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Shoulder injury

By the time yesterday's crowd at University Hall realized that the loud scream and tears were coming from Dean'na Mitchelson, the Virginia women's basketball team was worrying how they were going to survive without their leading inside presence.

Once the 6-foot-2 starting center left the home opener against St. Joseph's with a dislocated shoulder after just two minutes of play, Coach Debbie Ryan's Cavaliers knew the Hawks were salivating at the prospect of victimizing Virginia's depleted front line.

And dinner was served.

St. Joseph's took advantage of Mitchelson's early exit by dominating the rebounding battle on both ends of the court and using offensive boards and second-chance shots to drive their 73-61 victory. With their strong rebounder's shoulder immobilized in a sling, Virginia was outrebounded 43 to 30 by the Hawks as five St. Joseph's players recorded five boards or more.

"When Dean'na went down today, that really hurt us a lot," Ryan said. "She is our heart out on the boards. We got a lot out of Schuye LaRue and a lot out of Lisa Hosac, but we needed to get more from some other players."

On one pivotal possession midway through the first half, the Hawks pulled down two boards on their offensive end to keep possession from the Cavs. Hawk point guard Angela Zampella launched a long-range jumper from three-point territory that resulted in a long rebound. Zampella then beat the Cavaliers to the ball and dished it to her backcourt mate, Jane Meade. Meade attempted a three that also fell short. But center Jana Lichnerova was able to box out her defender and corral the ball for the Hawks before returning it to Zampella, who ended the possession by finally sinking a trey.

"I don't think [that Mitchelson's injury] gave us an advantage," Lichnerova said. "We were just going to box out on every shot and limit their second shots."

The Cavaliers matched St. Joseph's with eight offensive rebounds, but the Hawks were able to convert more of their follow-up shots -- and scored 12 second-chance points to Virginia's six.

"We count on Dean'na to give us 10 to 12 rebounds a game," Ryan said. "You have to have a player like Dean'na in your lineup.

"If you want to compete, you better get to the boards because the playing time is going to be taken up," she said.

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