watching film and performing well in practice for the rest of the week. We can’t take any days off, and we need to concentrate.

Question: Are you glad to have a week off of competition before the next game at Virginia Tech?
: It’s nice to have rest, but honestly I want to get back out on the court as soon as possible after that loss. We are upset and we are ready to step it up in practice.

Question: Last year you did not compete due to an ACL injury. How does it feel to come back from that and be part of the rotation again this year?
: It means a lot. Not many people can come back from an ACL tear. It shows my character, how much I love this team and these girls. It’s for the team that I wanted to come back and help this team as much as I can. That was my main focus last year, trying to get better any way that I could. Sitting on the sidelines, it made me miss the game so much. My focus was to get strong and perform to the best of my abilities this year.

Question: Freshman guard China Crosby will miss the remainder of 2009-10, also with an ACL injury. What advice can you give her?
: The main thing that I’ve told China is to stay positive. That’s all you can do right now, and be the biggest cheerleader you can for your teammates. My other advice is to stay around basketball a lot. Don’t lose your feel for it, get in the gym. It’s important to be there for your teammates, which then helps you get over your injury.

Question: The freshmen class has seen significant minutes this season, and that trend continued at Florida State with Lexie Gerson, Telia McCall and Simone Egwu all contributing. Talk about that group and how they have adjusted to the college game.
: They’ve come along well. We’ve put a lot of pressure on them, because they make up half the team. It’s a big step in your first year, coming from high school and playing in the ACC. They’re handling the pressure well.

Question: Is there anyone from that group that is flying under the radar a little bit but ready for a breakout game?
: Lexie Gerson has been playing well in the last few games. She brings us a lot of energy and that’s what we need coming off of the bench. She provides us with a 3-point threat and she does everything the coaches ask of her.

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