Q & A With Chelsea Shine
Virginia sophomore forward Chelsea Shine (Wayne, Pa.) recently checked in with VirginiaSports.com to preview the Cavaliers’ first-round NCAA Tournament appearance vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay. The game, being played at Iowa State’s Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, begins at 7:21 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Sunday, March 21. It is being televised by ESPN2.
Question: What was your first reaction when you saw Virginia vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay in Ames, Iowa, pop up on the screen during the selection show?
Shine: First of all, we were just so excited. I wasn’t at the selection show last year because I had a test in a class, but it’s actually really nerve-wracking having to sit there and wait and wait. Especially since the bracket we ended up in (Dayton Regional) was not announced until last. We’re very excited about being a fifth-seed, and Green Bay is a good team. We’re all just looking forward to getting off to a good start in the tournament.
Question: Iowa State ranks third in the nation in home attendance. Is the team excited for the large, Midwestern crowds?
Shine: Yes, for Green Bay and obviously especially Iowa State, it is more of a home atmosphere. Last year at the NCAA Tournament, we were on a completely neutral court (in Los Angeles, Calif., vs. Marist) in the first round. The game is going to feel like another game on the road. We play in the ACC and we’ve been exposed to hostile and huge crowds. And some of our fans will be represented in Ames! We like playing in front of big crowds whether they are cheering for you or against you.
Question: Is anyone from your family making the trip?
Shine: Yep – my Dad booked his flight. I know Lexie Gerson’s Dad will be there too.
Question: UVa’s last game was March 5 at the ACC Tournament, and your next game is March 21. How has it been having that much of a break between competition?
Shine: After the unfortunate loss at the ACC Tournament, we came back and regrouped. We had a hard couple of days of practice and focused on Virginia. For the last couple of weeks, it was nice to be able to just focus on us. Then we found out our first-round opponent, so we will be able to get ready for them over the next couple of days to get ready for Sunday. The break has also given us a chance to simulate the first-and second-round schedule of hard days of playing mixed with days off.
Question: How will you explain the NCAA Tournament experience to the five first-years on the roster?
Shine: Like any first-year experience, you are just getting things under your belt and learning the system. Last year, I was just learning. They are so excited to be on the big stage.
Question: How has it been competing with a player like Monica Wright for two years?
Shine: It flew by! I love being a part of The Monica Wright Era. You don’t even realize the caliber of player you have for a teammate until it is winding down. I’ve enjoyed being surrounded by the type of leader and person she is. And the character she shows on and off the court everyday consistently. We’re definitely going to miss that next year, but we’re going to try and have her stick around for as long as possible in this tournament.