By Mike Ogle, Special to CNNSI.com
With Nikki Teasley taking the year off for North Carolina (3-3) for personal reasons, many wondered who could fill her shoes. The answer is Coretta Brown.
The sophomore has stepped up as the Tar Heels' starting point guard in Teasley's absence. Brown is dishing out 7.7 assists a game and sports a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. She also averages 15.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
Her predecessor? The heralded Teasley averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists last season as a junior.
Of course it helps to have the ACC's leading scorer, LaQuanda Barksdale, to pass to. Barksdale, last year's conference leader in scoring and rebounding, is at it again, getting 19.2 points a contest.
UNC's Brown down with knee injury
However, Coretta Brown might not have Juana Brown to pass to temporarily.
The preseason Naismith Player of the Year Award candidate went down with a knee injury in a 78-55 loss to Notre Dame in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 3, and is questionable for UNC's conference opener against Maryland. Brown returned to practice on a limited basis on Wednesday, Dec. 6, but might not play against the Terrapins (6-1) on Saturday.
Brown twisted her right knee just over five minutes into the game against the Fighting Irish falling out of bounds while defending a layup. She was diagnosed with a sprain of the lateral collateral ligament.
She is averaging 13.2 points for the Tar Heels.
Virginia's Volnaya named player of the week
Virginia (6-3) continued its monopoly on the ACC player of the week award, this time with the play of forward Svetlana Volnaya. Volynaya became the third Cavalier to earn the distinction in as many weeks this season, following in the footsteps of teammates Telisha Quarles and Schuye LaRue.
The Belarus native averaged 17 points in wins against St. Francis and Old Dominion and a loss at Virginia Tech. She dropped 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the Cavs' 114-63 stomping of St. Francis.
Volnaya, a senior and all-ACC pick, leads the conference in 3-point shooting percentage, having hit 50 percent of her shots (14-28). She is averaging 13.9 points per game.
Exams delay brunt of schedules
The ACC sees its first major action of the season Saturday, when six conference teams match up, but it then takes a break for schools' exam schedules.
No. 3 Duke travels to Clemson, Maryland plays at North Carolina, and No. 24 Virginia heads to Wake Forest for 2 p.m. tipoffs Saturday. N.C. State takes on Texas Tech in Austin, Texas, in the Secret Four in the Fall on Saturday as well.
The only other games before next weekend are three non-conference tilts. Mercer takes on Florida State at 2 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m., while Coppin State tangles with Maryland at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The next ACC tilt doesn't take place until Dec. 30.
Mike Ogle is a reporter for The Daily Tar Heel, the student paper that serves the University of North Carolina.