Blue redefines guard role on Virginia women's team



December 08, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

LaTonya Blue ducks out of the Virginia women's basketball spotlight every chance she gets.

"I always felt like I didn't need to be in the big spotlight, being the leading scorer or leading various stats or anything," said the former St. Frances standout who was The Sun's 2001 All-Metro Player of the Year. "I always felt like the little things sometimes count more than the big things. If it's the little things that take for me and my teammates to come out on top or succeed, then that's what I would do. So I'm happy and content with the way my career has been at Virginia."

Her career has been spectacular at times, such as when she scored a career-high 26 points as a freshman against N.C. State, and had a personal-best 13 rebounds and 10 points as a junior last season in a victory over Maryland.

Blue registered a career-best 10 assists and 11 points in a win over the Wolfpack last season. Other top performances were eight steals last season against Arizona and four three-pointers against North Carolina as a sophomore.

Virginia coach Debbie Ryan said of the third-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference pick last season, "LaTonya is one of the best combo guards in the country and that will be evident from tipoff this season. She has prepared herself to give us more scoring both inside and out, and her mid-range game will be tough to defend. Blue is a defensive stopper who is invaluable to this program."

However, this is a career that is more about consistency and team accomplishments.

"Our team goal is to make the final four and to win the ACC championship," said the 5-foot-11 senior.

Blue has settled at shooting guard this season for the Cavaliers (5-3) after playing mostly the point the previous three seasons. However, she returns to the point when freshman starting point guard Sharnee Zoll needs a rest.

That accounts for a team-high 34 minutes a game along with the team lead in assists (44), steals (16) and free-throw shooting (84.0 percent on 21-of-25). Blue is second in scoring (10.4 ppg) and third in rebounding (6.0) for the Cavaliers.

Fast start at Ohio

Former Cardinal Gibbons standout Leon Williams has had a strong start as a freshman power forward for Ohio University (3-0).

Williams (6-8, 245 pounds) played a major role in Saturday night's 90-55 romp past Navy with 16 points and five rebounds. The first-team All-Metro choice last season is shooting a team-leading 65.2 percent, is averaging 12.0 points, which ties him for the team lead, and is first in rebounding (7.7).

Fauntleroy first

Najmah Fauntleroy (Arundel) scored a team-high 16 points Monday night for Delaware State in a 71-47 loss to Florida, raising her team-leading scoring average to 13.5 points.

The 6-1 Fauntleroy also leads the team in rebounds (5.5) and is shooting 55.3 percent from the field. The junior has hit five of 11 three-point shots.

Et cetera

Delaware State's Mandy Clark (Milford Mill) was selected the preseason women's basketball Player of the Year in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference for a second straight season, but Clark, a senior, is academically ineligible for the first semester and won't be able to join the team until Dec. 22.

Winthrop junior cross country runner Carrie Selmer (Glenelg) has been honored as the 2004 Big South Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Selmer compiled a 3.9 grade point average and earned All-Big South recognition by finishing eighth in the 5K championship race with a time of 18:36.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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