When the UVa women's basketball team opens up their season Friday Nov. 8 at James Madison, seniors Lexie Gerson and Kelsey Wolfe will be returning to the floor after missing time with injures.
Gerson missed the entire 2012-2013 season while recovering from hip surgery. "Can't wait, I'm very very excited," she says of her return. "Just gotta calm down, I'm going to be a little too excited. But I'm just thankful that I have the opportunity to come back, because a lot of people don't get that, so I'm going to be playing for all those kids this year for sure."
Kelsey Wolfe suffered a season-ending ACL injury against Maryland on Feb. 17 and missed the remainder of the season. On Friday, Wolfe said she is "100% ready to go, but you know I still have some work to do, just getting in game shape and getting the feel back, so it'll come."
Wolfe and Gerson are captains this season, along with returning All-ACC First Team selection Ataira Franklin. Franklin was also named to the preseason All-ACC team by both the coaches and media in October.
"I've have a couple veteran guards, a lot of youth, trying to mesh that together, trying to figure out what a good system would be for them," head coach Joanne Boyle says of her team's mix of youth and experience.
The Cavaliers open up with a non-conference game against the Dukes, but can expect even tougher tests once they begin ACC play. Duke, Notre Dame, and Maryland are all ranked in the top ten of the preseason AP poll, with North Carolina right behind at number twelve. The Fighting Irish are new to the conference this year, along with Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
"It really does make the ACC the best conference in the country when it comes to women's basketball," said Boyle. "What you hope as a coach is that there's so much depth in the conference that eventually we're getting 7, 8, 9 teams in the tournament, and that's why you make a conference so heavy like that."
"Knowing that we could potentially get 6, 7 teams in the tournament, I love that," added Gerson. "I love knowing that every single game, we're going to have to fight. It could be anyone's game, and I love knowing that going into each game."