Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A look to the future

With another win in the books and frankly not much more to report about last night's UConn/Rutgers game, I figured it would be a good time to take a look at how UConn's five incoming freshmen are faring this season.

Obviously, Michala Johnson has been in the news recently after suffering a season-ending knee injury for the second season in a row. The 6-foot-3 forward at Montini Catholic of Lombard, Ill. was averaging 18 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks per game despite having her minutes limited by Montini coach Jason Nichols as a precaution after Johnson's return from her first torn ACL. After tearing the ACL in her left knee in the first game of her junior season, Johnson suffered the same injury on her right knee in a Jan. 12 win over Guerin Prep.

Speaking of knee injuries, Laguna Hills (Calif.) senior guard Lauren Engeln missed her second straight game with a sprained knee but could be back as early as Friday when Laguna Hills plays University. In 20 games Engeln is averaging 20.2 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.8 steals per game.

Stefanie Dolson, a 6-foot-5 center at Minisink Valley in Slate Hill, N.Y., is enjoying "a tremendous season so far" is the way Minisink Valley coach Judy Mottola put it in an e-mail she sent to me in response to my request for Stefanie's updated stats. Dolson is averaging 25.6 points, 17.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2 steals and 6 blocks per contest.

Samarie Walker, a 6-foot-1 wing at Chaminade Julienne in Dayton, Ohio, is averaging 15.5 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. I will say this about Samarie, after watching her battle inside against older players when she was the only high school junior at the U.S. Under-19 national team trials I attended last year, don't be surprised if she plays her way into the mix as an inside player next season. I know all the talk surrounding Tina Charles' replacement centers around Heather Buck, Johnson and Dolson but I would not be the least bit surprised to see Walker make a major impact next season as a versatile player able to score inside. I saw Barbara Turner handle herself pretty well as a 5-10 player so an athletic 6-1 player like Walker is somebody who bears watching in the future.

Last but certainly not least is Bria Hartley, a 5-foot-10 guard at North Babylon (N.Y.) who again made the trip down to watch UConn play last night. Unfortunately I do not have complete stats for Bria. Unlike Laguna Hills and Chaminade Julienne, North Babylon's stats are not available on the internet (or at least I was unable to find them). I have not heard back from North Babylon coach Mike Petre yet but if I do I will pass on her numbers. I can say that in nine games in January she has three 30-point games including consecutive games with 35 and 37 and is averaging 28.3 points per game in the month.

Off the subject, I was screened out and could not see who it was that UConn junior forward Maya Moore nearly landed on when she jumped on the press table during the Rutgers game. The Associated Press photo in today's Register made it as clear as could be as USA Basketball Women's National Team Director Carol Callan and Renee Brown, Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations were seen trying to keep Maya from causing any harm to herself. While they would have done the same for any player, I'm sure the last thing anybody from USA Basketball or the WNBA wants to see is an injury to a player like Moore who seems destined to bring such glory to both organizations.

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