CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- From Green County to Charlottesville plenty of fans and family are excited to see Sam Brunelle in a Virginia uniform.

Brunelle said she heard the lower bowl at John Paul Jones Arena is almost sold out of season tickets for women's basketball. But for Brunelle, she is just excited at the prospect of suiting up on any basketball court again after a long offseason of rehab following shoulder surgery.

"It was a mental struggle for me because I want to be out there and helping the team get better myself, obviously I was doing it from the standpoint of being on the sideline and being encouraging and being a great teammate," Brunelle said, "But I was definitely missing out being out there and being able to do what I can do."
 
Brunelle suffered a torn labrum in her right shoulder during her final season at Notre Dame, but was able to play in eight games following the injury. After the season ended, Brunelle entered the NCAA transfer portal quickly courted by several schools, but committed to her hometown program UVA after her first visit.
 
Offseason surgery on her shoulder followed with nine anchors placed in Brunelle's right shoulder. The William Monroe alum was cleared to return to practice two weeks ago, finally practicing with her new Virginia teammates and new head coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton.
 
"A lot of leadership and involvement came from the sideline because she wasn't cleared," Coach Mox said, "Now that she's back in practice I see her coming into her own and getting back to how she wants to play and getting better too.
 
The brief time on the practice court has shown Coach Mox the glimpses of the player she knew she was getting. For her career, Brunelle has averaged 10 points, four rebounds and 1.5 assists per game, while shooting 32.7 percent from three.
 
"She's a very, very good shooter, we know that, lights out from the three, that didn't go anywhere," Coach Mox said, "But she can handle the ball too, so we're trying to utilize her versatility and put her in positions to do that."
 
Over the past three seasons, Brunelle has seen her numbers drop due to injuries and a lack of playing time. But with her new opportunity with the Cavaliers finally here, she is as optimistic as ever.
 
"That's something super exciting for me right now, getting back into the flow of the game," Brunelle said, "Playing at that high pace again and I know over the next month I'm going to make some great strides."