Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Live blog for UConn's First Night

For those who might be interested, the Register will have alive blog running during tonight's First Night festivities which includes various twitter feeds from people running and/or covering the event.

I am currently in Tampa as I will be covering tomorrow's UConn/USF football game and won't be attending First Night but the David Borges, who covers the men's basketball team for the Register, will be providing coverage so feel free to follow him on Twitter @DaveBorges

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rosters set for UConn's First Night festivities

The rosters for the scrimmage portion of First Night have been announced.

Molly Bent, Napheesa Collier, Kyla Irwin, Tierney Lawlor, Kia Nurse and Azura Stevens will play for the White team, being coached by UConn men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie.

Natalie Butler, Batouly Camara, Saniya Chong, Crystal Dangerfield, Katie Lou Samuelson and Gabby Williams are a part of the Blue team coached by Geno Auriemma.

Doors open for Friday's event at 3 p.m. The first 50 students in line will be granted premium courtside seating and the first 300 fans to sign-up at the marketing table inside the South entrance at Gampel Pavilion will be granted entrance into a Selfie Session with the teams. This session will allow fans to take pictures with the members of both the men's and women's team at 5:30 p.m. That takes the place of the autograph session with the teams and head coaches.

There will be a women's volleyball game against Central Florida as a much improved UConn team puts its 13-4 record on the line.

The basketball portion of "First Night" kicks off at 7:30 p.m.

UConn is planning to hold its first official practice tomorrow as the Huskies begin the quest for an unprecedented fifth straight national title. However, the practice isn't open to the media so don't expect reports coming from the practice.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Former UConn star Breanna Stewart named WNBA Rookie of the Year

Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm was a near unanimous choice as the WNBA Rookie of the Year.

Stewart led all rookies in scoring, rebounding and in blocked shots as she received 38 of the 39 votes for the award. Stewart's former UConn teammate Moriah Jefferson of the San Antonio Stars received the other vote.

Stewart joins Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles and Maya Moore as former UConn stars to win the award.

Stewart, Jefferson and Aerial Powers of the Dallas Wings were unanimous selections to the All-Rookie team and were joined on the squad by Imani Boyette and Tiffany Mitchell.

Stewart averaged 18.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots a game. She scored at least 20 points 15 times including a 38-point effort in a win over Atlanta with 12 double-doubles.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Schedule for UConn's First Night festivities

UConn announced the details for the upcoming First Night festivities with the only real change appearing to be that in place of an autograph session with players and head coaches from the men's and women's basketball teams, there will now be a "Selfie Session."

Here is the schedule for the Oct. 14 event

3:00 p.m.        Doors Open for First Night/Volleyball
First 50 students in line will be granted premium courtside seating
*NEW - First 300 fans to sign-up at the marketing table inside the SOUTH entrance will be granted entrance into a "Selfie Session" with the teams. This session will allow fans to take pictures with the members of both the men's and women's team at 5:30 p.m.
4:00 p.m.        UConn Volleyball vs. UCF
5:30 p.m.        Selfie Session begins in the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center
7:00 p.m.        Fan promotions and on-court entertainment begins
7:30 p.m.        Showtime

As has been the case in recent years, fans can vote for the teams taking part in the scrimmage. Voting will begin on Sept. 29 and will be conducted through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Rookie numbers for Jefferson, Stewart match up well against UConn legends

With the WNBA regular season ending yesterday I figured I would see where Breanna Stewart and Moriah Jefferson's rookie numbers compare to other former UConn players.

Not surprisingly, they more then held their own.

Stewart's 621 points broke Diana Taurasi's mark for most points by a UConn grad as a rookie. She was also second in rebounding and blocked shots, fourth in assists, seventh in steals and assist/turnover ratio.

Jefferson had the best assist/turnover ratio (with a remarkable 2.41), was second in assists, tied for second in steals and seventh in 3-pointers. More on the assist/turnover ratio, I didn't look at every player but among the WNBA all-time leaders in assists the only player with an assist/turnover ratio better than 2/1 as a rookie were Cappie Pondexter (2.17 with Phoenix in 2006), Nikki Teasley (2.06 with Los Angeles in 2002) and Temeka Johnson (2.01 with Washington in 2005).

Morgan Tuck finished 10th in assist/turnover ratio in an injury-shortened rookie season. If you project her numbers over a full season, she would have been in the top 10 in 3-pointers as well.

Breanna Stewart (Seattle 2016) 621

Diana Taurasi (Phoenix 2004) 578
Tina Charles (Connecticut) 2010 528
Swin Cash (Detroit) 2002 474
Moriah Jefferson (San Antonio 2016) 472
Sue Bird (Seattle 2002) 461
Maya Moore (Minnesota 2011) 449
Nykesha Sales (Orlando 1999) 437
Rebecca Lobo (New York 1997) 348

Tina Charles (Connecticut 2010) 398
Breanna Stewart (Seattle 2016) 317
Tamika Williams (Minnesota 2002) 229
Swin Cash (Detroit 2002) 222
Kiah Stokes (New York 2015) 219
Rebecca Lobo (New York 1997) 203
Svet Abrosimova (Minnesota 2001) 174
Maya Moore (Minnesota 2011) 157
Stefanie Dolson (Washington 2014) 149
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix 2004) 149

Sue Bird (Seattle 2016) 191
Moriah Jefferson (San Antonio 2016) 142
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix 2004) 132
Breanna Stewart (Seattle 2016) 114
Nykesha Sales (Orlando 1999) 91
Maya Moore (Minnesota 2011) 90
Swin Cash (Detroit 2002) 86
Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta 2012) 73
Renee Montgomery (Minnesota 2009) 72
Svet Abrosimova (Minnesota 2001) 53

Nykesha Sales (Orlando 1999) 69
Sue Bird (Seattle 2002) 55
Moriah Jefferson (San Antonio 2016) 55
Maya Moore (Minnesota 2011) 48
Tamika Williams (Minnesota 2002) 44
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix 2004) 43
Svet Abrosimova (Minnesota 2001) 42
Breanna Stewart (Seattle 2016) 42
Swin Cash (Detroit 2002) 37
Charde Houston (Minnesota 2008) 30

Kiah Stokes (New York 2015) 67
Breanna Stewart (Seattle 2016) 64
Tina Charles (Connecticut 2010) 57
Rebecca Lobo (New York 1997) 51
Stefanie Dolson (Washington 2014) 37
Swin Cash (Detroit 2002) 31
Kelly Schumacher (Indiana 2001) 29
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix 2004) 25
Asjha Jones (Washington 2002) 17
Maya Moore (Minnesota 2011) 16

Diana Taurasi (Phoenix 2004) 62
Maya Moore (Minnesota 2011) 58
Sue Bird (Seattle 2002) 57
Breanna Stewart (Seattle 2016) 45
Renee Montgomery (Minnesota 2009) 42
Nykesha Sales (Orlando 1999) 36
Moriah Jefferson (San Antonion 2016) 33
Bria Hartley (Washington 2014) 21
Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta 2012) 21
Svet Abrosimova (Minnesota 2001) 19

Moriah Jefferson (San Antonio 2016) 2.41

Maya Moore (Minnesota 2011) 1.80
Sue Bird (Seattle 2002) 1.75
Bria Hartley (Washington 2014) 1.54
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix 2004) 1.47
Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta 2012) 1.43
Breanna Stewart (Seattle 2016) 1.41
Nykesha Sales (Orlando 1999) 1.31
Ketia Swanier (Connecticut 2008) 1.30
Morgan Tuck (Connecticut 2016) 1.16

Also, Tina Charles led the league in points per game (at 21.5 just percentage points ahead of Elena Delle Donne) and rebounding (9.9 per game). She joins Maya Moore and five-time champion Diana Taurasi as only former Huskies to lead the WNBA in scoring. It is the fourth time Charles won the WNBA rebounding title breaking Lisa Leslie's league record. She joins Chamique Holdsclaw as only players in WNBA history to lead the league in scoring and rebounding in the same season as Holdsclaw accomplished the feat in 2002. With Sue Bird leading the league with an average of 5.8 assists per game, it is the first time in WNBA history that the regular-season leaders in points, rebounds and assists per game played at the same college. They also both happened to attend the same high school (Christ the King in Middle Village, N.Y.). By the way, so did Holdsclaw which may be the most remarkable aspect of all of this.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Former UConn star Morgan Tuck undergoes knee surgery

The Connecticut Sun announced that rookie forward Morgan Tuck, a member of four national championship teams at UConn, underwent surgery to repair cartilage damage in her left knee.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Arciero at the UConn Health Center in Farmington on Tuesday. The recovery period is expected to be six months so Tuck won't be able to play overseas this winter.

Tuck was the third overall pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft. She averaged 7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game in 16.7 minutes per game.

Future of UConn women's basketball program currently on campus

Things have been rather matter of fact on the recruiting trail for UConn this year.

Andra Espinoza-Hunter committed so long ago I could swear I was still in college at the time. Lexi Gordon's name was appearing as a UConn recruiting target not long before she also committed to play at UConn. Mikayla Coombs took a little bit longer but also announced her decision a little earlier than normal. Now there is one more potential piece to be added to UConn's class as Megan Walker, the No. 1 rated player in the Class of 2017, is currently on her official visit at UConn along with Espinoza-Hunter, Gordon and Coombs.

It's a little bit of a different way of doing things as usually the First Night festivities is the prime spot for UConn coach Geno Auriemma, his coaches and players to host top recruits but the decision was made to do it this weekend. The sarcastic side of me would suggest that the decision to do the official visit this weekend instead of during First Night weekend is that the coaches know I won't be at First Night for one of the few times since the UConn football team is playing at South Florida that weekend. The reality is that the timing works well for Walker, who visited Texas last weekend and is set to make her final official visit to Notre Dame next weekend, and Auriemma, who had kind of a busy summer with the whole coaching the U.S. to another Olympic gold medal thing. First Night will be a good time for UConn to bring in some of the top players on UConn's recruiting radar in the Class of 2018.

People have been quick to "break" the news of Walker's commitment but I'd be very surprised if she made any sort of announcement until after her trip to Notre Dame is done. She is rather active on social media so I fully expect the first news of her commitment to come courtesy of her Twitter account.

Here is a link to a story I did on Walker and the recruiting process when she was trying out for the U.S. U-18 team back in May.

When Walker announces her decision, that should wrap up the Class of 2017 for UConn. The Huskies are in the mix with many of the top player in the next recruiting class so it will be interesting to follow the process of players like Christyn Williams, Charli Collier, Sedona Prince and Aquira DeCosta among others.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Former UConn star Moriah Jefferson finishing rookie season in impressive fashion

It's a foregone conclusion that former UConn star Breanna Stewart will become the fourth former Husky to win the WNBA Rookie of the Year award as she is currently sixth in the league in scoring, second in rebounding and third in blocked shots. However, since the middle of July no rookie has been putting up better numbers than Moriah Jefferson, Stewart's former college teammate.

I actually began to research how the rookies have fared since July 12 for a story I wrote yesterday about former Hillhouse High Bria Holmes agreeing to play in Israel this winter because Holmes has been one of the most productive rookies in the second half of the season. While crunching the numbers, it is impossible to overlook how well Jefferson has been playing since that date.

She is leading all rookies in points, assists, steals, field goals attempted, field goals made, 3-point percentage and tied with Stewart for the top spot in 3-pointers made since July 12. Perhaps most impressive of all, she tops all rookies with an average of 21.7 points per 40 minutes. Much of it has to do with opportunity since injuries have limited the options of retiring San Antonio head coach Dan Hughes. As a result, Jefferson played at least 30 minutes in just nine of the first 17 games of the season but has played at least 30 minutes in 11 of the last 15 games.

Looking at these numbers it does appear as if better days are ahead for the Connecticut Sun as Jonquel Jones and Courtney Williams rank among the top five rookies in points scored per 40 minutes since July 12. Jones also leads all rookies with a 53.5 field-goal percentage over that span. I didn't include Morgan Tuck on this list because she missed the last six games but if I did include her, she would rank third in points per 40 minutes (20.8), third in field-goal percentage (45.7) and 3-point percentage (38.5).

PT/40                 REB/40          FG PCT.            3-PT PCT.
Jefferson 21.7    Boyette 12.5  Jones 53.5          Jefferson 42.1
Powers    21.4    Stewart 9.8    Boyette 48.7       Copper 40.0
Jones   19.3        Jones 9.2       Powers 43.2        Jones 36.4
Stewart   19.0     Powers 8.3    Holmes 43.1       Powers 36.1
Williams  17.9    Williams 7.5 Jefferson 42.4    Stewart 33.3
Copper    17.0     Copper 7.3
Holmes    15.3
Boyette   13.6

When UConn's schedule was released earlier this month, the times of four of the road games were listed as "to be announced."

Well, it is time to fill in the blanks as the final start time was announced today when the LSU women's basketball Twitter page reported that the Nov. 20 game will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will air on ESPN.

The times of the three conference road games previously listed as TBA have been updated on UConn's official schedule as the Jan. 17 game at Tulsa will begin at 8 p.m., the Feb. 7 game at Cincinnati will tip shortly after 7 p.m. and the Feb. 18 game at Tulane also has an 8 p.m. listed tip time. Also, the Dec. 11 game at Kansas State will be televised by Fox Sports 1 and the Big Ten Network had the Dec. 21 contest at Nebraska.

Here's the updated schedule
Date Opponent Site TV Time
Tue. 1 IUP (exhibition) Gampel Pavilion. 7 p.m.
Sun. 6 PACE (exhibition) XL Center, 1 p.m.
Mon. 14 at Florida State Donald L. Tucker Center, Tallahassee, Fla. ESPN2 6 p.m.
Thu. 17 BAYLOR Gampel Pavilion,  SNY 7:30 p.m.
Sun. 20 at LSU Maravich Center, Baton Rouge, La. 5:30 p.m. ESPN
Tue. 22 DAYTON Gampel Pavilion,  SNY 7 p.m.
Tue. 29 CHATTANOOGA XL Center, SNY 7 p.m.
Thu. 1 DEPAUL Gampel Pavilion, SNY 7 p.m.
Sun. 4 vs. Texas Mohegan Sun Arena,  ESPN 4 p.m.
Wed. 7 at Notre Dame Purcell Pavilion, South Bend, Ind. ESPN2 7 p.m.
Sun. 11 at Kansas State Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, Kan. Fox Sports 1 2 p.m.
Mon. 19 OHIO STATE XL Center, CBS-SN 7 p.m.
Wed. 21 at Nebraska Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Nebraska Big Ten Network 9 p.m.
Thu. 29 at Maryland XFINITY Center, College Park, Md. ESPN2 6 p.m.
Sun. 1 at UCF CFE Arena, Orlando, Fla. SNY 1 p.m.
Wed. 4 EAST CAROLINA XL Center SNY 7 p.m.
Tue. 10 USF XL Center, CBS-SN 7 p.m.
Sat. 14 at SMU Moody Coliseum, Dallas, Texas SNY 3 p.m.
Tue. 17 at Tulsa Reynolds Coliseum, Tulsa, Okla. SNY 8 p.m.
Sun. 22 TULANE Gampel Pavilion, ESPN2 1 p.m.
Tue. 24 at East Carolina Minges Coliseum, Greenville, N.C. SNY 7 p.m.
Sat. 28 HOUSTON XL Center, SNY noon
Wed. 1 at Temple Liacouras Center, Philadelphia, Pa. SNY 7 p.m.
Sun. 5 TULSA Gampel Pavilion, SNY 1 p.m.
Tue. 7 at Cincinnati First Third Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio SNY 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 SMU Gampel Pavilion,  SNY 2 p.m.
Mon. 13 SOUTH CAROLINA Gampel Pavilion, ESPN2 9 p.m.
Sat. 18 at Tulane Devlin Fieldhouse, New Orleans, La. SNY 8 p.m.
Wed. 22 TEMPLE XL Center, SNY 7 p.m.
Sat. 25 MEMPHIS Gampel Pavilion,  SNY 4 p.m.
Mon. 27 at USF Sun Dome, Tampa, Fla. ESPN2 7 p.m.
Fri. Mar. 3 - Mon. Mar. 6 TBA TBD

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