Record: 19-16 (5-9 ACC). Finish: Loss in Sweet 16 of WNIT vs. Charlotte.
MVP: Ataria Franklyn
Franklyn beats out Moorer and Egwu based partially on her status as a first-year phenom. She was second on the team with 9.4 points a game and shot a torrid 48% from behind the arc (Tony Bennett, take note). She was named ACC Sixth Player of the year and VaSID State Rookie of the Year. Look out for her to continue to explode in her next three years.
Overview: The 2010-2011 Lady Cavaliers had big shoes to fill right away, those of departed senior legend Monica Wright. Without Wright's steady hand, the young team underwent plenty of inconsistency, looking talented and promising at times, but lost and undisciplined too often. After a decent start to the season, which included a win over ranked TCU in the Virgin Islands but failures to convert opportunities against some elite teams, the Hoos struggled down the stretch. Coach Debbie Ryan, legendary UVA coach and face of the program for the last 34 seasons, would announce her resignation at the end of the season; the team bonded around her to pull off a thrilling tournament run to the Sweet 16 of the WNIT tournament. After an up and down year, it was fitting that Debbie Ryan would end her Hall of Fame career on an upswing, one that the Hoos should continue into next season.
Season Highlight(s): The WNIT Quarterfinal run. After not competing to make the NCAA field and losing in the first round of the ACC tourney, it was important for the team and for Ryan not to end the season on a low note. While each of UVA's tournament games could have been Ryan's last, the team fought and ultimately maximized her time in JPJ. Even the season-ending loss to Charlotte included a gritty late-game comeback that did the Coach proud.
Season Lowpoint(s): I'd go with the 73-50 midseason loss to a middling BC squad. Boston College scored the game's first 20 points, a depressing start, especially at home.
Future Outlook: Positive. Considering the academic background and ridiculous facilities UVA women's basketball is endowed with, the fact that the program has not seen great recent success should change soon. Joanne Boyle, a fresh face hired from Cal, will preside over the emergence of the young team in the 2011-2012 season. It should be an exciting time to support both the girls and Tony Bennett's squad at John Paul Jones Arena.