Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Odds and ends

Just a few things to report:

Lorin Dixon was held out of most of Thursday's practice on advice of the training staff. She is expected to practice on Friday and has been impressing the coaching staff with her work in the preseason.

Most of the open portion of the practice on Thursday was focusing on offensive rebounding and defense. Placing a bubble over the basket, the starting team was given 10 seconds to run offense and expected to go after every offensive rebound. Not that it shock anybody to hear this, but Maya Moore was an absolute terror during this portion of the drill.

With the commitment of Krista Gross, a 6-foot guard/forward from Charlotte, N.C., to North Carolina on Thursday, UConn's next incoming recruiting class will consist of Kelly Faris, a 5-foot-11 guard/forward from Plainfield, Ind. While the UConn staff always keeps its options open, they realize that the odds of getting a top-level player at this point in the process is highly improbable. UConn's recruiting philosophy has always valued quality over quantity and this year in no different. In other words, UConn will not bring in another player just for the sake of it. The good news is the staff can turn its focus to landing a top-flight group in the Class of 2010. The Huskies are off to a good start with a pledge from 6-foot-1 guard/forward Samarie Walker of Dayton, Ohio, considered by many to be the best prospect in the Class of 2010.

94-95 team to be honored

UConn's first national championship team will be inducted into the "Huskies of Honor" when the 35-0 1994-95 team will be honored at a ceremony on Nov. 16.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CPTV schedule is out

As if UConn fans needed any extra incentive to make the trip to Cancun in December to watch the Huskies play three games in the Caribbean Classic on Dec. 18, 19 and 21, the fact that the games against Northern Colorado, Washington and Florida State won't be televised locally could be just what the doctor ordered - assuming of course that in these trying financial times, you can afford the round-trip flight to Mexico and rather pricey rates at the Moon Palace Resort.

Fortunately for UConn fans, every other game this season will be televised including the 19 games which Connecticut Public Television will be carrying this season.

CPTV, which will be televising UConn games for a 16th consecutive year, announced its schedule on Tuesday. CPTV will broadcast not only the No. 16 season opener against Georgia Tech but UConn's first four games (San Diego State on Nov. 20, Rhode Island on Nov. 22 and Brigham Young on Nov. 25). Other non-conference games on the CPTV schedule are:
Dec. 3 vs. Holy Cross
Dec. 14 vs. Penn State at Madison Square Garden (also being televised by ESPNU)
Dec. 28 at South Carolina
Dec. 31 vs. Hartford

Big East games against South Florida (Jan. 6), West Virginia (Jan. 10), DePaul (Jan. 13), Syracuse (Jan. 17), Cincinnati (Jan. 24), Georgetown (Jan. 31), Marquette (Feb. 7), St. John's Feb. 11, Providence (Feb. 18), Villanova (Feb. 24) and Seton Hall (Feb. 28).

If you throw in the games being shown on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, CBS and CBS College Sports, 24 of the Huskies' 27 regular-season games will be broadcast.

Wilson to Miami

Career senior guard Anisha Wilson is headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference as she orally committed to Miami after a weekend visit to the Coral Gables, Fla. campus.

Friday, October 24, 2008

High praise for Faris

UConn commit Kelly Faris, a 5-foot-11 guard/forward from Plainfield, Ind., was rated as the No. 2 player in the state of Indiana on the Rick Bolus High Potential Recruiting Service.

Skylar Diggins of South Bend, Ind., a former UConn recruiting target, is the No. 1 rated player. The third-ranked player and top non-senior is Jasmine Penny, a 6-foot-1 forward from Logansport. I haven't heard Penny's name thrown around as a potential UConn recruiting target but I do know that the Huskies need to pursue some inside players in the next recruiting class. Penny was a good enough prospect to earn an invite to make an unofficial visit to Purdue as a freshman so it is a name that could be worth watching.

Back to Faris, Marquette head coach Terri Mitchell had glowing praise about the only player currently committed to UConn in the Class of 2009. Mitchell was an assistant coach on the USA Basketball Under-18 national team which won the FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship for Women title. Faris averaged 4.6 points, 4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals as the U.S. went 5-0 to secure a spot in next year's FIBA Under-19 world championship.

"First and foremost, I love the disciplined player that she is," Mitchell said. "She is always the first one to arrive at the gym and she puts herself through a shooting routine. You can just see the passion that she has for the game. The second thing is she is disciplined. Whatever we would tell her, she would do. I felt like she was too unselfish. I would tell her all the time, Kelly you need to be more selfish about your offensive abilities but she is a coach’s dream. We exchanged e-mails when we got back from Argentina. She is so polite and I thanked her. Even though we are going to be on opposite sides, it is going to be really good to see her development.

"I think she is going to be one of those players who is going to be a glue player. He is always going to have those superstars out there and I’m not saying she is not going to be a superstar, but when I think of Kelly Faris I think of stability, someone that when the coaches say to do it, she is going to do it. She wasn’t very verbal on the team but people followed her because of her example. Those players are invaluable to a team. She is not going to be about Kelly, she is not going to be selfish. She is going to put the team goals over her own. I think that’s what people are going to love about her the best."

Speaking of class acts, whoever lands Krista Gross should consider themselves fortunate. Not only does Krista, who lists UConn, Stanford and North Carolina as her three finalists, want to be a doctor, so does her older sister. In my brief dealings with the family through her father Elton, a former college football star who is a member of the Guilford (N.C.) College Hall of Fame have been first rate all the way.

I don't think it is a coincidence that the two parents I have dealt with over the last couple of years on the UConn recruiting trail who have impressed me the most are dynamic, former football stars. You would be hard-pressed to find a person who carries themself with any more dignity and grace than former Kansas State and Kansas City Chiefs star linebacker Gary Spani, the father of ex-UConn recruiting target Taper Spani.

On final item, the "UConn is America's team" quote credited to Rutgers senior center Kia Vaughn is making the rounds but having listened to my tape again a few minutes ago, Vaughn's exact words were "UConn, they are America’s favorite team with All-Americans and everything." So Dallas Cowboys fans can relax, Kia Vaughn is not borrowing the "America's team" tag and applying it to UConn.

UConn makes cut

Krista Gross, an athletic 6-foot wing out of Charlotte, N.C., has eliminated Florida and Texas from her list of original five finalists according to her father Elton.

Gross is making an official visit to North Carolina this weekend and then will take a few days after returning home to make her decision between her final three of Carolina, UConn and Stanford.

Gross had a memorable visit to UConn last weekend, taking in the "First Night" festivities on Friday and UConn's first official practice on Saturday.

"She enjoyed the trip a lot," Elton Gross said. "She had a good time meeting the coaches and players and of course is impressed by UConn's tradition. A big key was meeting the players and the coaches."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Media day in the rear-view mirror

It was another interesting Big East media day in New York beginning with the announcement that the Big East signed a two-year extension to keep the conference's tournament at the XL Center through 2011.

The last order of business before walking to Grand Central to grab the train home was asking Cincinnati coach J. Kelley Hall of his curious decision to vote Louisville first in the poll ahead of UConn, expected to be the preseason No. 1 in every major poll.

"No disrespect meant to Geno whatsoever," Hall said. "I think Louisville, just from looking at the championship game last year, the six-point game they played. They were coming off 26 wins. I think with the four starters back. I think they may be a little shaky at the point early. It was neck-and-neck. With Angel McCoughtry and Maya Moore you are sitting there weighing it. By the way, I did vote for Maya Moore for Player of the Year. Honestly I wish I could have split it half and half."

There were few other surprises especially in the individual awards.

Maya Moore, the first freshman to win the Big East Player of the Year award, was selected as preseason player of the year. April Sykes of Rutgers was the preseason freshman of the year pick. Those were my picks as well on this blog Wednesday. I also predicted 9 of 11 first-team picks. I didn't have Candyce Bingham of Louisville or Chandrea Jones of Syracuse and instead picked Notre Dame's Ashley Barlow, Erica Morrow of Syracuse and DePaul's Deirdre Naughton.

Six players were unanimous selections to the All-Big East but UConn senior guard Renee Montgomery was not one of them, a bit of a shocker.

"I don't really know how to feel about it, because I don't really have an individual agenda this year," Montgomery said. "My sole goal, my only goal is I want to get a national championship. I can honestly say that if nothing else happens besides winning a national championship, I would be happy."

I will applaud the Big East for one change in the itinerary this year. Rather than have every coach get up and speak about their team's prospects, Marquette's Terri Mitchell represented the league and gave a quick summary of what each coach felt about their team. That switch probably saved 45 minutes off the schedule and with each coach available to the media, the coach speak at the podium seemed unnecessary.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

On the air

Any fans who want to check out Big East media day which is being held Thursday in New York now have an option courtesy of video from

Speaking of television, the entire ESPN women's basketball schedule was released on Wednesday. UConn will have seven regular-season games televised on either ESPN (Nov. 30 vs. Oklahoma), ESPN2 (Jan. 19 at North Carolina, Jan. 26 vs. Louisville, Feb. 15 vs. Pittsburgh, Mar. 2 at Rutgers) and ESPNU (Dec. 14 Maggie Dixon Classic against Penn State, Feb. 22 vs. Notre Dame).

Back to the Big East media day, if I had a vote it would look something like this
1. UConn
2. Rutgers
3. Louisville
4. Pittsburgh
5. Notre Dame
6. Syracuse
7. Marquette
8. DePaul
9. Villanova
10. West Virginia
11. South Florida
12. St. John's
13. Cincinnati
14. Seton Hall
15. Providence
16. Georgetown

Preseason All-Big East
Ashley Barlow, Notre Dame, Jr.
Tina Charles, UConn, Jr.
Krystal Ellis, Marquette, Sr.
Shantia Grace, South Florida, Sr.
Angel McCoughtry, Louisville, Sr.
Renee Montgomery, UConn, Sr.
Erica Morrow, Syracuse, So.
Maya Moore, UConn, So.
Deirdre Naughton, DePaul, Jr.
Epiphanny Prince, Rutgers, Jr.
Kia Vaughn, Rutgers, Sr.
Shavonte Zellous, Pittsburgh, Sr.

Player of the Year: Maya Moore, UConn, So.
Rookie of the Year: Elena Delle Donne, UConn, Fr. OK, just kidding. Although I think UConn's Caroline Doty and Tiffany Hayes could make runs at the award, looking to opportunities to shine from day one, I will go with April Sykes of Rutgers even though classmate Jasmine Dixon was clearly the more impressive player when I saw them both at the USA Basketball national team trials in Colorado.

Carolina picked first

Another day, another major college conferrence preseason poll is out.

North Carolina was the pick to win the ACC title although it was hardly unanimous at North Carolina received 15 first-place votes, second-place Maryland was picked first by 11 voters and No. 3 Duke had 14 No. 1 votes. Virginia, selected fourth, picked up the other two first-place votes.

Maryland senior guard Kristi Toliver was the preseason player of the year while her Maryland teammate Lynetta Kizer was named preseason rookie of the year.

The Big East media day in Thursday and with 15 of the top 19 scorers from the 2007-08 season returning, 10 of the top 12 rebounders, I don't envy the Big East coaches job of coming up with 10-12 players on the preseason All-Big East team.

The first nine picks seem to be no-brainers:
Maya Moore, Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles of UConn, Rutgers' Epiphanny Prince and Kia Vaughn, Louisville's Angel McCoughtry, Krystal Ellis of Marquette, South Florida's Shantia Grace and Shavonte Zellous of Pittsburgh. If they go with 11 players as they did a year ago, there are no lack of choices including UConn's Kalana Greene, Deirdre Naughton of DePaul, Chandrea Jones, Erica Morrow and Nicole Michael all of Syracuse, Villanova's Laura Kurz, Louisville's Candyce Bingham, Ashley Barlow of Notre Dame, Seton Hall's Noteisha Womack, Monique McLean of St. John's and Cincinnati's Kahla Roundbush and Jill Stephens.

If it was up to me, I would lean towards Naughton and one of the Syracuse players, likely Morrow but fortunately for the Big East, I don't have a say in the process.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's voting season

On Thursday look for UConn to be the overwhelming choice to win the Big East Conference when the preseason poll is announced at the conference's annual media day in New York.

Two-time defending national champion Tennessee wasn't quite as popular in the Southeastern Conference poll released on Tuesday.

Not only was Vanderbilt the preseason pick ahead of Tennessee and fellow 2008 Final Four team Louisiana State but no members of the Lady Volunteers and Lady Tigers were named to the preseason first team All-SEC squad. Don't expect a repeat as Maya Moore, Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles all figure to be named to the All Big East first team.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Select company

Ohio has been pretty good to the UConn women's basketball program with three of the 30 1000-point scorers in the history of the program hailing from Ohio. Samarie Walker, the top rated player in the junior class who just committed to play at UConn, could be the next big thing from the Buckeye state.

With my curiousity getting the better of me, I did some quick checking to see where Ohio natives ranked compared to stars from the other states.

What I discovered is that Pennsylvania is tops on the list with five 1,000-point scorers (Swin Cash, Wendy Davis, Leigh Curl, Meghan Pattyson, Ashley Battle). Next is Connecticut (Nykesha Sales, Jen Rizzotti, Cathy Bochain, Laura Lishness).

Ohio and Massachusetts (Kara Wolters, Rebecca Lobo and Carla Berube) is tied for third place with three 1,000-point scorers.

Amy Hughes was the first Ohio player to suit up for the Huskies, playing at UConn in the 1995-96 season.

Tamika Williams, who like Walker was the top-ranked player in the country and played at Dayton high school powerhouse Chaminade-Julienne, scored 1,402 points from 1998-2002. The year after Williams left for the WNBA, Barbara Turner of Cleveland began a career which would see her score 1,629 points from 2002-06. Mel Thomas of Cincinnati and Brittany Hunter of Columbus graduated last year. Hunter is another former national player of the year who originally enrolled at Duke before transferring to UConn. Thomas finished her career with 1,066 points despite suffering a season-ending knee injury in the 16th game of her senior season. Hunter finished with 464 points in her three years at Connecticut.

UConn will have to wait until the 2010-11 season to see Walker in a UConn uniform.

Report: Walker to UConn

There is a report that Samarie Walker, considered by many to be the top prospect in the Class of 2010, committed to UConn after making an unofficial visit to campus this week.

Having literally just walked into my house after taking part in a charity walk in memory of my good friend Bill Gonillo in Fairfield this morning, I will attempt to get more info on the news.

The 6-foot-1 Walker averaged 13.9 points as a sophomore at Chaminade-Julienne, the same school which produced former UConn star Tamika (Williams) Raymond. C-J, a national powerhouse, relies on a balanced offense so don't be fooled by Walker's scoring average - she is supposed to be a difference maker but plays for a program where a balanced offense is more important than one player putting up gaudy individual numbers.

Walker becomes the first player from the Class of 2010 and will give the Huskies another player capable of playing the small and power forward positions.

Look for this to be just that start for UConn. With guard Kelly Faris of Plainfield, Ind., who was at UConn over the weekend along with Walker, the only player currently committed from the current recruiting class, there are just seven players in the three classes ahead of Walker. Don't be surprised if the Huskies land a five or six-player class.

(UPDATED AT 2:20 P.M.) Just got off the phone with Samarie and her high school coach Marc Greenberg and both are excited about her decision to head to UConn.

"It (the visit to UConn) was a little bit better than what I expected, meeting the coaches and players I had a good time there," Walker said.

"Pretty much it was the whole feel I had the whole weekend. I pretty much knew I wanted to go there but I had to make sure it was right fit for me."

Greenberg had a couple interesting things to say including the statement that "I thought she was going up there to do nothing else but commit."

Greenberg also said that Walker came into high school as primarily a back to the basket post player but now has expanded her game to such a point where she can play any of the five positions at the next level.

Friday, October 17, 2008

First Night in the books

The glitz and glamour that is "First Night" at Gampel Pavilion is now history. In about 12 hours the team will be back at Gampel going through the first official practice of the 2008-09 season.

A few highlights from the evening:
Let's start with UConn coach Geno Auriemma's pointed comments predicting a national title.

"Being the theme that this is an election year, these guys told me the other day, (senior guard) Renee (Montgomery) told me that she is sick and tired of the last four years and we are not are going to put up with any more Big East championships and tournament championships," Auriemma said. "We are sick of tired of four years of no national championships and we are promising to win one just for you guys."

With that, Montgomery took the microphone and uttered the words "national championship or bust."

The rest of the evening turned into a showcase for sophomore forward Maya Moore.

Moore had eight points, two rebounds and two assists as the White team defeated the Blue 16-11 in a 10-minute scrimmage.

Kalana Greene, who was just cleared to play in late August after tearing two ligaments in her right knee in a December game against South Carolina, had back to back baskets and finished with four points, three rebounds and a steal while Tina Charles also had four points including an impressive left-handed layup for the White squad.

Montgomery led the Blue with five points.

Moore teamed with Craig Austrie, a senior guard on the men's team, to win the "2-Ball" competition. Moore and Austrie hit eight straight 3-pointers to easily beat the squad of UConn women's freshman guard Caroline Doty and men's junior forward Gavin Edwards 24-11 in the final.

Moore and Tina Charles then engaged in the first women's dunking contest in the history of the UConn's season-opening fan fest.

On her last dunk, Moore soared in for a decisive slam for a perfect score of 40 from the four judges to edge Charles 115-114.

The only event Moore did not win was the relay race. The team of Doty, Tahirah Williams, Cassie Kerns and student Lynn Mraz of Oxford formed the championship squad.

Kelly Faris, a 5-foot-11 guard from Indianapolis, Ind. who committed to UConn in March, was joined by three other highly-regarded prospects in the stands.

"It’s hard for me to believe that I’m going to be here playing for Connecticut," Faris said before the event began. "You always dream of being with a program like this and to know I will be here is very relaxing to me. I have my decision made and I am just happy to be here to watch it all."

Krista Gross, a 6-foot wing from Charlotte, N.C., is the only other player the Huskies are actively in the current recruiting class was joined by Class of 2010 prospects Samarie Walker, a 6-foot-1 forward from Dayton, Ohio and 5-foot-10 guard Olivia Bresnahan from Pittsburgh.

"I love the campus and the entire team seems so nice," Bresnahan said. "I’m having a lot of fun. This is just the start of the whole process and it’s a little overwhelming at the start. I’m trying to just take things one step at time and consider all of my choices. I know it has the potential to get a little overwhelming and tiring at times. I think I’d like to have it over before my senior season just so all the pressure is off me."

In other news, expect the CPTV television schedule to be released shortly. There is a chance that the three games in the tournament in Cancun in December may not be televised although CPTV is currently in negotiations to try to secure the rights.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Doing what she does best

You'd be hard pressed to find a more quotable player than Tamika Williams was during his four years at UConn. So it should hardly come as a surprise that the newly-hired assistant coach at Kansas was quoted prominently at the Jayhawks media day.

Here's what the now Tamika (Williams) Raymond had to say courtesy of the KU official site (although I am not sure UConn/Big East fans will like her comment about the Big 12 being the premier conference in the country):

On her transition to Kansas:
“It has been pretty easy. The kids have worked really hard and the coaching staff has been very good to me going above and beyond to make me feel as comfortable as possible. They have helped me familiarize myself with the area and finding a place to live. On the court I am trying to figure what is going on, who is who and the style of play.”

On transitioning from a player to a coach:
“I think that was a lot harder for me when I was younger, but now it is a lot easier. The hard part for me this year is that it a new program, new kids and a new area for me. That is hardest part for me right is just getting to know who everyone is.”

On her WNBA season (with the Connecticut Sun):

“It was great. We were picked to finish second to last in the East and we were able to finish in second. We got upset in the first round of the playoffs, but I love the franchise and got a chance to play with some old players who I played with in college. Overall it was a great year.”

On comparing the WNBA style of play to the Big 12:
“It is probably about the same because most of the players that play in the Big 12 seem to play in the WNBA. I think both are about getting up and down the floor. All the players are very athletic and fast. The Big 12 is the premiere conference in America right now.”

On the Big Ten compared to the Big 12 (Raymond formerly was an assistant at Ohio State):
“It is a little bit slower. The Big Ten is more of a half court game. The Big 12 is a lot more up and down the court. The Big 12 has great coaches. It is not just top heavy all the coaches are very good coaches. Seven or eight teams usually make the NCAA Tournament and it is just a different level of play with great coaches.”

Popular choice

UConn put out a release this afternoon stating that the Huskies are the consensus No. 1 team based on four preseason polls. Although it is not entirely accurate since SLAM Magazine picked Oklahoma and Tennessee ahead of UConn in its rather curious preseason poll but it is still an impressive achievement for the Huskies.

UConn players Maya Moore, Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles were also named to the 10-team preseason All-American first team by The Sporting News. Stanford's Jayne Appel, Ohio State's Jantel Lavender and Marissa Coleman of Maryland didn't make the top 10 which means either it is a flawed list or we are in for one heck of a women's college season.

Another interesting item is that UConn plays eight teams in The Sporting News' top 25 including No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 5 Rutgers, No. 6 North Carolina and No. 9 Louisville. LSU was left out of three of the four polls which seemed hard to believe even if the Lady Tigers did lose pretty much the entire roster from last year's Final Four team. Something tells me that by season's end, LSU will most certainly be in the top 25. Personally, of the four preseason polls publicized by UConn, the only one which I would put any stock in is the USA Today "Sweet 16" since that is the only publication of the bunch that actually covers women's basketball.

Here are the polls and all-star lists:

Sporting News Top-25
1. Connecticut
2. Maryland
3. Oklahoma
4. Stanford
5. Rutgers
6. North Carolina
7. Tennessee
8. Duke
9. Louisville
10. Cal
11. Texas A&M
12. Oklahoma State
13. Virginia
14. Notre Dame
15. Vanderbilt
16. Texas
17. Arizona State
18. Baylor
19. Ohio State
20. Florida State
21. Marist
22. Xavier
23. Auburn
24. Syracuse
25. Marquette

Athlon Top-25
1. Connecticut
2. California
3. Stanford
4. Texas A&M
5. Duke
6. Maryland
7. Oklahoma
8. Arizona State
9. Tennessee
10. Louisville
11. Rutgers
12. North Carolina
13. Ohio State
14. Texas
15. Old Dominion
16. Vanderbilt
17. Oklahoma State
18. Virginia
19. Kansas State
20. Florida State
21. Xavier
22. Auburn
23. Michigan State
24. Utah
25. Pittsburgh

Lindy’s Top-25
1. Connecticut
2. Stanford
3. Maryland
4. Tennessee
5. Rutgers
6. North Carolina
7. Duke
8. California
9. Louisville
10. Oklahoma
11. Texas A&M
12. Oklahoma State
13. LSU
14. Texas
15. Virginia
16. Baylor
17. Ohio State
18. Vanderbilt
19. Auburn
20. Notre Dame
21. Arizona State
22. Florida State
23. USC
24. Pittsburgh
25. Marquette

(listed alphabetically)

Arizona State
North Carolina
Notre Dame
Texas A&M

2008-09 Sporting News Preseason All-America Teams
1. Maya Moore 6-1 So. Connecticut 17.8
2. Courtney Paris 6-4 Sr. Oklahoma 18.6
3. Kristi Toliver 5-7 Sr. Maryland 17.1
4. Angel McCoughtry 6-1 Sr. Louisville 23.8
5. Andrea Riley 5-5 So. Oklahoma State 23.1
6. Tina Charles 6-4 Jr. Connecticut 14.2
7. Renee Montgomery 5-7 Sr. Connecticut 14.1
8. Eipiphanny Prince 5-9 Jr. Rutgers 13.8
9. Ashley Walker 6-0 Sr. California 15.3
10. Takei Starks 5-8 Sr. Texas A&M 15.3

1. Rashanda McCants 6-3 Sr. North Carolina 15.8
2. Rachele Fitz 6-0 Jr. Marist 18.5
3. Jantel Lavender 6-4 So. Ohio State 17.6
4. Amber Harris 6-5 Jr. Xavier 15.3
5. Krystal Ellis 5-9 Sr. Marquette 19.4
6. Monica Wright 5-11 Jr. Virginia 17.6
7. Jayne Appel 6-0 Jr. Stanford 15.0
8. Chante Black 6-5 Sr. Duke 14.1
9. DeWanna Bonner 6-4 Sr. Auburn 18.4
10. Marissa Coleman 6-1 Sr. Maryland 16.1

1. Lyndra Littles 6-1 Sr. Virginia 16.8
2. Abby Waner 5-10 Jr. Duke 10.3
3. Devanei Hampton 6-3 Jr. California 13.5
4. Christina Wirth 6-1 Sr. Vanderbilt 13.1
5. Candice Bingham 6-0 Sr. Louisville 13.8
6. Shavonte Zellous 5-11 Sr. Pittsburgh 18-2
7. Marshae Dotson 5-11 Sr. Florida 13.0
8. Kayla Pedersen 6-4 So. Stanford 12.6
9. Cetera DeGraffenreid 5-6 So. North Carolina 11.6
10. Ta’Shia Phillips 6-6 So. Xavier 14.0

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

First Night itinerary

Here's the order of events for Friday's "First Night" festivities at Gampel Pavilion.

6 p.m. - Doors Open/Autograph Session with men's and women's teams
6:45 p.m. - Autograph Session Ends
7:05 p.m. - Lights Out/Women's Video Highlights/Women's team intros
7:23 p.m. - Women's player/student relay race
7:35 p.m. - Women's scrimmage
7:54 p.m. - Lights Out/Women's Video Highlights/Men's team intros
8:09 p.m. - Men's and women's 2-Ball Challenge
8:21 p.m. - Men's dunk contest
8:35 p.m. - Men's scrimmage

Annually this is the best chance for fans to get an up close look at the Huskies, return home with autographs and it is clearly a fan friendly event.

One little curveball this year, apparently since the NCAA officials had a little extra time of their hands or are overreacting to the complaint filed by Tennessee about UConn's recruiting tactics, they made it clear that they will frown upon any home-made signs referring specifically to recruits at the event. Kelly Faris, who committed to UConn in March, and Krista Gross, who has UConn on her short list, will both be at Gampel Pavilion this weekend. Maybe it's just me, but don't you think it is the five national championships, incredible fan support, remarkable list of players enjoying successful WNBA careers and presence of charismatic head coach Geno Auriemma which prompts top-level recruits to sign up with UConn year after year and not cleverly-constructed signs held up at a basketball fan fest.

I expect next year there to be NCAA by laws limiting Auriemma's caustic one-liners during the recruiting season since his sense of humor might be giving UConn an unfair advantage.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Hassell to Georgia

Barring any late surprises, UConn will not be adding any post players in its upcoming recruiting class.

Kelsey Bone, a consensus top five recruit, had been the top priority among post recruits for the Huskies for some time before dropping UConn from her list of schools recently. Now comes the news that Jasmine Hassell, a 6-foot-2 forward from Lebanon, Tenn. has committed to Georgia.

UConn had recently started recruiting Hassell and were trying to set up a date for her to visit the UConn campus.

The Huskies already have a commitment from Kelly Faris, a 5-foot-11 guard from Plainfield, Ind. and is pursuing Krista Gross, a 6-foot wing from Charlotte, N.C. Gross and Faris are both expected to be on hand for UConn's "First Night" festivities on Oct. 17 and the first full-scale practice of the 2008-09 season the following day.

However, unless the Huskies get in late with another post player, UConn will be left with current freshman Heather Buck out of Stonington High and University of Washington transfer Jessica McCormack as the only post players in the program following the graduation of Tina Charles and Kaili McLaren in 2010. It seems to be a safe assumption that securing the services of at least one and perhaps multiple post players would be a priority for the Huskies in the next recruiting class.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Whalen, Jones, Holt honored

Lindsay Whalen and Asjha Jones of the Connecticut Sun were named to the All-WNBA first and second teams respectively while Amber Holt was selected to the all-rookie team.

With Diana Taurasi of Phoenix making the first team while Jones and Sue Bird being selected to the second team, UConn graduates accounted for three of the 10 selections. No other college had more than one player named to the first and second teams.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

National exposure

Nine UConn games will be televised nationally - at least if you consider ESPNU and the BIG EAST-CBS College Sports Network Game of the Week as "nationally" televised games.

The Jan. 3 game against LSU at the XL Center will be shown on CBS. ESPN2 will televise the games against North Carolina (Jan. 19), Louisville (Jan. 26), Pittsburgh (Feb. 15) and Rutgers (Mar. 2), the Nov. 30 game against Oklahoma will be carried on ESPN while ESPNU will broadcast the Dec. 14 Maggie Dixon Classic game against Penn State and Feb. 22 game versus Notre Dame. The Feb. 3 UConn-Rutgers game will be the CBS College Sports Network Game of the Week.

Here's the complete schedule:


BIG EAST-CBS Sports Schedule

January 3 LSU at Connecticut (XL) Noon

Tennessee at Rutgers 2:00 p.m.

BIG EAST-ESPN Schedule (All games on ESPN2 unless noted)

November 16 State Farm Classic ( Baton Rouge , La. )

Notre Dame at LSU 2:30 p.m.

State Farm Classic ( Baton Rouge , La. )

Pittsburgh vs. Texas A&M 5:00 p.m.

November 30 Oklahoma at
Connecticut 8:15 p.m. ESPN

December 8 Jimmy V Classic ( Piscataway , N.J. )

Georgia at Rutgers 7:00 p.m.

January 19 Connecticut at
North Carolina 7:00 p.m.

January 26 LOUISVILLE at
CONNECTICUT (GP) 7:30 p.m.

February 15 ESPN’s February Frenzy/Pink Zone

Rutgers at Maryland 1:00 p.m.

ESPN’s February Frenzy/Pink Zone


RUTGERS 7:30 p.m.

March 10 BIG EAST Championship Finals ( Hartford , Conn. ) 7:00 p.m. ESPN


December 14 Maggie Dixon Classic ( New York , N.Y. )

Rutgers vs. Army Noon

Maggie Dixon Classic ( New York , N.Y. )

Connecticut vs. Penn State 2:30 p.m.

December 28 Notre Dame at Charlotte 2:00 p.m.

January 4 WEST VIRGINIA at PITTSBURGH 2:00 p.m.

January 11 RUTGERS at LOUISVILLE 2:00 p.m.

January 18 MARQUETTE at

February 1 ST. JOHN ’S at SETON HALL Noon

February 8 DE PAUL at NOTRE DAME 2:00 p.m.

USF at SYRACUSE 4:00 p.m.

February 15 WEST VIRGINIA at
MARQUETTE 2:00 p.m.

February 22 NOTRE DAME at CONNECTICUT (XL) 2:00 p.m.

March 8 BIG EAST Championship Quarterfinals (
Hartford , Conn. ) Noon/2:00/6:00/8:00 p.m.

March 9 BIG EAST Championship Semifinals (
Hartford , Conn. ) 6:00/8:00 p.m.

BIG EAST-CBS College Sports Network Game of the Week Schedule

November 22 Louisville at Xavier Noon

December 1 Rutgers at Temple 8:00 p.m.

January 6 RUTGERS at SYRACUSE 7:00 p.m.

NOTRE DAME at DE PAUL 9:00 p.m.

January 13 GEORGETOWN at
ST. JOHN ’S 7:00 p.m.


January 20 CINCINNATI at
LOUISVILLE 8:00 p.m.

January 21 Villanova at George Washington 8:00 p.m.

January 27 RUTGERS at NOTRE DAME 8:00 p.m.

February 3 RUTGERS at CONNECTICUT (XL) 8:00 p.m.

February 10 PITTSBURGH at
RUTGERS 8:00 p.m.

February 17 DE PAUL at SYRACUSE 8:00 p.m.

February 24 PITTSBURGH at

MARQUETTE 9:00 p.m.

BIG EAST Regional Sports Network Game of the Week Schedule

January 3 VILLANOVA at CINCINNATI 2:00 p.m.

January 10 DE PAUL at PITTSBURGH 2:00 p.m.

January 17 SYRACUSE at
CONNECTICUT (XL) 2:00 p.m.

January 24 ST. JOHN’S at WEST VIRGINIA 2:00 p.m.

January 31 USF at RUTGERS 2:00 p.m.

February 7 VILLANOVA at SETON HALL 2:00 p.m.

February 14 GEORGETOWN at
PROVIDENCE 2:00 p.m.

February 21 ST. JOHN’S at MARQUETTE 4:00 p.m.

February 28 PITTSBURGH at
LOUISVILLE 2:00 p.m.

March 7 BIG EAST Championship Second Round (
Hartford , Conn. ) Noon/2:00/6:00/8:00 p.m.

All dates and times (Eastern) are subject to change; BIG EAST games in all CAPS

BETV – BIG EAST Television, televised on local Regional Sports Networks (check your local listings)

CBS C – CBS College Sports Network

XL – XL Center ( Hartford,
Conn.); GP – Gampel Pavilion ( Storrs , Conn. )