Stattmann, Woldetensae: Healthier, contributing for Virginia

uva basketballVirginia basketball fans have been waiting for Tomas Woldentensae and Kody Stattmann to start making those threes.

Finally.

“I thought Kody and Tomas gave us a lift,” said UVA coach Tony Bennett, aka Mr. Understatement.

Coming into the Cavaliers’ game with seventh-ranked UNC, Stattmann was shooting 25 percent from the field and 7.1 percent from three-point range.

Woldetensae: 20.6 percent from the field, 14.3 percent from three.

You knew that it was going to get better, that neither had just suddenly forgotten how to shoot the ball, but eight games in, you also started wondering.

After a sluggish start for both teams, it was back-to-back threes by Casey Morsell and then Woldtensae midway through the first half that gave the ‘Hoos a working margin.

Woldetensae buried another one late to send Virginia into the break up six.

Stattmann, who has been hindered by an undisclosed illness that kept him out of the lineup for four games, had a breakaway layup and an open three early in the second half as Virginia built that lead to double digits.

Stattmann finished with seven points on 3-of-9 shooting, and Woldetensae put in a career-high 11 on 3-of-7 shooting, 3-of-4 from three.

Not lights-out numbers, necessarily, but the shots started falling, and the confidence that the makes seemed to instill seemed to help open things up for their teammates.

Which was huge for a Virginia team that needed a shot of confidence after that ugly 69-40 loss at Purdue earlier in the week.

“For sure coming home everyone was a bit upset of course after coming off of a big loss like that,” Stattmann said. “We just threw it behind us and had a good week of practice to get our minds ready for this game and ended up coming away with a win, which was big for us.”

Stattmann talked about the issue with his health after the game, saying he’s “still not 100 percent, still trying to get my fitness back, because I didn’t really do much in that time. I was in bed for a lot of the time.”

“Tonight, I struggled a little bit in the first half with my fitness, but in the second half I felt a little bit better,” Stattmann said. “Getting more comfortable with the game again is going to come but I already feel more comfortable, so that’s a good thing.”

Woldentensae’s improvement is also the result of working back toward full health after spending a good bit of time in the offseason recovering from a wrist injury.

“I’ve been trying to work hard on coming back from a wrist injury, and I’ll say that maybe that affected my mind a little bit on shooting. But just taking one step at a time, and I’ll be back,” Woldetensae said.

Story by Chris Graham

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