Friday, November 26, 1999
The former Iolani basketballBy Al Chase
star is feeling some pressure
as a preseason All-ACC pick
There is no question the 1999-2000 college women's basketball season is going to be a very busy and exciting one for Erin Stovall.
The 5-foot-9 junior guard is one of the most talked about players on the Virginia team.
She is Virginia's leading returning scorer and a preseason All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team candidate.
The Star-Bulletin's Ms. Basketball for 1997 is back in Hawaii to lead the Cavaliers in the three-day Asahi Rainbow Wahine Classic that begins tomorrow at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Her parents, William and Rosemarie Stovall are in town for the tournament and her older brother Tre, is a member of the Rainbows.
And, in December, Stovall and former Virginia football player, Antonio Dingle, now a defensive tackle with the Green Bay Packers, will be married in Wisconsin.
"I'm excited about coming back. It's all I've been talking about. It's going to be a lot of fun. I met a lot of great people in Hawaii," Stovall said.
After playing her first three seasons at Woodbridge (Calif.) High School, Stovall transferred to Iolani for her senior year. That experience, being on her own, having her own apartment, made the transition to Virginia much easier.
"Iolani was a great learning experience. It was time for me to grow on my own and learn. Iolani prepared me for the academics and college life," Stovall said.
She was named to the ACC All-Freshman team while starting 13 of Virginia's 29 games last season. She became a starter the first game in January and finished the season with a 14.5 points per game scoring average. She made 43 percent of her field goal attempts, many coming on fast breaks (she's the fastest player in the ACC), and 75 percent from the free-throw line.
Stovall's biggest goal, along with the rest of the Cavaliers, is to bring head coach Debbie Ryan a championship.
"We got Debbie Ryan her 500th win last season, but we've never won a championship since I've been here. We all want to get her a championship of any kind, regular season, ACC tournament and, of course, a national championship.
"Everyone, my brother, my father, my fiance, sets goals for me. I like to take to it game by game. I just want to go out and do my best every night," Stovall said.
Dingle, who met Stovall her freshman year and became her best friend before they started dating, has helped her deal with the expectations surrounding her junior season.
"I talked to Antonio for about three hours recently about how to deal with the pressure," Stovall said. "And, I have great teammates who are helping me get through it. It's going to be about the team and not me. It's still a team game."
The Cavaliers, who were ranked 25th in the ESPN/USA TODAY preseason poll, will be gunning for their first regular season victory after losing their opener to St. Joseph's.
They split a pair of exhibition games, losing to the U.S. National women's team and beating Vologda Russia.
"The U.S. women are the best in nation, best in the world. It kind of hurt to lose by 50 points," Stovall said. "But, everything that went wrong in that game was correctable. Plus, when they win the goal medal in the 2000 Olympics, we can say we held them under a 100 points."