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Junior center Simone Egwu (Odenton, Md.) recently checked in with to recap the team’s big win over No. 3 Tennessee and the Thanksgiving trip to Hawaii and to preview this week’s contest with Indiana. The Cavaliers and Hoosiers face each other Thursday (Dec. 1) at 7 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena as part of the 2011 Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Question: Last week began with an upset victory over third-ranked Tennessee in overtime and ended with a 4,500-mile trip to Hawaii and back. How is the team recovering from the travel and emotional wins and losses?
: The Tennessee victory was so exciting and one of my favorite games that I’ve played in to date. Rushing the floor after and celebrating with my teammates was amazing. We played just like we had practiced – we went hard and played through mistakes and I think it showed on the court. Part of this sport is being able to compartmentalize and that’s really what we did. We played on Sunday and then on Monday we were on a bus to Dulles to fly to Hawaii the next day.

Question: Had you been to Hawaii before?
: I have never been, so when we landed I was so excited that I was taking pictures of everything. I feel as though security may have been looking at me strange.

Question: What were some of the highlights of your free time in Hawaii before the team started playing games?
: We were all extremely jet-lagged. We would fall asleep at 9 p.m., and wake up at 7 or 8 a.m. The first day China (Crosby) and I woke up, we went to wander on the beach and take a bunch of pictures. One night we went to a luau at the resort, which was really cool. We saw some hula and got some Hawaiian food. It was exciting.

Question: So which of your teammates was the best hula dancer?
: Well it depends on the criteria you use to judge. Chelsea Shine was definitely the most enthusiastic.

Question: The squad went 1-2 with a win against Hawaii and losses to Texas and Cal. Talk about playing three games in three days.
: It was a peaks and valleys kind of trip. Losing to Texas was hard, but I think we learned a lot about ourselves on the trip. Even though we ended with a loss to Cal, we caught a glimpse of what this team could be. We’re making steps in the right direction, it’s just going to take a lot more work.

Question: Anyone who knows you knows you are very involved in extracurricular activities here at UVa. What are some of the things you are spending time on away from basketball?
: This has been the craziest semester ever for me. I am writing a column for the Cavalier Daily and I’m on student council for the Diversity Initiatives Committee, we organize things to promote diversity throughout the university. Also I’ve been doing an independent study with Julian Bond this semester. He was active in the civil rights movement and he teaches a class on the history of the civil rights movement. It’s just been cool getting to meet with him one-on-one and having him help me do research for my paper. But it is 30 pages, so that’s pretty stressful. What I’m specifically analyzing is why integration happened differently at UVa than it did at more traditionally Southern universities.

Question: How will the team prepare for Indiana and Richmond?
: Like I said, it’s all about compartmentalizing. We need to take what we can from Hawaii and put it away. Get a lot of rest and get our minds right and ready. We’ll practice Tuesday and Wednesday and be ready on Thursday.

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