Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Spreading her wings

On a day when senior center Tina Charles found out she was the first UConn player to be named the Big East Player of the Week in consecutive weeks since Diana Taurasi in January of 2003, the subject went a little deeper than any individual accolades.

Charles spoke not only of her two-credit internship at the Bergin Correctional Institute which will begin later this month but of an emotional trip to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford on Monday morning.

Charles admitted that if she wasn't in position for a career as a professional basketball player wasn't in her future, she would like to be a probation officer. The internship will give her a chance to see if that is something up her alley.

"I am definitely looking forward to (following around) the parole officer, shadowing him and (see) what prisoners go through," Charles said. "I did orientation (at the facility). It was different, it was surprising because a lot of them knew who I was and they wanted to have extra protection with me because it is open, it is not restricted. A lot of them were saying hi to me and things like that."

This morning from about 9-11:30 a.m., Charles and her teammates visited patients at the hospital which is something that always tugs are her heartstrings because some of the patients are struggling for their lives.

"It shows that we are blessed, being healthy and being able to play this sport and not to take anything for granted," Charles said. "Just the children seeing our faces and the young adults, it just made their day. We brought them our game day posters and they were really interacting with us and it really made the families happy.

"It is really difficult, I am the most emotional person on the team, we watch a movie and I start crying so I had tears in my eyes just giving out toys around Christmas time (during the team's visit to a local Salvation Army) but it's hard but just the fact that we are able to put a smile on somebody's face by signing an autograph or anything little by that ...

UConn redshirt freshman Heather Buck missed practice because of the sprained left ankle she suffered in Saturday's win over North Carolina and her status for Wednesday's game against Marquette is up in the air.

"She didn't practice (Monday) and not sure she is going to practice tomorrow," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "We'll see. If she doesn't do either, she'll be limited for Wednesday. It is nothing serious, it is just a sprained ankle."

A recruiting source said that UConn did not offer a scholarship offer to highly-touted Bolingbrook (Ill.) High junior guard Ariel Massengale, who was in attendance at Saturday's UConn/North Carolina game.

The source said nothing is imminent with Massengale, who figures to take her time during the process although it figures to be yet another recruiting battle between UConn and Tennessee for Massengale's services.

UConn has offered scholarships to juniors Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (the only member of the current high school junior class to commit to the Huskies), Bentijah Laney and Bonnie Samuelson.

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