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March 23, 2010
4:12 p.m.

AMES, Iowa — While her teammates practiced Saturday at Iowa State’s Sukup Basketball Complex, freshman China Crosby shot by herself at a side basket.

UVa could have used a healthy Crosby the next night in the NCAA tournament’s first round. The fifth-seeded Cavaliers’ season ended with a 69-67 to loss to No. 12 seed Wisconsin-Green Bay at Hilton Coliseum.

That was the Wahoos’ 18th straight game without the 5-6 Crosby, who suffered a season-ending knee injury Jan. 2 at Colorado. She’d started the first 13 games at point guard, averaging 5.9 points, 2.3 assists, 2 rebounds and 1.2 steals.

“Usually when I get hurt, I bounce right back up,” Crosby said. “It’s been difficult, but my teammates have been there for me.”

Crosby, from New York City, is the first McDonald’s All-American to enroll at UVa since Monica Wright in 2006. She shot only 29.1 percent from the floor this season but contributed in other ways.

“She really controlled a lot of what we did,” UVa coach Debbie Ryan said Saturday, “and she gave us another scorer on the floor. Obviously, losing her was difficult, and it took a little time to handle the transition.”

Dr. Eric Carson operated on Crosby’s left knee Jan. 28 and repaired her torn anterior cruciate ligament. She was off crutches about 2½ weeks later and continues to progress rapidly in her rehab.

“She is way ahead of schedule,” said Paul Murata, UVa’s athletic trainer for women’s basketball. “I credit that to Dr. Carson and to China herself. She is the best athlete-patient in terms of doing what she has to do.

“The hardest part for me right now is keeping her slowed down.”

If Crosby’s recovery continues at this pace, Murata said, she should be cleared to play by the start of the 2010-11 academic year. And that would be excellent news for a team that must replace Wright, the ACC player of the year and UVa’s all-time leading scorer.

Jeff White

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