Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Haley Gorecki commits to Duke

Haley Gorecki, a guard from Palantine, Ill., announced via her Twitter account that she has committed to Duke

Haley gorecki @HaleyGorecki
Finally decided and I could not be happier to call myself a Duke blue devil! Can't wait to play basketball at Duke

Gorecki was one of four highly-touted high school juniors to make an official visit to UConn earlier this month. Napheesa Collier committed to UConn while Katie Lou Samuelson and De'Janae Boykin are still weighing their options.

Special homecoming for UConn's Stewart

While Stefanie Dolson's appearance on The Tonight Show is garnering the majority of the attention, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention another trip to New York for a star of UConn's national championship team.

National player of the year Breanna Stewart will be returning to her alma mater Cicero-North Syracuse High School next month when the Special Olympics have an event at the school.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

UConn's Dolson to appear on The Tonight Show

Well that didn't take long.

When UConn won its ninth national title earlier this month, UConn senior center Stefanie Dolson had shoutouts to President Barack Obama and The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon.

There's no word on when Dolson and her teammates will return to the White House but Dolson will get to appear on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon tomorrow night which begins at 11:30 p.m. on NBC.

stefanie Dolson @bigmamastef
Yes I'll be on @FallonTonight tomorrow night! I cannot wait.. It'll be short but amazing! #jimmyaintready

UConn recruiting targets Boykin, Durr, Samuelson invited to U-17 tryouts

USA Basketball released the names of the 39 players who will be trying out for the U-17 national team and UConn Class of 2015 recruiting targets De'Janae Boykin, Asia Durr and Katie Lou Samuelson are among those headed to the trials as is Class of 2016 target Erin Boley.

The lone Connecticut native headed to the trials is Meriden's Kiah Gillespie of Capital Prep.

Kalani Brown, Sabrina Ionescu, Lauren Cox and Arike Ogunbowale are among the other players who have received some interest from UConn who are headed to the tryouts.

The names of more players taking part in next month's trials will be announced later.

The list of players trying out for the U-18 team will be announced soon. The AAU program of UConn commit Napheesa Collier has reported that she is among those headed to the U-18 trials.

UConn recruiting target Boykin names her top five

De'Janae Boykin has narrowed her list of schools to five.

Boykin, a 6-foot-2 forward from Springdale, Md., has already taken visits to Penn State and UConn while North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia are the other finalists for Boykin who was among the four highly-touted high school juniors visiting UConn over the weekend.

Boykin averaged 21.1 points and 16.7 rebounds as a junior at Flowers High School while shooting 64 percent from field and posting six games with more than one 3-pointer. Boykin had four games with 20 points and 20 rebounds including three in a four-game span.

Today was supposed to be the day when the UConn men's and women's basketball team was going to be honored before the Boston Red Sox game. However, UConn sent out a release expressing regretting that the women's basketball team would not be able to make the trip.

Due to an unforeseen conflict, the UConn women’s basketball team will not be participating in the first pitch ceremony at Fenway tonight.  The team feels awful as it would have been a great moment for UConn and we have apologized to the Red Sox.  The men are still scheduled to head up there and hopefully the Red Sox will consider having us at a later date.  


Monday, April 21, 2014

Versatility and unselfishness hallmarks of newest UConn commit

Everything I have been hearing was that Napheesa Collier was the top of UConn's recruiting wish list in the star-studded Class of 2015.

Now that the 6-foot-1 forward out of Incarnate Word Academy in St. Louis is committed to UConn, I figured I would try to get a scouting report on her game. I spoke to Incarnate Word head coach Dan Rolfes a little while ago and here's what he had to say about his star player.

"She's 6-1, long, lanky athlete, smooth offensively. She could play on the perimeter, post you up, take you off the dribble and a great offensive rebounder. Defensively we can have her guard anyboy from a point guard down to a post. I think her versatility and her ability to play different spots makes her so intriguing.

"She can fit into just about anybody's system because she can play so many different spots. If they recruit somebody else next year, she can slide over to a 3 (small forward) or play a 4 (power forward) spot and I think that is what one of her biggest attributes is, she can pretty much play anywhere."

Rolfes loves to recall the story of when Collier passed up shots she normally takes and makes with ease and when he asked her why, it was so one of her teammates to reach the 1,000-point mark in the game.

"She is a great kid," Rolfes said. "She came to us after her freshman year, her family moved (from Jefferson City), her mom got transferred. We were already going to be pretty good but she came in and was definitely the best player but was so humble and such a team player. She fit in extremely well even though she was getting 25 points a game. In every game it seemed like she has a quiet 25. A couple of offensive rebounds here, a couple steals and (baskets) in transition, she is a great teammate."

He was not stunned to see Collier's commitment come so early.

"In October they had narrowed it down to five and they had visited all of the schools and did a lot of homework so to be honest with you, I was not surprised. I think before she even started doing visits that she was ready to commit somewhere and I know when she went up to UConn she told me it just felt right. She was extremely excited to play for a national contender every year."

Collier averaged 17.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 3.6 steals and 1.9 blocked shots as a freshman at Jefferson City (the same town UConn great Maya Moore lived in before moving to Georgia). In her two seasons at Incarnate Word Academy she shot 70.7 and 70 percent from the field. As a junior she averaged 23.7 points, 10 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 3.9 steals and 2.3 blocked shots per game while playing on a team with three seniors who signed with Division I teams. During her sophomore and junior seasons she had 160 assists and 101 turnovers. She heads into her senior season with 1,986 points, 942 rebounds, 282 assists, 342 steals and 200 blocks in 89 career games.

Rolfes said that there are a couple of openings remaining on Incarnate Word Academy's 2014-15 schedule and he would love to be a part of the HoopHall Classic in Springfield, Mass. which normally includes a girls' game featuring a Connecticut commit or recruiting target if at all possible.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Napheesa Collier commits to UConn

Napheesa Collier, one of the top prospects in the high school Class of 2015, committed to UConn following an official visit to campus this weekend her father confirmed in a text message to the Register.

Collier is a 6-foot-2 forward at Iincarnate Word Academy in St. Louis who visited Storrs along with fellow top high school juniors De'Janae Boykin, Haley Gorecki and Katie Lou Samuelson.

Collier averaged 23.7 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3.8 steals and 2.3 blocked shots per game as a junior. She was named the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 4 Player of the Year. She had 33 points as Incarnate Word won the Class 4 state title. She had 57 points in the final two games in the state tournament while missing only two shots from the field in the process.

Her father was surprised to see it happen this quickly.

"Once she came up to Storrs, she said it felt like home to her," Gamal Collier said. "This morning she told us she wanted (to commit) and we wanted to make sure she was serious and she considered to it. We felt it would be unfair (to the other schools) since she felt so strongly about it."

Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri and Notre Dame were the other finalists for Collier.

I'll have more on the commitment tomorrow but in the meantime, here is a story in the St. Louis Post Dispatch when she was named the paper's Metro Player of the Year of her passing up open shots so she could help a teammate hit the 1,000-point mark.


Friday, April 18, 2014

UConn incoming freshman earns MaxPreps All-American honors

UConn signee Sadie Edwards was a fifth-team selection on the MaxPreps All-American team.

Edwards, a Meriden native, averaged 15.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 2.5 steals as a senior at Blair Academy.

The team was well represented with underclassmen on UConn's recruiting radar.

Napheesa Collier, a 6-foot-2 forward at Incarnate Word Academy in St. Louis, and Katie Lou Samuelson, a 6-foot-3 wing from Mater Dei in Santa Ana, Calif., were named to the first team. As luck would have it, they are among the talented high school juniors currently at UConn on official visits.

Kalani Brown, a 6-foot-5 junior from Salmen High in Slidell, La., and Asia Durr, a 5-foot-9 junior out of St. Pius X Catholic in Atlanta, were thord-team selections.

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U.S. national team to train at Naval Academy

USA Basketball released details of its Hoops for Troops initiative and it includes the fact that the U.S. Senior Women's National Team will train from Sept. 7-10 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. before embarking for the FIBA World Championships for Women.

There will also be a Leadership Development meeting at the Pentagon on May 7 featuring U.S. women's national team coach Geno Auriemma and men's national team assistant coach Jim Boeheim.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

2015 American Athletic Conference tournament will be held at Mohegan Sun Arena

Pretty much from the time the larger than expected crowds turned out for the early rounds of the American Athletic Conference women's basketball tournament it was expected that Mohegan Sun Arena would serve as the host for the tournament for the second year in a row.

That expectation became a reality when Mohegan was officially named the site of the 2015 event.

Here is the release from the conference

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The American Athletic Conference has awarded the 2015 American Women's Basketball Championship to Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., Commissioner Mike Aresco announced today.

"The American Athletic Conference and its member institutions are excited to return to a venue that demonstrated tremendous support for our women’s basketball tournament," Aresco said. "Attendance was outstanding, the facility is first-rate, and the Mohegan Sun staff provided a great experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans, who we know will enjoy a return visit next year.”

Mohegan Sun Arena will serve as the host of The American’s women’s basketball championship for the second straight year. Home to the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, the 10,000-seat arena has hosted championship boxing, college and professional men’s and women’s basketball, Davis Cup tennis, professional bull riding and professional bowling. The WNBA All-Star Game has been hosted by Mohegan Sun Arena four times.

“We are thrilled that we will be bringing the American Athletic Conference women’s basketball tournament back to Mohegan Sun Arena,” said Mitchell Etess, President and CEO of Mohegan Sun. “Our first year was a huge success. We are delighted to continue the relationship, and grow this great event moving forward.”

All 11 American Athletic Conference schools will participate in the 2015 championship. The format calls for three first-round games on the first day, followed by four quarterfinal games, two semifinals and the championship game. The ESPN Networks will provide television and digital coverage of the tournament.

The 2014-15 season will be the second straight year in which the American Athletic Conference has the defending men’s and women’s NCAA champions in its ranks. The American was the only conference to place a team in the semifinals of the Men’s Final Four, the Women’s Final Four, the NIT and the WNIT last season.

The American’s membership in 2014-15 will include UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, USF, SMU, Temple, Tulane and Tulsa.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Top recruit A'ja Wilson picks South Carolina

The UConn women’s basketball team will have to wait until next year’s recruiting class to add some size to its lineup as highly-touted A’ja Wilson signed with South Carolina today.

The 6-foot-4 Wilson, considered by many as the top player in the high school Class of 2014, made her announcement live on ESPNU.

UConn was one of the four finalists for Wilson but in recent weeks and months North Carolina and South Carolina emerged as the leaders for Wilson who averaged 34.4 points, 13.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 3 steals and 5 rebounds as a senior at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in Columbia, S.C.

South Carolina is set to return its top nine scorers from a team which went 29-5 and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Gamecocks already had one of the top recruiting classes coming in and with the addition of Wilson could be a team that poses one of the greatest threats to UConn's bid to win a third national title in a row.

With Wilson’s announcement UConn’s recruiting for the year is now completed. The Huskies signed wings Courtney Ekmark and Gabby Williams and guards Sadie Edwards and Kia Nurse. UConn is in the mix with some of the top-rated forwards in the Class of 2015 including De’Janae Boykin, Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson.