Wahoos hope to have Aiyeotan back soon

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Felicia Aiyeotan was on the floor at John Paul Jones Arena on Wednesday for practice with her Virginia women's basketball teammates. Afterward, head coach Tina Thompson didn't rule out a return for 6-9 junior center when the Wahoos host Virginia Tech on Thursday.

"You guys might see her tomorrow night," Thompson said with a smile. "It's quite possible."

Aiyeotan was wearing a brace on her right knee and working against the Cavaliers' starters during a walk-through session late in Wednesday afternoon's practice. Aiyeotan has missed UVA's last 11 games, after getting injured in the first half of the Wahoos' win at home against North Carolina A&T on November 20.

UVA has gone 4-7 without Aiyeotan, playing most of those games with just eight available players on the roster. UVA is 6-9 overall heading into Thursday's game against the Hokies, including back-to-back losses against Pitt and Clemson to open ACC play.

"Oh my gosh, it would be great," Jocelyn Willoughby said of Aiyeotan's potential return. "Just to have another person. Obviously Fee, her length and shot-blocking presence on defense, and just all that she does will help us out a lot."

"Being patient and making sure that she's comfortable on the court and her body's feeling good," Willoughby added. "But having her back would be huge for us."

Aiyeotan was an ACC All-Defensive Team selection as a sophomore last season, after leading the conference with 69 block shots and finishing 11th in the league with 9.8 rebounds per game.

Aiyeotan was averaging 7.3 points and 12.7 rebounds with 11 blocks through UVA's first three games this season. She played just nine minutes against North Carolina A&T before hurting her knee.

"Fee does something for us defensively and offensively that I don't think another player in the country can do, other than (6-7 center Teaira McCowan) over at Mississippi State," Thompson said. "There's not many kids genetically built the way that they are, that kind of just impose their will on a game the way that they can. So her presence is really big for us."



 
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