Friday, March 07, 2014
Quite the haul of awards for UConn
Breanna Stewart was named the conference's player of the year, joining Kerry Bascom (the player UConn coach Geno Auriemma compared her to after the awards ceremony), Svetlana Abrosimova and Maya Moore as the only sophomores from UConn to earn conference player of the year honors.
Stewart finished second in the league in scoring and blocked shots and was in the top 10 in field-goal percentage, 3-point percentage, rebounding, assists and steals.
"I don't know if I expect them but I have individual goals for myself and I want to be considered the best player in the conference, the best player in the country and as a competitive person I want to be looked at as the best person I can be and I can go pretty far with that," Stewart said.
UConn's Stewart, Auriemma receive top conference honors
Stewart scored in double figures in every American Athletic Conference game with 10 20-point games and six double-doubles as UConn won each AAC game by at least 17 points.
Stewart became the fourth UConn sophomore to earn conference player of the year honors as Kerry Bascom, Svetlana Abrosimova and Maya Moore earned the Big East’s top honor as sophomores.
She needs three assists to join Moore as the only UConn player with at least 500 points, 200 rebounds, 100 assists, 50 steals and 50 blocked shots in a season. Moore also accomplished the feat during her sophomore season.
If Stewart does hit triple digits in assists it will be just the second time in program history that UConn has four players with at least 100 assists as Moriah Jefferson, Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson have more than 100 assists. During the 2010-11 season Moore, Kelly Faris, Tiffany Hayes, Hartley and Lorin Dixon all had more than 100 assists.
Auriemma adds the AAC honor to the 10 Big East Coach of the Year honors as he guided UConn to its seventh perfect regular season and 10th undefeated run through conference play.
UConn opens play in the AAC tournament at 2 p.m. on Saturday against the winner of the Cincinnati/Central Florida game. All four quarterfinals are not being televised and are being shown only on ESPN3.com. UConn’s game will be broadcast on WTIC 96.5 FM.
Former UConn star eyeing a second straight EuroCup title
In the two-game series, which is determined by total points scored in the series, Charles' stat line were eerily similar.
She was 9 of 13 from the field and 3 of 5 from the free-throw line as she had 21 points, two assists and a blocked shot in each game. Only Charles' rebounding numbers changed as she went from pulling down eight rebounds in the first game to having 13 in the second one.
Charles, who helped Dynamo Moscow to the 2013 EuroCup title, gets a chance to do it again as Dynamo Moscow defeated Villenueve D'Ascq 86-66 in game two after falling 89-83 in the opener.
Former Connecticut Sun guard Lindsay Whalen averaged 14 points and 5.5 assists in the semifinal series.
Dynamo Kursk also advanced to the finals despite splitting games in the semifinals. With a roster featuring WNBA stars Seimone Augustus, Epiphanny Prince and Candice Dupree, Dynamo Kursk won the first game 86-72 over Istanbul Universitiesi.
Game one in the championship series is March 20 and the second game is set for March 27.
Labels: Tina Charles
UConn recruiting target honored
Durr is averaging 24.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.5 steals per game and she will lead her St. Pius X squad against Buford in Georgia's Class AAA title game tomorrow. Durr has eight 30-point games as a junior which is an even more impressive number when you factor in the fact that her team is only averaging 57 points per game.
BROADCAST INFO FOR TOMORROW'S GAME
Just a reminder that tomorrow's AAC quarterfinals will not be televised but a live stream is available at espn3.com. Also, due to a conflict with the UConn/Louisville game, the game will be on WTIC 96.5 FM
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Four UConn players named first team All-AAC
|UConn seniors Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley were |
unanimous All-American Athletic Conference selections
Senior center Stefanie Dolson was named the conference’s defensive player of the year and shared the sportsmanship award with Louisville’s Tia Gibbs..Dolson also joined Breanna Stewart and Bria Hartley as unanimous All-AAC selections while Moriah Jefferson was also named to the first team. Louisville's Shoni Schimmel and Keena Mays of Southern Methodist were also unanimous All-AAC selections.
Dolson finished second in the league in rebounding, averaging 9.4 per game, and was fourth in blocked shots (2.3 per game) while leading the conference with a 78.6 free-throw percentage.
Stewart was second in the league in scoring (19.5 points per game) and finished in the top 10 in rebounds, field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage, blocked shots, 3-point percentage and 3-pointers made. Hartley’s scoring average of 16.6 points ranked fifth among AAC players while Jefferson led the conference in field-goal percentage, assists and assists/turnover ratio.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who missed seven conference games due to an elbow injury and bout with mononucleosis, was named to the second team as was Kiah Stokes while Saniya Chong was selected to the all-freshman team.
The player of the year, coach of the year, freshman of year and scholar-athlete of the year are among the awards being announced at a press conference on Friday at 4 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena, the site of the conference tournament.
American Defensive Player of the Year
Stefanie Dolson, UConn, Sr., C
American Most Improved Player of the Year
Asia Taylor, Louisville, R-Sr., F
American Sportsmanship Award
Stefanie Dolson, UConn, Sr., C
Tia Gibbs, Louisville, R-Sr., G
American Sixth Player of the Year
Rateska Brown, Temple, Jr., G
All-Conference First Team
*Stefanie Dolson, UConn, Sr., C
*Bria Hartley, UConn, Sr., G
Moriah Jefferson, UConn, So., G
*Breanna Stewart, UConn, So., F
Sara Hammond, Louisville, Jr., F
Asia Taylor, Louisville, R-Sr., F
*Shoni Schimmel, Louisville, Sr., G
Ariel Hearn, Memphis, So., G
Kahleah Copper, Rutgers, So., G
Courtney Williams, USF, So., G
*Keena Mays, SMU, Sr., G
All-Conference Second Team
Jeanise Randolph, Cincinnati, Sr., F
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, UConn, Jr., F
Kiah Stokes, UConn, Jr., C
Bria Smith, Louisville, Jr., G
Betnijah Laney, Rutgers, Jr., G/
Tyler Scaife, Rutgers, Fr., G
Alisia Jenkins, USF, So., F
Inga Orekhova, USF, Sr., G
Akil Simpson, SMU, Sr., F
Feyonda Fitzgerald, Temple, Fr., G
Natasha Thames, Temple, R-Sr., F
*Zykira Lewis, UCF, Fr., G
Bianca Quisenberry, Cincinnati, Fr., G
Saniya Chong, UConn, Fr., G
Emmonnie Henderson, Louisville, Fr., F
Breigha Wilder-Cochran, Memphis, Fr., G
Mooriah Rowser, Memphis, R-Fr., G
*Tyler Scaife, Rutgers, Fr., G
Ariadna Pujol, USF, Fr., G
*Kiara Perry, SMU, Fr., G
*Feyonda Fitzgerald, Temple, Fr., G
Taylor Robinson, Temple, Fr., C
* denotes unanimous pick
3 UConn players on Wooden Award ballot
The trio have started every game this season for the Huskies and are the top three scorers for the nation's No. 1 team.
The Wooden Award Player of the Year will be announced next month at a gala in Los Angeles.Igt s
RATINGS FOR UCONN/LOUISVILLE GAME
It should come as a surprise to pretty much nobody that Monday's UConn/Louisville game drew rather impressive ratings in the Hartford and Louisville markets.
Here's the info I got from ESPN's Gracie Blackburn.
Monday’s game did a 9.4 metered market rating in Hartford and an overall final US rating of a 0.4 and more than 603,000 viewers. In Louisville the game set a local record with a 7.5 metered market rating, the highest regular season women’s college basketball market rating for ESPN2 in Louisville on record. (Records go back to 02).
HOLMES HONORED BY BIG 12
Former Hillhouse High star and New Haven Register State Player of the Year Bria Holmes was one of four unanimous All-Big 12 selections.
Holmes was the leading scorer for a West Virginia team which were co-Big 12 regular-season champions.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
UConn's Jefferson spreading her wings
It took 18 games during her freshman year before Jefferson made more shots than she missed and now Jefferson finished the regular season with a 59.4 field-goal percentage in American Athletic Conference play.
"I am proud," Jefferson said. "It (shows) that we can do it and it is not just the post players."
As Jefferson mentioned, post players are typically atop the field-goal percentage list as Kiah Stokes leads the team with a 62.8 mark in all games but she hasn't attempted enough shots to qualify.
Jefferson's overall FG percentage of 56.9 edged out Stefanie Dolson's mark of .566 for the team lead.
"It means she doesn't take a lot of shots but the ones she takes, she really maximizes her attempts," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "God bless her, she has worked really hard at it, she's gotten herself to be better with the ball, to be a better shooter, to make better decisions. When you have four other starters like we have, all you have to do is find them and get them the ball.One of the biggest question marks coming into the season was what was she going to do? Well, she's been great."
Jefferson also led the AAC in assists and assist to turnover ratio. How rare is it for a player to lead the conference in assists and FG percentage? Well, it has never been done in the history of the UConn program and Jefferson is the only Division I women's player to lead her conference in both categories. No other Division I player other than Jefferson led her conference in assists while shooting better than 50 percent from the field and 19 of the other 31 conference assist leaders shot less than 40 percent from the field.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Another title for former UConn star
UConn's all-time leading scorer led Shanxi to the WCBA title in her first season and she powered the squad to its second straight title.
Moore had 39 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and six steals as Shanxi defeated Beijing 82-73 to win the best of five game series 3-1.
In the four games Moore averaged 43,3 points, 8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 8.3 steals in the championship series and 39.6 points, 13.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 4.6 steals in the playoffs.
Labels: Maya Moore
Mosqueda-Lewis comes through again for UConn
She did not make the same immediate impact during her return after being sidelined for four games with mononucleosis as the All-American missed seven of her 10 shots including six of her seven 3-point attempts in Saturday's win over Rutgers.
After the Rutgers game UConn coach Geno Auriemma predicted that Mosqueda-Lewis would play much better against Louisville on Monday. Mosqueda-Lewis made her coach look pretty good as she had 13 first-half points including a pair of 3-pointers less than three minutes apart as UConn erased early deficits of seven and six points to complete a perfect regular season with a 68-48 win.
"(Breanna Stewart) was struggling a little bit so we had to pick up the slack somewhere," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "Luckily I was hitting shots and I was open and it worked out."
So how is she feeling after playing two games in three days?
"I'm a little tired but I am good, we are getting some time off," Mosqueda-Lewis said.
Mosqueda-Lewis didn't score in the second half although she did have three rebounds to complete her second double-double of the season.
"She came out in the first half and looked like she hadn't missed a beat, hadn't been injured, hadn't been sick with mono but like in the last game I think it caught up with her playing a lot of minutes and she is not ready for it. She struggled a little bit in the second half.
"Like good players are wont to do, they are going to find a way to impact the game a little bit even when they are not scoring. She did a little bit of that defensively, a little bit on the rebounding end of it and she is only going to get healthier and healthier, she is not 100 percent."
With no game until UConn plays either Central Florida or Cincinnati in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament on Saturday at 2 p.m., the Huskies have some time to catch their breath and nobody could benefit more from that break between games than Mosqueda-Lewis.
Labels: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
Monday, March 03, 2014
Quite a night at KFC Yum! Center
Seeing members of the tribe that Louisville All-American candidate Shoni Schimmel was raised on before the game only drove home that point.
I also was struck by the classy move of UConn coach Geno Auriemma keeping his players on the bench when the Louisville players were being honored which is something that few very teams have done when UConn holds it own ceremony to honor the graduating seniors.
"We play them for four years, we compete against them and their coaching staffs," Auriemma said. "They are honoring their seniors and so are we. I think it is something that we have always done and something we will always do. I think it is important to compete really hard against your competition but at the same time but when it is time to recognize them and it is time to honor them, we need to be there. I know a lot of teams don't like it, they go off the court and do their own thing but I want my kids to be out there and I want them to see it. By the same token, some schools don't do a great job on Senior Night and I feel bad for those kids. These guys did a great job on Senior Night.
"I don't know the name of the tribe that Shoni comes from but they were all on the court, that is the most people I have ever seen on the court on Senior Night and I saw everybody come out, I thought 'you just don't ever see this on Senior Night.' I thought it was really cool so I am glad I stayed out and saw it."
So were his players.
"All their seniors really deserved that and it was great to have such good fan support here with them," UConn sophomore forward Breanna Stewart said.
After the game the Louisville players signed autographs until the last fan left the building serving as a capper on a memorable night at the arena.
"I'm not sure (Shoni) had anticipated that it would get to this point," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. "I know our run last year in the NCAA tournament had a big impact. She and Jude were on the speaking circuit all last summer, going from reservation to reservation, speaking and sharing their story, giving hope to a lot of kids. This entire year I've tried to tell people that. We played at Oklahoma and we probably got close to 2,000 Native Americans come and watch that game. We played at Memphis the other day and, I think, set their attendance record since they renovated their arena. And three-fourths of them were Native Americans. Every place we go, there's a big following for (Shoni and Jude). What we're doing now is just not the basketball part of it. It's signing autographs afterwards. Our entire team does a great job of making sure they give back."
Defense never rests at UConn
Louisville made seven of its first nine shots and nine of the first 13 and seemingly could get any shot it wanted whenever it wanted.
With UConn facing its largest deficit of the season (16-10), UConn went away from playing man to man defense and went with a swarming 1-2-2 zone which threw a senior-laden Louisville team off. The Cardinals missed 10 of its final 13 shots in the first half and were held scoreless for nearly 9 1/2 minutes in the second half as UConn finished off a perfect regular season with a 68-48 victory.
"I think in second half we really dug down defensively," said UConn sophomore forward Breanna Stewart, who led the Huskies with 22 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots. "We were getting good looks at the basket and the shots weren't falling but we held them scoreless or force them to take a bad shot and that is what we wanted.
"Louisville is a great team. This is a great game to play, it is the last regular-season game and it is at Louisville, it is hostile environment and you know it sends us into the postseason on a really good note."
UConn coach Geno Auriemma was happy with how the Huskies responded defensively after a rugged start.
"I knew at some point our defense was going to get settled down and at some point they were going to stop shooting 70 percent from the floor," Auriemma said. "I think the hardest thing with the new rules is to defend people off the dribble. They made a concerted effort to get a lot of shots off the dribble and I was OK wit that because we are not going to foul that much, they are going to shoot a lot of 2s and give us 3s at the other end that is not a bad trade for us.
"We made a couple of adjustments and we changed a couple of things at the game went on and in the second half we gave them a couple of different looks depending on who they had in the game. When we had Kiah Stokes in the game it was very difficult to all of sudden get anything inside."
Live blog running during UConn/Louisville game
If you have a question, feel free to submit it and I will do the best I can to get to it.
UConn goes after outright AAC title
Sunday, March 02, 2014
UConn's Mosqueda-Lewis back into the fray
Apparently, I was not alone.
"Somebody, I think it is Warde (Manuel, UConn's athletic director), said 'what do you think you are going to get out of Kaleena today?' I said 'I am going to start her and hope to play her 40 minutes.' He said 'no way, the first time she doesn't make it up the court you are going to take her out.' I said 'no I'm not. I am going to play her for as long as I can to get her back into game mode. It is not unlike golf, you can practice all you want but you need to play in tournaments, you need to play basketball to be in basketball shape, you need to play in games. She looked good at times and looked not so good at times but Monday she will play a lot better that she did today."
Mosqueda-Lewis finished with seven points (on 3 of 10 shooting), three rebounds and three assists.
"It felt really good, no side effects, I am not tired and I am good," Mosqueda-Lewis said.
"It was really important for me to get going and get into a game setting. I was just trying to get my shots no matter where they were, get the ball to my teammates when they were open."
Mosqueda-Lewis received a huge hand from the sellout crowd when she was introduced as a starter.
"It was special, we have the best fans in the country," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "A lot of people have been sending letters and sending emails telling me to get better and get well soon."
Labels: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
Saturday, March 01, 2014
Look at UConn's Senior Day via Tout
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis returns to the lineup after missing the last four games with mononucleosis
Stefanie Dolson gets her moment in the spotlight before the Rutgers game.
Bria Hartley honored on Senior Day and inducted into Huskies of Honor
National championship field hockey team recognized during a timeout
Stefanie Dolson scores in lane in the second half
Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley leave the game with 1:50 remaining
Stefanie Dolson thanks the fans for turning out on her special day
Stefanie Dolson was all smiles after the game
Bria Hartley reflects on a special day that she'll never forget
Geno Auriemma discusses the legacy of his two senior stars
Dolson set to join select company at UConn
Well, with five rebounds today she will become just the fifth UConn player to pull down 1,000 career rebounds and join Tina Charles, Maya Moore and Rebecca Lobo as the only Huskies with 1,500 career points and 1,000 rebounds.
"It is a special moment and special accomplishment ," Dolson said "It is crazy to think I am on the list as any of those players. Those have been some of the greatest players to come through here. I just tried to come in here and get better at everything I could. I am proud of myself for getting to the point I have been able to get to.
"I wasn't thinking about that initially but to know lately that I could get that, it is going to be very exciting for me because I didn't come in as a great rebounder and it is something I worked on and got a lot better at."
Share of title on the line for UConn
Louisville is a game behind first-place UConn and the Cardinals play at Cincinnati at 2 p.m. today. If Louisville wins as it is expected to and UConn beats Rutgers that would still give Louisville a chance to earn a share of the title with a win over the Huskies on Monday. If that were to happen, the No. 1 and 2 seeds would likely come down to a coin flip.
As of right now the only team locked into a seed is Houston at No. 10. Houston is 1-15 in conference play and even if the Cougars won out and tied Central Florida in the standings, they would lose the first tiebreaker since the Cougars were 0-2 against UCF.
Rutgers and South Florida are locked into the top four. If South Florida beats SMU today that would set up what is pretty much a playoff for the No. 3/4 spots (barring a stunning upset by Rutgers today) on Monday. The only way Central Florida could get out of the No. 9 slot would be to win its last two games while Memphis loses its final two games. There are too many variables left to run down the possibilities for positions 5-8. At the current time it would go like this: 5. SMU; 6. Temple; 7. Cincinnati; 8. Memphis
If the tournament, which is being played at Mohegan Sun Arena, were to start right now here is what the tournament schedule would look like
FRIDAY MARCH 7
No. 9 Central Florida vs. No. 8 Memphis, 6 p.m.
No. 10 Houston vs. No. 7 Cincinnati, 8 p.m.
SATURDAY MARCH 8
No. 5 SMU vs. No. 4 South Florida, noon
Central Florida/Memphis winner vs. No. 1 UConn, 2 p.m.
Houston/Cincinnati winner vs. No. 2 Louisville, 6 p,m,
No. 6 Temple vs. No. 3 Rutgers, 8 p.m.
SUNDAY MARCH 9
Semifinals, 1 & 3 p.m.
MONDAY MARCH 10
Championship game, 7 p.m.
STATE TITLE ON LINE TONIGHT FOR WILSON
UConn recruiting target A'ja Wilson said she would not be announcing her college of choice until her senior season at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School is over. Well, that is going to happen tonight when Heathwood Hall plays Northwood in the SCISA Class AAA championship game at 6:30 p.m. at Sumter Civic Center.
Wilson had 32 points in a 76-33 win over Hilton Head Christian as she went over the 2,900 career point total in the win. Not including her stats from last night's semifinal win, Wilson is averaging 34.4 points, 14.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 3.1 steals and 5.1 blocks per game highlighted by back to back triple doubles.
Wilson, a 6-foot-4 forward who was named the Naismith National High School Player of the Year, will pick between UConn, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.