Thursday, November 30, 2006

7/7 Connecticut Huskies (4-0)

Results: Connecticut 66, Purdue 55
Player of the Game: So. PG Renee Montgomery
Defensive Player of the Game: Jr. SG Mel Thomas
Freshman Player of the Game: Fr. PF Kaili McLaren
Stat of the Game: 46 combined TO's (15 between each team's starting PGs) and only 14 combined steals
The Huskies say they are on a mission and up for the challenge against a very good Purdue team tonight on ESPN2 @ 7pm. In their first real test of the season, new roles shall be tested and leadership roles will or won't be made. Personally, I can't wait to see this match up and am anxious to see how we match up with another Top 10 team. Good Luck Husky Ladies!!!
Game notes (pdf) for today's game vs. 9/9 Purdue Boilermakers.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

They laid the hammer down and laid it down quick and early. A balanced effort from everyone led UConn to a 84-51 easy victory over Boston U. last night. Led by the entire Jr. class, the Huskies showed not only did they bond and develop more chemistry from their trip in Italy but that they want to crush there opponents ASAP (which we haven't had in recent years) as the Huskies again were up 30-something pts. at the half leading 46-15. Geno was able rest his starters and injured players for much of the 2nd half as well as avoided an even bigger rout of Boston U. He was happy with what got accomplished early and allowed his bench to get more PT and experience which will be needed down the road. The only player to get a DNP was Phillips who is evidently in the "dog house".

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

7/7 Connecticut Huskies (3-0)

Results: Connecticut 84, Boston U. 51
Player of the Game: Jr. PG Ketia Swanier
Defensive Player of the Game: Jr. PF Charde Houston
Freshman Player of the Game: Fr. C Tina Charles
Stat of the Game: Rebounds UConn 52, Boston U. 26
The Husky women look to get back to business on the court and it actually mean something. They have a tough week ahead as they readjust to playing in the States and prepare for the game tonight and Thursday's much anticipated match-up vs. 9th-ranked Purdue. Geno is pleasantly suprised at how well they have practiced since returning from a successful trip to Italy on Saturday. He admits he's tired and figured they would be also, but instead they look ready for action. The post has been banged up and hurtin' (literally) lately. They hope to all be healthy again starting tonight against Boston University, especially Hunter who is hungry for more minutes. One person who never has to worry about playing time is Thomas (UConn's returning points leader from last year and this year's points leader as well), who Geno rewards with minutes even when she is often overlooked by many on the outside (in terms of pre- and post-season awards and honors).
Game notes (pdf) for today's game vs. Boston U. Terriers.

Monday, November 27, 2006

In other (more important than any basketball) news...

My deepest, heart-felt sympathies and prayers go out to Arizona State Sr. F Aubree Johnson and her family on the loss of her 15-year-old brother while in the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam over the Thanksgiving weekend (Kudos to the event and Rutgers staff for agreeing to the cancellation of the championship game of the two heavy-weight teams) as well as the sweet-sounding (fellow 15-year-old) basketball phenom 6'0 SF Charnelle Bacon of Caravel Academy in Bear, DE as she fights Osteosarcoma (rare bone cancer) in her left femur. The doctors say, "It doesn't look good" on her ever playing basketball again. Her mom is just glad she's going to be alive. Last year, Bacon was named one of top 5 freshmen by USA Today.

If these kinds of things don't put the importance of winning basketball games and recruiting wars into perspective...I don't know what does!!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The true FINAL Italian diary entry from Kristen Phillips. She discusses her final day in Italy--touring Rome including the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Colliseum, and the U.S. Embassy.

Worthing quoting...

"We left the Coliseum and headed to the U.S. Embassy. We had some time before we were scheduled to be there, so we broke for lunch. Now, don't get me wrong. The food in Italy is delectable. However, after five days of pasta dishes, the McDonald's up the street was looking pretty tasty. Given this, most of us decided to eat there. Clearly we are all competitive, but picture this, Huskies (coaches and/or players) sprinting up the road to get in line for a cheeseburger first! It was pretty funny now that I look back on it ... kind of sad, yet funny!"

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Huskies arrive back in CT today from the trip I would think will turn out to be a very positive influence on the rest of this season. Many 'once in a lifetime' experiences were shared, bonds and deeper friendships were created, and even more chemistry was developed on and off the court. Now onto the rest of the REAL season!!!

Good Luck Ladies...most importantly stay healthy...and all I ask for is you give it your all and leave it out on the court EVERY NIGHT!!!
Here are the final photos from the Huskies trip to Italy. The University of Connecticut women's basketball team concluded its tour on Friday in Rome that included stops at The Coliseum and Trevi Fountain prior to visiting the United States Embassy to tip off the "Toys For Tots" program with members of the U.S. Marine Corps. The team flew out of Rome this morning and arrived back in the United States this afternoon.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Huskies also share with us another set of photos. This time of the Vatican City & Museum, Rome, and some photos from the Napoli game.
In her final 2nd entry from the trip to Italy, Kristen Phillips discusses lessons from history as well as lessons from Geno. She also beautifully captures a picture of Pompeii, the Vatican City & Museum, and the Sistine Chapel (and the work of Michelangelo).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

In their final "road test", the Huskies defeated Viterbo by a score of 81-56. Greene led the way with 22 pts. and 7 rebs., and Hunter and Montgomery turned in a very solid performances finishing with 19 pts. and 6 rebs. and 13 pts., 9 asts., and 6 stls. respectively. Again the team struggled from the line and handling the ball, but I'm sure the TO's were just because of inexperience and unfamiliarity with international rules. I have no excuse for their continued poor free throw shooting although KG did great getting to the line and converting once she got there.
Game notes (pdf) for today's exhibition game vs. Gescom Viterbo.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Huskies continued their tour of Italy on Tuesday with a tour of Pompeii and a 78-57 win over Napoli. The Huskies are spending today in Rome practicing and then going to dinner. They will play their second game of the Italian tour on Thursday against Viterbo. But before tomorrow's game, the team will tour the Vatican Museum. Talk about some pre-game warm-ups!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Houston and Charles led the way with double-doubles as UConn defeated Napoli in its 1st exhibition game in Italy, 78-57. Houston finished with 13pts. and 10 rebs. and Charles finished with 14 pts. and 14 rebs. Nicole Antibe and Kedra Holland-Corn led the way for Napoli with 16 pts. a piece (Antibe also had a double-double with 10 rebs.).

From reading the boxscore, I don't think Geno's very pleased his team's overall performance (i.e. - shooting 12-27 from the charity stripe, coughing the ball up 19 times, and 3 of 5 starters ending up with 4 fouls each), but I'm sure they took some good things away from the game, if nothing more than just more experience for the underclassmen (can McLaren please start playing as well as she does in exhibition games in real games??)
More photos from Italy...this time Geno's ceremony in Montella and the Huskies 1st practice.
Game notes (pdf) for today's exhibition game vs. Phard Napoli.
Follow along with Fr. C Kristen Phillips in Italy as she will be keeping a diary of her trip. In her first entry she discusses seeing the Pope in St. Peter's Square while in the Vatican City, the drive to Sorrento, and the ceremony in Geno's hometown of Montella (pronounced--after much (too much) debate--Mun-TAIL-la, I think!!).
In the first update from their trip in Italy, UConn sends photos from their sight-seeing adventures. The Huskies arrived in Rome on Sunday morning and went to St. Peter's Square for an Open Air Mass. They then drove to Sorrento (about 176 miles away) to check into their hotel before going out for a traditional Italian meal.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Huskies will have a little added bonus on their trip...Bird and Taurasi will join them on their trip in Italy. Now if you can read Italian then you get to read what this says, if not then you can try to understand the translation here.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

When Geno was asked why he chose Italy...because that's where HE wanted to go. Why would he not want to go there...great food...great sights to see...and oh yeah that's where he is from!!! He also says it's a great bonding tool and usually gives him a better sense on what type of team and individuals he has. He also likes the fact that the Huskies play three days after arriving home and will have to adjust quickly then face a tough 5-0 Purdue team, the newly crowned WNIT champions. I just wish I was there in Italy with them (the one place in the world I have always wanted to go)...what an awesome experience that would have been!!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Today, UConn embarks on a 7-day trip to Italy to go sight-seeing in Rome, Pompei, and the Vatican, visit Geno's hometown of Montella for a ceremony to the Hall of Famer, join the U.S. Marine at the U.S. Embassy kick-off the "Toys for Tots" program, and play 2 games against a pair of Italian League professional teams, Napoli on 11/21 (WNBA players Kedra Holland-Corn and Astou N'diaye) and Viterbo on 11/23 (Ex-Baylor star Steffanie Blackmon). Check back next week for the lastest news results from their exhibition games.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Even though she missed a lot of shots--mostly lay-ups or shots within 5 feet, Charles still put on a show last night and led the way with 18 pts., 17 rebs., and 5 blks. as UConn defeated Colgate 81-37. Hunter also put on quite a performance of her own for the crowd, playing the best basketball game of her UConn career finishing with 12 pts. and 10 rebs. in only 11 minutes of action. It was by far and away the best I'm seen her play and if she can give UConn this kind of production througout the season and stay healthy then UConn will be a GREAT team not a great team. Our post and Charles showed an ability to rule the paint, now they just have to settle down and finish the chippies. And like a fine wine, Thomas keeps getting better with age. After quickly brushing aside its first two opponents, the Huskies are now ready to take on some more professionals--this time in Europe.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

7/8 Connecticut Huskies (2-0)

Results: Connecticut 81, Colgate 37
Player of the Game: Fr. C Tina Charles
Defensive Player of the Game: Fr. C Tina Charles
Freshman Player of the Game: Fr. C Tina Charles
Stat of the Game: Points in the Paint-- UConn 46, Colgate 4
Game notes (pdf) for today's game vs. Colgate Red Raiders.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Geno says he's a happy man & happy coach...who can blame him after winning 5 NCAA titles, being inducted into the Women's BBall HOF last May and the Naismith BBall HOF two months ago, and signing two #1 prospects in a row (receiving 6'1 SF Maya Moore's LOI yesterday).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Caroline Doty is quickly becoming a UConn fan favorite and she still has 2 years left to her HS career. Personally, I can't wait to see this girl in action and have to admit that I'm one of thoses fans. She speaks so eloquent and intelligent for a HS junior, and she sounds like a perfect match for the UConn program. She really knows her stuff, has a great family behind her, and is a winner. I just love the fact that she trusts her own instincts and her family supports her decision--no questions asked!
Finally, Geno speaks is allowed to speak about UConn's recruits recruit (Moore will sign her LOI today--then he can speak on her). He says 5'4 PG Lorin Dixon is the real deal maybe the fastest person he's ever seen with a basketball in her hands. Former HS teammate and futue UConn teammate Charles calls her a 'little person' with a 'big heart' and says her strengths are her leadership and ability to be vocal. She also says that Lorin looks up to UNC's 5'4 Sr. PG (and UConn nemisis) Ivory Latta (now that's okay as long as she comes and shoots the lights out for UConn like Latta does for UNC--j/k!!)
Last night, Connecticut opened the season for the 11th consecutive time with a W!! The Huskies defeated the Spiders 84-50 and were led by Jr. co-captain Mel Thomas, who continued her HOTTT shooting last night with 23 pts. (8-14 FGs, 5-8 3pt. FGs), 6 rebs., 4 asts., and 1 stl. Richmond also found it hard to stop both Houston (20 pts., 9 rebs., 3 stl., 2 blks., and 1 ast.) and Greene (14 pts., 7 rebs.). The defense looked good as well, except for a few lapses in the 1st half and especially in the beginning of the 2nd half when Richmond SF Christina Campion who already had 12 pts at halftime reeled off 8 straight points in the opening minutes due to miscommunication between Houston and Montgomery (12 pts., 7 asts., and 3 stls.) 3 possessions in a row. Everyone finally got on the same page and as Campion (20 pts.) wouldn't score again. As many thought, the freshmen showed nerves and the veterans carried the load in the first real game of the season. Charles and co. just need to calm down and they will be fine. Thankfully, next game is back 'home' at Gampel. Hunter saw a little action hitting both her shots for 4 pts. and 3 rebs. in 7 mins.

Shout-out to speedy Swanier who was more than her usual game-changing self, making some great plays and dropping some nice dimes throughout the night.
In recruiting news, the #1 2007 prospect Maya Moore will sign her LOI today at a ceremony at Collins Hill HS and the #12 2008 prospect Caroline Doty discusses her decision to commit to Connecticut early. She says she did her homework on all 5 of her final schools and tried to keep an open mind at all the schools in order to give each school an equal chance. She says she just couldn't shake a gut feeling the Storrs was the right place for her. And unfortunately for the other 4 schools, they didn't have the U.S. Senior National team's starting backcourt for the 2008 Olympics.

"I was sitting in his office with Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi eating Wendy's and just hanging out with them, talking, having normal conversations, feeling comfortable," Doty said. "And I just felt like, 'wow, I could see myself here.' And I wanted to give the other schools an opportunity for me to feel that way, and I did at other schools. It was just that that moment was stuck in my head and it still is."

Doty also insists that her decision to attend UConn is not a guarantee that her good friends 6'1 SG Alicia Manning and 6'5 SF Elena DelleDonne will come as well (but it sure is nice to hope it helps).

Monday, November 13, 2006

8/8 Connecticut Huskies (1-0)

Results: Connecticut 84, Richmond 50
Player of the Game: Jr. SG Mel Thomas
Defensive Player of the Game: Jr. PG Ketia Swanier
Freshman Player of the Game: Fr. C Tina Charles
Stat of the Game: 24 Asts. to 11 TO's (and this after 20+ TO's in both exb. games)
Great news...5'10 Combo guard out of Germantown Acadamy, Caroline Doty has verbally committed to the UConn Huskies. In the end, she went with her gut which told her to come to Connecticut.
The quest for their Tennessee-tying 6th Women's NCAA title begins tonight. They will be led by their unquestionable leader, General Montgomery. Geno admits the feel-good preseason leaves him wary, but he hopes the offense is ready and they (the freshmen) don't suffer 'stage' fright tonight. So as the Huskies look to rev up the offense, Geno says there is no reason to think his team can't score 80-85 a night. The team opens tonight with no seniors, he is looking to depend on the juniors and understands anything to go wrong in the first game. And as we saw from the 2 exhibition games, the Huskies are big upfront and have the potential to be a force inside--no we just wait for that potential to translate into consistent dominance!! For the 2006-07 Huskies, tonight it's time to get real.
Game notes (pdf) for today's game vs. Richmond Spiders.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The starting line-up will remain the same according to the Hartford Courant Blog. Charles will start in her first official game. Her teammates say she brings a "weird, crazy, NY-crazy" style to the court. Charles says this summer with the U-18 U.S. National team helped prepare her for her college career and she's already thinking championships!! The young Huskies are ready to get underway in their quest for a championship of there own, because for only the second time (the other being 1999) in UConn history since the 1995 championship--no players on the team have a ring.
Update on Hunter...

She says as of today she is a GO to play tomorrow in the home opener vs. Richmond and hopes to play 10-20 minutes. While there is a tear in her MCL, she is opting not to undergo arthroscopic surgery at this time. She does admit that if the doctors tell her she can't go because she'll shatter "this, this, and this" then she will stop. She knows she wants to still be able to walk at 35. Geno says everyone is a go for tomorrow's game at this point, but is cautious that anything can happen from now until game time.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

For those of you who are interested in attending the 2007 Paradise Jam, here is more info on the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam Tournament. While all that is listed is the 2006 Paradise Jam info...offered is a better understanding of the tournament--well actually tournaments. You see, the Paradise Jam has two divisions...the St. John's and the St. Thomas. Now while the CT Post reported 6 teams participating in a 6-team field with all the teams guaranteed to play 3 games each (now if all us math freaks of the world do the math--we will realize 6 teams cannot play in a guaranteed 3 games each tournament--8 teams are needed--which is how many they have had each year in the tournament's history of 2 divisions (4 teams per division)), both divisions this year call for 4 teams each...meaning next year's tournament is either different or there are really 8 teams going and the CT Post only has info on 6 of the 8 attending. If the latter is true then no one has any clue on who will be in each division. The only thing I'm guessing is that if there are 2 divisions and since we play Purdue in a home and away series this year and next, (in all likelihood) we probably wouldn't be in the same division as them.

I guess my point is to hold off on booking your tickets until it is finalized on where and when UConn is actually playing.
It's Official...

Lorin Dixon the 5'4 lightning quick PG out of Christ the King HS in NY signed her LOI yesterday. Her father says she welcomes Geno's demanding coaching style and would not be intimidated. Now we sit (or pace!) and (try to) wait patiently for Monday and Tuesday.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Update on Caroline Doty's college decision...she will be announcing the school of her choice this Monday at 3 pm at a news conference at her HS Germantown Academy. She has a final list of Connecticut, Maryland, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Tennessee with a "focus on UConn, Tennessee, and Maryland".
Hot Off The Press...

The CT Post's UConn women's notebook confirms Doty's press conference but says it's at 3pm...discusses Geno's excitement or hesitating excitement about this year's team and its offensive abilities...and last but certainly not least gives us a partial preview of UConn's schedule for next season (Paradise Jam here we come)--just wait til you see the teams--start booking your plane tickets now!!! Plus a trip to San Diego State for Houston's homecoming.
Last night, Thomas chewed up the Jaguars 2-3 zone scoring 28 pts. on 10-16 shooting (6-11 from 3-pt. land) in UConn final tune-up before their home opener Monday by running away from Houston and winning 102-61...hopefully this confident quicker shot will continue to fall throughout the season. Thomas knows she will be the subject to the defense Strother had to put up with her final 2 seasons, but she is ready for the challenge. Montgomery is also up the challenge of living up to being put in the same breathe of great UConn point guards such as Bird, Taurasi, and Rizzotti. Meanwhile, Charles who posted her second straight double-double with 16 pts. and 14 rebs. welcomes the hype and expectations of UConn--she says, "this is why I came here!" and that ladies and gentlemen is why she is one of the country's top freshmen to watch. Greene finally translates great practices into at least one great game.'s Season Preview continues with a breakdown of the Top 6 conferences in the country...UConn is picked to win the Big East (boy did those experts go out on a limb there).

The Hartford Courant also comes out with their WCBB Season Preview...first with a Super 16 then naming 10 players and 10 games to watch...going inside UConn's roster as well as giving fans an in depth look at the ups and downs of the rookie class...also being a limb walker by picking UConn to finish 1st in the Big East...and discussing our Hall of Famer's impact on UConn--the job of a lifetime plus a list of his possible successors when he's all said and done (my vote's for the fisty PG from New Fairfield).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

In more UConn recruiting news, Lorin Dixon will sign her LOI tomorrow at a ceremony at her HS Christ the King and Elena DelleDonne will use the next 6 months to evaluate which of her 5 schools she wants to attend. Caroline Doty will hold a press conference Monday 11/13 to announce which of the 5 schools she has decided to attend. Consenus #1 recruit for the Class of 2007 Maya Moore will sign her LOI Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

AP Preseason Poll is out...and to no suprise, Maryland is #1 (deservedly so). UConn again, like the ESPN/USA Today Preseason Poll, comes in at #8. I have them as #6 and Hartford as #25 on my list as of today.

My Preseason List:

1. Maryland 2. UNC 3. Stanford 4. Oklahoma 5. Tennessee
6. UConn 7. Duke 8. Ohio State 9. Purdue 10. Georgia
11. Rutgers 12. Vanderbilt 13. Arizona State 14. LSU 15. Texas A&M
16. St. John's 17. California 18. Virginia 19. Michigan State 20. DePaul
21. Texas 22. USC 23. Kentucky 24. Louisville 25. Hartford

(had Pittsburgh in my Top 25 until Winn tore her ACL)
Game notes (pdf) for today's exhibition game vs. Houston Jaguars.
According to her coach, McLaren is a work in progress, but all signs are pointing in the right direction. A player with a Janel McCarville-type style to her game and who just needs to get into better shape. Another freshman post, Phillips, should be available tonight while Hunter will sit out again. For Hunter, surgery is a possiblility at this point not a definite. Houston looks to build on last game's performance and is using this season as a fresh start to her UConn career.'s Season preview continues...

Experts pick Houston, Montgomery, and Thomas to lead the way as 3 of the top players at their positions in the country. Hayes thinks UConn could be something special, discusses what Houston has to do to be more consistant, and wonders if anyone in the Big East will challenge UConn this year. Lieberman thinks they will also be aided by Charles, one of the top freshmen in the country and picks UConn to defeat Tennessee in their annual rivalry matchup. In some non-UConn questions, Mowins wonders if Tennessee's Parker can match Taurasi's ability to evalate the play of her teammates and win national championships, she also names Notre Dame as her team on the decline, and Voepel thinks Duke's backcourt of Harding and Waner are the best (hey, where's the love for Maryland's Toliver and Doron and UConn's Montgomery and Thomas).

Now we wait and see how all these 20 questions will be answered.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Recap from the Geno Call-in Show tonight...

1. Hunter has been practicing, but will likely sit out tomorrow's game because she wants to play in the opener vs. Richmond this coming Monday.

2. Phillips has been practicing, but is still experiencing pain in her ankle.

3. Charles has the ability to be an All-American this year and have a Courtney Paris-type impact on UConn, but first she needs to learn how to play defense, block shots, and rebound.

4. McLaren is going to be a really special player as soon as she gets into better shape and can play extended minutes.

5. Greene was really disappointed in herself for the way she played vs. Team Concept. She is tremendously athletic, but right now too nice--needs to develop an edge.

6. Thomas is learning how to be a vocal leader, but she alreadys leads by example. Great shooter and no one is tougher than her.

7. Montgomery runs UConn's plays like Taurasi and Williams and runs it to perfection, which will allow for more motion offense.

8. Gardler is the do-all-the-dirty-work kind of player that UConn needs.

9. Williams is trying to figure out her role for the team. He says she played center in HS and is know learning how to play the guard position.

10. Kerns is improved and stronger than last year, but needs to develop a consistent 15-foot jumper (a la Moore) to play more.

11. Fernandes is learning how to play Division I ball right now, but he is really happy with her and all the freshmen so far.

12. Swanier will see more playing time this year and since the end of last season has started to put things together and playing really well.

13. Houston is FOCUSED!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

UConn's first (and hopefully only) bit of bad news this season...Hunter has a tear in her MCL is will likely be out at least four to six weeks if she opts to have arthroscopic surgery to fix it. She also has the option to play through the pain...but we (and Duke) all know how well that turned out the first time. Let's all pray for a FULL recovery, however long it may take...we need you Feb-Apr not Nov-Jan!!!
ESPN's 2006-07 Women's College Basketball Preview starts today...first up is's Preseason Top 25...

Top 10
1. Maryland 2. Stanford 3. Oklahoma 4. UNC 5. Tennessee
6. Duke 7. UConn 8. Ohio State 9. Georgia 10. Purdue

and Charlie Creme's 1-64 Tournament Projection...

6. UConn 44. Hartford

more to come all week long...stay tuned!!!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

While all is quiet in the UConn basketball world...the UConn field hockey world is glowing with a new Big East Championship in hand. #9 UConn defeated #11 Providence 4-3 on a penalty kick by Jr. Lizzy Peijs with 39 seconds left in regulation. Congratulations Girls!!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

One exhibition game--only one exhibition game...i don't think one player has ever created so much buzz from one exhibition game performance, but that's what Houston has done...practically the entire basketball world (at least the entire UConn basketball world) hasn't been able to stop talking about Houston, her performances in practices and against Team Concept, and most importantly how much she has improved in every area of herself and her she's finally ready to create good memories and forget the old (aka bad) ones...she's even back in the past, present, and future stars of the women's basketball world equation
The Seniors...

For all you fans who don't know...there aren't any!!! No Senior Night until next year...sorry (well not really)
The Juniors...

6'1 PF Charde Houston: holy cow!! what a difference an offseason of almost transferring, being lectured by teammates, refocusing and recommitting yourself to UConn and its history, learning the plays as well as from your mistakes, and getting into better shape makes...she was on fire last night...there wasn't one player on the court who could or was going to stop her...her focus, concentration, and moves were was like a totally (and i'm not at all exaggerating) person and player...drop steps, pull ups, reverse lay-ups, put backs, made FT's, rebounds, wrap around passes, steals, blocks, leadership, hustle...if she even gives us only 75% of what i saw on any given night she'll average 14-17 ppg and 6-8 rpg easily, but if we get 100% of what i saw then we are talking All-American, BE POTY, 18-20 ppg and 8-10 rpg

6'3 C Brittany Hunter: did not play (knee)...please take your time and rest that knee...we need you Feb-Apr not Nov-Jan!!!

5'7 PG Ketia Swanier: fast, faster, fastest...the girl's got speed and now she's also got a shot to go with it...nailed back-to-back treys and looked confident doing it...still the wonderful game changer she has always been...still just needs to make the unspectacular play/pass at the right time instead of trying to make the spectacular play/pass at the wrong time

5'9 SG Mel Thomas: well what can you say about her that no one already doesn't know...Mel is Mel...all out hustle all the shooting night, but don't forget about the experimental 3-pt line that was in are post play improves Mel will have that second longer to make sure most of her 3's go in (which is usually the case when she is set and not rushed)...i look for her to take people off the dribble even more this season and hopefully get to the line much more often
The Sophomores...

5'10 SG Kalana Greene: didn't show us what the coaching staff has been bragging about for the past few weeks, but i'm sure they will fix that problem fast(CD addressed it in the post game interview)...she just has to figure out how to translate great practice play into great game play...although i'm sure having someone like Taurasi defending you and having to defend didn't help matters much...look for her to get into the flow early in next Wed.'s exhibition better as the game went on, nice put backs on the offensive glass, and had some nice moves during set plays--just didn't hit the shots

6'3 PF Cassie Kerns: didn't play much, but only because Houston and Charles were playing so well...does all the dirty work like box out and sets solid screens...with Hunter out she'll definitely see more playing time especially while Geno is yanking the freshmen in and out to coach mistakes...and i'm sure there will be plenty of them

5'7 PG Renee Montgomery: off shooting night, but still Renee was Renee...great floor general who found people in their spots...had many awesome Hammon-like scoop shoots with taller players draped all over her...the undeniable vocal leader of the team...will make up for not fully rising to the challenge of Bird and beat a few too many times last night on defense especially by Williams, but i don't think Geno nor Renee will allow things like that to occur again this season...another thing is she needs to make sure she hits 90-95% of her FT's because the ball will always be in her hands at the key moments in the games and we need our PG to be almost automatic from the charity stripe (see Bird)

6'0 SF Tahirah Williams: still seemed unsure of herself out there...sort of like a deer in headlights, but again facing the likes of the UConn greats didn't help her confidence...there's something special about her that i haven't quite figured out yet, but i look for much better things from her in the future (and hopefully near future)...she's too athletic to not be in the rotation even if it is just for defensive purposes...needs to work on her shot so she can hit the open jumper if and when left open (which will be a lot since everyone on the court will be more of a threat)
The Freshmen...

6'4 C Tina Charles: that's all i can say...i get the feeling that she is going to have the greatest impact that a freshmen has ever had on UConn...she played awesome last night and yet Geno's only had 3 weeks with her...blended in with the vets like she was a vets...made some mistakes, but so did everyone so i wouldn't even call them rookie mistakes--just unfamilarity with each other mistakes...great post moves, handle, rebounding...just needs to work on them FT's...deserves to be in the starting line-up even if Hunter comes back

5'9 PG Jacquie Fernandes: hustler...not even in the game for one minute and dove over the UConn bench through trainer Rosemary to save the ball...obviously nervous, but that was totally expected...went from scholarship at D-111 WCSC to walk-on at D-1 UConn to scholarship at D-1 UConn to guarding All-Everything Diana Taurasi in her very 1st about life changing experiences for one person...she is already a fan favorite and exceeding all expectations

6'0 SG Meghan Gardler: tough...played the best one on one defense on Taurasi last night and that's saying a lot since almost everyone got a shot...very good shooter from anywhere on the court and didn't seem to hestitate even for her 1st game...i don't foresee a redshirt year, but rather a gradual increase in minutes and a steady place in the rotation maybe even ahead of some vets

6'2 PF Kaili McLaren: sweet...has a very nice touch with the ball...great nose for the ball and moved a lot better than i expected...seemed unsure of herself during set plays, but flurished once shots went up...offensive rebounds and put backs...will play 15-20 min/gm and more once she grasps the concepts of UConn style and improves her conditioning

6'5 C Kristen Phillips: did not play (ankle)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Former Husky Barbara Turner update from Israeli League play. Her team is 2-2 and she had 23 pts. (9-12), 4 asts., and 2 rebs. in a 93-56 win for her team Maccabi Ramat Hen...she's averaging 17.8 ppg, 62% 2ptFG%, 6.2 rpg, 32 mpg.
Former Huskies and All-American Huskies returning to Storrs to help out in practice and help make the current roster better has been going on for as long as I can remember, but now Geno says other programs think those days should end.

"God forbid you are to use some of the positives that come out of your program and go forward," Auriemma said. "Maybe we should do a poor job of coaching them and treat them poorly the four years that they're here so they won't want to come back."
She made Gampel glow for 4 years and made it glow again last night. She is always having fun, but is always on top of Her game. Fade away-rainbow 3's, turn-around baseline jumpers, 3-quarter court bombs, pull-up in your face shots, trash talking, jersey grabbin', shot blockin', running defenders into screen after screen, throwin' no-look dimes, touch passes, you name it--She did it. No one does it like or better than Her. She is UConn. She is the best. She is Diana Taurasi, still walkin' the walk and talkin' the talk!!!

Speaking of my father and I drove past the new football practice facility I said to my father, "Where's the new basketball practice facility...they're the ones who have the rings!!"...and he laughed and said, "Your crazy, why would they need one!" But what he doesn't remember is that I went to school here for 4 years, had cheerleading practices in Gampel after the basketball teams, and know that Gampel isn't always available due to other obligations--sending teams to the fieldhouse. I've always thought they needed a seperate practice facility and now it looks as though my thoughts are becoming UConn Athletic Dept. thoughts as well. As UConn A.D. Jeff Hathaway looks to bring UConn Athlethics to the forefront of the collegiate world.
Considered by many the #1 Recruit in the 2008 HS Class, 6'5 wing Elena DelleDonne was in the house Thursday on an unofficial visit to see the Houston & Taurasi show--I mean the UConn vs. Team Concept exhibition game. "It was an awesome atmosphere...the fans are crazy!" she says.
UConn won its exhibition opener last night vs. Team Concept.

Well, the UConn offense looked impressive, especially Houston and the post...the defense on the other hand, needs some work as the Huskies downed Team Concept 101-87. Houston lead the way for UConn with 30 pts. (14-20), 19 (12 off.) rebs., 6 stls., 3asts., and 2 blks. in 28 mins. while, of course, Taurasi lead the way for Team Concept with 31 pts. (11-26), 3 rebs., 4 asts., 3 stls., and 2 blks. in 35 mins. The 4 freshmen (#5 Phillips sat out) combined for 32 pts. and 27 rebs. (mostly Charles and McLaren) and overall looked great in their first outings!!! Check back after 5pm for a player by player and complete game analysis.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Courant says there are 5 things to watch for tonight out of UConn...while Geno says there is 1 thing to watch for tonight out of Team Concept--check that--Taurasi.
Game notes (pdf) for today's exhibition game vs. Team Concept.
Geno's Hall of Fame banner will be unveiled in Gampel prior to the Purdue game on Nov. 30th at 7pm on ESPN2.

Also, two seperate Recognition Nights will be held prior to games (TBA at a later date) to honor the intial group of "Huskies Of Honor"--one for the men and one for the women. These honorees will also have a plaque created on a wall space near the entrances of Gampel. The coaching staff of the respective teams and a committee within the athletic dept. will determine those selected for the initial ceremony and then annually.
Officially, Phillips and Hunter are out for tonight's exhibition game vs. Team Concept. Charles will get the starting nod due to Hunter's injury, but Geno's thinks in some ways she might have earned it anyway. McLaren is also progressing and is expected to see a lot of time tonight. She has finally starting playing rather than playing and coaching. He just hopes they doesn't lose their confidence early because he thinks freshmen take longer to get it back. Someone who is finally confident, especially with her shot, is Swanier.

I hope all you have your tickets...remember exhibition games aren't on TV. Diehard fans debate who to root for here. I'm rooting for UConn to not back down and try their hardest to win and for Team Concept to not pretend and just let us win!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

5 Freshman, including Charles, to watch for this season...and none of them belong to the ACC or SEC.
Preseason awards continue....the 30 preseason Wooden Award candidates were announced today. Suprisingly UConn's Houston makes the cut and not Big East ROTY Montgomery. No offense to Rutgers Vaughn as a player, but where is BE DPOTY Carson, BE ROTY Montgomery, or even BE MIP Thomas. Vaughn didn't even make the BE coaches preseason all-big east team.
Finally, after all these years of great players and teams after great players and teams UConn will recognize "Huskies Of Honor" and replace the old team banners with new ones and add banners of the UConn Greats!!! No retiring of numbers, but it's better than nothing.
Thomas and Montgomery face a tough test tomorrow night as they will take on the starting backcourt for the USA Women's Senior National Team. Talk about having your HANDS full on defense and then having your EAR chewed off on offense....but they are used to it, as many former Huskies come back during the Fall months to scrimmage against the current roster. Ahhhh more Husky Traditions...and just in time for the holidays!!!

Meanwhile, Greene is emerging as the team's star in practice, but I'll be patient and wait to see how it translates to games!!!!
USA Today/ESPN Coaches Preseason Poll is out.....shockingly Maryland is #1!!!! No but seriously, the only real suprise is the 6 (yes 6) Pac 10 schools ranked in the Top 25. I guess injuries, transfers, and loss of seniors don't effect the preseason ranking of some teams.
Hoop Gurlz revises their Top 100 105 twice within 24 hrs....Still undecided Vici Baugh gets bumped up a few spots today and both MSU commit Brittney Thomas and Oklahoma commit Jenny Vining were added yesterday while a few others were upgraded and (yes) some were downgraded as well.