Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Doty has surgery

UConn junior guard Caroline Doty can only hope the third time is the charm when it comes to her oft-injured left knee.

Doty had successful surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and torn meniscus on Tuesday at the UConn Health Center in Farmington. The three-hour procedure, performed by Dr. Robert Arciero, was conducted with no further complications.

She will begin the process of rehabilitating the knee on Thursday with the UConn training staff but having already been ruled out for the upcoming season, it will be a much more conservative schedule for recovery than when she tore her ACL as a senior at Germantown Academy and again midway through her freshman season at UConn.

Doty, who had now had her torn ACL in her left knee surgically repaired three times since October of 2007, will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Doty appeared in all 39 games and started 38 as a sophomore, averaging 6.8 points and finishing second on the 39-0 Huskies in assists and 3-pointers as UConn won its second straight national title and extended its winning streak to a Division I women's basketball record 78 straight games.


Charles is rookie of the year

In one of the worst kept secrets in WNBA history, the Connecticut Sun's Tina Charles was named the WNBA's Rookie of the Year.

Charles received each of the 39 votes from a media panel to win the award.

Here's the official release from the WNBA

NEW YORK, Aug. 31, 2010 – Connecticut Sun forward Tina Charles earned the 2010 Rookie of the Year award, the WNBA announced today. A national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters unanimously awarded Charles the honor.

Charles, the No.1 overall pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft topped all rookies in points (15.5 ppg) and rebounds (11.7 rpg) – leading the league in the latter category – and ranked second in the league in blocks (1.68 bpg). In the process, she set a pair of WNBA single-season records: Charles’ 398 total rebounds surpassed the mark of 363 set by Detroit’s Cheryl Ford in 2006, while her 22 double-doubles bettered the mark of 19 set by Utah’s Natalie Williams in 2000.

A product of the University of Connecticut and Christ the King High School in Queens, NY, Charles finished the season winning all four WNBA Rookie of the Month honors.

The 6-4 center posted her first double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds in a season- opening 74-61 win over the Chicago Sky on May 15. One of her best games came on July 7 in a 108-103 loss to the Atlanta Dream, when Charles posted a career-high 27 points, collected 20 rebounds, and contributed four blocks. In another notable performance on June 25, Charles posted a career-high and rookie-record 23 rebounds (tied for second most in league history) and added 19 points and two steals in a win over the Phoenix Mercury. She recorded 10 or more rebounds 23 times and scored in double-digits in all but four games this season as the Sun finished the season 17-17, a one-game improvement from last year’s 16-18 record.

In addition to setting significant WNBA records for a single season, Charles finished her rookie season by etching her name into the record books in numerous other areas as well. She established new single-season franchise marks for offensive (129) and defensive (269) rebounds; established the second-highest defensive rebound total in league history, behind Lisa Leslie’s 276 in 2004; and collected six straight double-doubles, one short of Lauren Jackson’s WNBA record of seven.

Charles averaged a double-double in every month but May (16.6 ppg and 9.6 rpg). In June, she averaged 15.5 points and 14.0 rebounds. Charles finished her rookie season averaging 16.2 points and 11.5 rebounds in August.

Charles, the all-time leading scorer and rebounder at the University of Connecticut, excelled on the court throughout her college career. As a senior, she earned All-America honors while leading the Huskies to their second consecutive NCAA championship and a record 78 straight wins. She was also the Big East Player of the Year as a senior and a three-time All-Big East First Team member.

In honor of being named the 2010 Rookie of the Year, Charles will receive $5,000 and a specially designed trophy by Tiffany & Co.

Below are the complete results of the 2010 Rookie of the Year voting, followed by a list of previous winners:


39 Tina Charles Connecticut Sun

A national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters unanimously awarded Charles the honor.


2010 Tina Charles Connecticut Sun
2009 Angel McCoughtry Atlanta Dream
2008 Candace Parker Los Angeles Sparks
2007 Armintie Price Chicago Sky
2006 Seimone Augustus Minnesota Lynx
2005 Temeka Johnson Washington Mystics
2004 Diana Taurasi Phoenix Mercury
2003 Cheryl Ford Detroit Shock
2002 Tamika Catchings Indiana Fever
2001 Jackie Stiles Portland Fire
2000 Betty Lennox Minnesota Lynx
1999 Chamique Holdsclaw Washington Mystics
1998 Tracy Reid Charlotte Sting

Charles was joined on the all-rookie team by her Sun teammate Kelsey Griffin, former UConn teammate Kalana Greene of the New York Liberty, as well as Minnesota's Monica Wright and Epiphanny Prince of the Chicago Sky.


Slow news day

So there's not much to report regarding the UConn women's basketball program.

Let's see, starting point guard Caroline Doty will have her third surgery to repair the torn ACL in her left knee and Tina Charles, the program's all-time leading scorer and rebounder, will be officially named the WNBA's Rookie of the Year at a noon press conference.

As for other items, I did some snooping around yesterday regarding recruiting. Regarding the report on Peach State Hoops which lists highly-touted post player Elizabeth Williams' as considering Duke, Virginia and Tennessee with the possibility of taking visits to North Carolina and Penn State, I did reach out to her high school coach to confirm that she did indeed drop UConn from consideration. An e-mail was waiting for me when I got up this morning from Princess Anne HS coach Darnell Dozier stating "UConn is not on her short list."

While it is a little surprising that UConn would not have made her top five, considering the geography was very important to her it seemed like a reach to expect her to come to UConn. Whoever lands her will be getting one heck of a talent and from my brief dealings with her at the U-17 practice sessions, a very nice kid.

I spoke with Debra Walker, the godmother of UConn recruiting target Betnijah Laney yesterday, and she said that Laney's official visits will be finalized after she is finished with her home visits which run from Sept. 16-25. Walker said she will have home visits from Connecticut, Duke, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia and West Virginia.

I'm waiting to her back from Greg Stokes, the father of UConn recruiting target Kiah Stokes, but I have no reason to question the accuracy of an internet report that the 6-foot-3 forward/center from Marion, Iowa is down to UConn, Georgia and Tennessee. I guess the biggest surprise is that Maryland is no longer in the running because some of the early scuttlebutt regarding Stokes is that Maryland was going to be a major player. The info I have is that Stokes is planning to take an official visit the weekend of Oct. 15-17 and will be on hand for the First Night fan fest on Oct. 15 and the first practice the following morning.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Geno's Cancer Team/Pilot Pen update

About $900 will be donated to Geno's Cancer Team as a result of the first year of a partnership between the fundraising organization founded by Geno Auriemma and his wife Kathy and the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament.

Five percent of online ticket sales through Geno's Cancer Team and using the special promotional code will be donated back to the GCT's foundation. About 425 tickets were purchased resulting in about $900 being donated.

Dates to remember

In between dodging rain drops and watching tennis matches at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament, I have been doing a little bit of checking up on recruiting.

The dates to remember in terms of visits are Sept. 10-12 and Oct. 15-17.

As previously reported in this blog, Sara Hammond is planning to visit UConn during that first weekend I mentioned (actually from Sept. 9-11 according to her father) and the word I am hearing is that there's an outside chance that the two players who have already committed to UConn (Kalana Mosqueda-Lewis and Brianna Banks) may also come up that weekend. That is already a special time for UConn since rising senior Maya Moore (who in three days I can start referring to simply as senior since the fall session will be starting) as well as ex-Huskies Tina Charles, Renee Montgomery and Asjha Jones will be playing for the Geno Auriemma coach U.S. national team against Australia on Sept. 10 and Spain on Sept. 12 with both games at the XL Center in Hartford.

The availability of former UConn stars Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Diana Taurasi will be determined by how deep their teams go into the WNBA players. Bird and Cash play for Seattle, which holds a 1-0 lead on Los Angeles in the Western Conference semifinals while Taurasi's Phoenix Mercury squad won the first game against San Antonio. Seattle and Phoenix will go for the sweep in the best of three series on Saturday. If Seattle and Phoenix reach the Western Conference finals, the trio of former UConn teammates will have to miss the start of the U.S. training camp which starts on Sept. 3 since the WNBA's conference finals don't start until Sept. 2. However, with the conference finals ending no later than Sept. 8, only those players in the WNBA finals would be unavailable for the Connecticut portion of the training camp.

I was incorrect in reporting that visit will be an official one, it will be an unofficial visit but something tells me Sara Hammond, who the UConn staff really likes, will have a pretty good idea of where she will be headed to college when she returns home from her visit to UConn.

Kiah Stokes, another player very high on UConn's wish list, is looking to visit UConn in the Oct. 15-17 time frame which will be around the time UConn holds its "First Night" Fan Fest followed by its first real practice the following day. I'm not sure if Hammond, Elizabeth Williams and Betnijah Laney will be up that weekend as well but don't be surprised to see some of the players high up on UConn's wish list in the high school Class of 2012 make it up there in mid October.

Speaking of Charles, I received an e-mail from the WNBA and the Connecticut Sun of a major WNBA award being presented at Mohegan Sun Casino on Tuesday. Let's see, Charles was the rookie of the month for May, June, July and August, I wonder what major award will be presented on that day?

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Geno's day in New Haven

The last time Geno Auriemma was in New Haven, he was checking out Hillhouse star Bria Holmes.

His latest stop in the Elm City had little to do with basketball. Auriemma arrived at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament to do an interview with Bruce Barber (along with Angela Santacroce, a member of the board of directors for Geno's Cancer Team), sign some autographs, a press conference and then he took in the Caroline Wozniacki/Dominika Cibulkova.

The big news coming out of the Auriemma camp was that he became a grandfather but there was other subjects he address. First, here are links to the videos of his discussing being a grandfather for the first time and also the partnership between Geno's Cancer Team and the Pilot Pen. Also, here's the story I wrote for today's paper.

Auriemma also admitted that the combination of becoming a grandfather for the first time in addition to his duties at UConn and as the U.S. national team coach is beginning to take its toll.

I am just starting to feel it now. It is just starting to build up. It is all starting to catch up to me. These next two weeks or next 10 days, I need to back off a little bit. Come September 3 and we start training camp, there is nothing we can do about it. It's been busy but it's been good but these last two weeks I have kind of felt it. It's been a lot of travel and a lot of other stuff. (There's been) USA Basketball stuff, recruiting stuff but between now and Sept. 3, I will recharge my batteries and then it is off we go. Let's go win.

There was some stuff I was unable to get into the story including Geno talking about the importance of having Chris Dailey, Shea Ralph and Marisa Moseley to run things with the program in the month when he is either holding training camps or coaching the U.S. team in the FIBA World Championships.

"I would be very concerned, no question. (With) Chris, Marissa, Shea, I don't have to show up until the NCAA tournament," Auriemma said. "There is nothing I would do that they would do different, there is nothing that they are going to do that I would question. I am very fortunate. I wish we had more upperclassmen, tht would be good. We are split down the middle, there are five of us and five of them. There are five freshmen and five guys returning so it is a battle of us against them, a battle of the good guys against the enemy and we just have to get them on our side quick."

One thing I learned yesterday is that Auriemma played tennis in junior college. He said he played at No. 4 singles and No. 1 doubles and was a serve and vollier because "I couldn't hit the ball over more than three times in a row."


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Auriemma a grandfather

UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma became a grandfather for the first time at 11:45 p.m. on Tuesday when his daughter Jenna gave birth to a son named Christian James.

Auriemma met with the media during a visit at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament to promote the partnership between Geno's Cancer Team, which he and his wife started to raise money for cancer research, and the tennis tournament. Naturally much of the interview was focused on the milestone moment in his life.

UConn's Hall of Fame women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma made his first trip to the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament.

"I was at the hospital, doing exactly what I did when my kids were born, I was sleeping in the waiting room," Auriemma said.

"It feels good. I am late in my family. My brother already beat me to it. It started to make me think 'God, I am going to take better care of myself.' I want to be around when he is 20 which means I will be 76. Then I said 'nah, just do what I've been doing and hopefully I'll last.' I think he's been a real source of inspiration and excitement to our family. When it is the first one, it is something special. I guess that is the deal when you have a grandchild, that everybody who is down the pecking order one spot, he moves directly to the top."

Auriemma said he played No. 4 singles and No. 1 doubles when he was attending junior college but he normally spends the month of August in his beach home in New Jersey so he has never made it down for the tournament.

"I am usually not here in August so I don't get a chance to get down here," Auriemma said. "Other than what we do at UConn, the Travelers and this, this is kind of like one of the three things that happen in Connecticut that are really important to a lot of people.

"I have always been a fan. I wish it wasn't the week right before the U.S. Open because you would be able to get some players that probably would want this week (off). As we were saying, if you are a tennis player and if you want to get ready for the U.S. Open, why would you not want to play here. This is perfect. You don't have to travel very far."


No GameDay appearances for Huskies

ESPN just announced the basketball games being featured on its College GameDay broadcasts in 2011.

UConn and Notre Dame made history when a game between thhe two Big East rivals became the first women's college game to be featured on ESPN's GameDay telecast. Tennessee is the program playing the role of GameDay pioneer as the Jan. 15 show will mark the first time GameDay will focus on a women's/men's doubleheader with the games between the Lady Vols and Vanderbilt being showcased.

Here's the list of games being shown as part of ESPN GameDay, all the games are men's games except for the Tennessee/Vanderbilt contest.

Jan 15 Vanderbilt at Tennessee (men’s game) noon/
Vanderbilt at Tennessee (women’s game) 8 p.m.
Jan 22 Michigan State at Purdue 9 p.m.
Jan 29 Kansas State at Kansas 7 p.m.
Feb 5 Kentucky at Florida 9 p.m.
Feb 12 Pittsburgh at Villanova 9 p.m.
Feb 19 Illinois at Michigan State 9 p.m.
Feb 26 Duke at Virginia Tech 9 p.m.
Mar 5 Texas at Baylor 9 p.m.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The WNBA Rookie of the Month is ...

Tina Charles. I know, I was shocked too.

UConn's all-time leading scorer and rebounder added the award for regular-season games played in the month of August to the honor she received in May, June and July.

Charles led all rookies with a 16.2 point per game scoring average and led the league by averaging 11.5 rebounds per game.

UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma is expected to be at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament on Wednesday. He is scheduled to do a live interview with Bruce Barber at the Sony Ericsson stage at 4 p.m. in the upper concourse of the Connecticut Tennis Center and will be signing autographs beginning at 5 p.m.

Auriemma's appearance is being held in conjunction with the partnership of his cancer fundraising organization's "Geno's Cancer Team" with the Pilot Pen. Online ticket purchasers were able to get discounted rates for tickets by using the "VF10" promotion code with 5 percent of the proceeds from those tickets sales going to Geno's Cancer Team.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Hammond sets official visit date

Sara Hammond, a 6-foot-2 rising senior forward from Rockcastle County High in Mt. Vernon, Ky., will be making an official visit to UConn from Sept. 9-11.

Hammond's father Eddie said on Monday night that UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma was hoping to have Hammond come up that weekend since he will be leaving for the Czech Republic to coach the United States national team in the FIBA World Championships after wrapping up training camps in the Washington, D.C. and Hartford areas next month.

Eddie Hammond said that UConn assistant coach Marissa Moseley and possibly another member of Auriemma's staff is planning to make a home visit on Sept. 17 and that his daughter will likely only take four of the five available official campus visits.

Louisville, who the Hammonds have been to multiple times since it is only about two hours away, Western Kentucky and Vanderbilt are other schools they are expected to take official visits to.

Although the dates of her other official visits have not been finalized, Eddie Hammond said it's quite possible that his daughter could make her college decision by the end of next month after the official and home visits are complete.

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Stokes leads U.S. to bronze

UConn recruiting target Kiah Stokes had 10 points and five rebounds to lead the United States to a 34-16 win over Canada in the bronze medal game at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

Stokes, a 6-foot-3 forward/center from Marion, Iowa, led the U.S. team in scoring (12.3 points per game), rebounding (4 per game), field goal percentage (59.4) as well as field goals and free throws attempted and made.

"This experience was great," Stokes said. "The 3-on-3 (format) was different at the beginning, but eventually the whole team got to love it. It was really fun being in Singapore all the way across the world. It’s something I never thought I would get to do. It’s a great city and the people nice. Everyone here loves the USA and wants pictures, it’s almost kind of like we’re famous. It’s a great feeling."


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stokes, U.S. fall in semifinals

Despite 11 points and 12 rebounds from UConn recruiting target Kiah Stokes, the previously undefeated United States squad lost to Australia 25-23 in overtime in the semifinals of the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

The U.S., which outscored its first five opponents 164-49, will play Canada for the bronze medal at 3 a.m. on Monday.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stokes, U.S. win big again

UConn recruiting target Kiah Stokes had 10 points, four rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot as the United States rolled to a 34-10 win over Korea in the quarterfinals of the Youth Olympic Games. Amber Henson led the U.S. with 18 points.

With the win, the U.S. advances to play Australia in the semifinals of the 3-on-3 tournament. Canada and China, who like the U.S. are 5-0 in the tournament, will meet in the other semifinal. Canada and China are up first at 2 a.m. Sunday followed by U.S. and Australia.

Here are some quotes from Stokes, a 6-foot-3 forward/center from Marion, Iowa, courtesy of USA Basketball.

How have you and Amber been so successful during this tournament?
We just have to be physical with their posts, and we usually have a height advantage. So we just use that to our advantage as much as we can, and I think it works out.

How did you adjust to Korea’s different defensive look?
They started sagging on us, and coach just told us to try to use their defender as a screen to try to clog up the lane a little bit and to go off that. Mostly, we just tried to take outside shots, but they weren’t really falling, so we just kind of forced it back in and penetrated.

What does the team need to do to get the gold medal?
We’re confident. We know that if we play the best we can play, no one can beat us. So we just need to keep playing hard and getting stops on defense, and we should win the gold.

Overall, what’s it been like at this tournament?
Yeah, it’s definitely fun. Coming in, we really didn’t know what to expect, but it’s been fun. The game is a little more one-on-one, so it’s kind of like playing back at home with your friends on the playground. Plus, it’s a fun environment, and in the arena they have music and announcers. It’s a really fun and lively atmosphere to be in

Just a reminder for those interested in seeing UConn coach Geno Auriemma, he will be at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament on Wednesday. He is slated to do a live interview with Bruce Barber around 4 p.m. on the Sony Ericsson Stage and at 5 p.m. he will be in the Pilot Pen booth signing autographs. Auriemma's Geno Cancer Team began a partnership with the Pilot Pen this year where his cancer fundraising project will receive 5 percent of proceeds from tickets purchased online from June 1-Aug. 20 using the promotion code VF10.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Doty's surgery set for Aug. 31

According to a blog entry by Rich Elliott of the Connecticut Post, UConn guard Caroline Doty will have surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee on Aug. 31 at the UConn Medical Center in Farmington.

Doty suffered the season-ending knee injury on July 22 and will sit out the upcoming season. She will have two years of eligibility remaining if she applies for a fifth year as she said she plans to do. She won't need to do that until late in the 2011-12 season.

Switching gears, here are my thoughts on the recent addition of Jayne Appel, Rebekkah Brunson, Ebony Hoffman and Kia Vaughn to the player pool for the U.S. senior national team.

First, anybody who witnessed the U.S./Australia scrimmage at Mohegan Sun Arena on July 11 would understand why Ebony Hoffman was added to the player pool. She was one of the more impressive U.S. players in the scrimmage and one of the few players eager to mix it up inside with the Aussies. Second, while Jayne Appel and Kia Vaughn haven't exactly been lighting it up in the WNBA, USA Basketball tends to reward loyalty so the fact that Hoffman, Appel and Vaughn were on hand for the July training camp set the stage for them to be added to the U.S. player pool.

Brunson's addition was one of need as the injury to Candace Parker has left the U.S. rather shorthanded in terms of legit power forwards. Could Crystal Langhorne, who is a major reason why Washington is vying for the top spot in the Eastern Conference despite the loss to perennial all-star guard Alana Beard for the season, be in the player pool? Yes. Should she be in the player pool? Yes. Does the U.S. have enough undersized post players in the player pool already? Yes. Will any of the four new players make the squad playing in the world championships? Probably not.

In my opinion, this outrage regarding Langhorne's omission becomes a moot point if Asjha Jones is healthy. Maybe I'm biased having watched Jones play in college and for much of her WNBA career, but on the teleconference announcing the addition of Appel, Brunson, Hoffman and Vaughn earlier this week, UConn and U.S. coach Geno Auriemma said there was a need for a power forward who can not only defend but can score in the post. That's pretty much Jones' job description. When healthy, she is one of the most effective and consistent two-way forwards in the pro game. Not only can she score in the post and from the perimeter, but she is a standout defensive player. She has squared off with Australia's Lauren Jackson more than a few times during her time playing in Russia as Jones' Ekaterinburg squad is annually butting heads with Jackson's Spartak team for the Russian title as well in the EuroLeague playoffs. Having played in Russia, she is also well schooled on the way Russia, another formidable opponent, goes about its basketball business.

The only question was whether Jones was healthy enough to be relied on in the world championships? Jones missed the first four games of the WNBA season after undergoing surgery to clean up the area around her Achilles tendon. She started slowly, averaging 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in her first 11 games back. However, Jones has scored in double figures in her last seven games and 14 of her last 18 games so obviously she is healthy.

There's been a lot made of Langhorne's WNBA stats in comparison to those of the four new additions to the player pool. Well how about these stats: 15.3 points and 6.1 rebounds in 2007, 17.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in 2008 and 16.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in 2009. Those happen to be Jones' stats for her first three seasons as a full-time starter while healthy. Oh yeah, she averaged 2.5, 2.5 and 2.4 assists per game. Jones also happens to have a positive assist/turnover ratio in each of the last three seasons. The four new additions, said to be added to compete for a spot as a post presence, have yet to accomplish that feat even once during their WNBA careers. Of course that was never brought up on the call. One reporter appeared to be on the verge of tears making a case for Langhorne being in the U.S. player pool which I thought was a bit over the top but that's just me. Let me ask this question, if the U.S. is protecting a one-point lead in the final minute of the gold medal game against Australia, who would you rather have guarding Lauren Jackson? Crystal Langhorne or Asjha Jones? So spare me the unprofessional "she was robbed" sobfest I witnessed a few days ago. If Asjha Jones doesn't make this team then it would be a perfect time to second guess what the heck USA Basketball is doing but the chances of the U.S. winning the world championship are not helped or hindered by the curious decision not to include Langhorne in the player pool.

Why I am making this a Jones vs. Langhorne/Brunson/Appel/Hoffman/Vaughn argument? Well, because Jones has the exact skill set the U.S. team needs and there simply aren't a heck of a lot of open roster spots on the U.S. team.

I would consider Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Sylvia Fowles and Cappie Pondexter to be locks to make the world championship squad. Tina Charles, Maya Moore, Angel McCoughtry and Seimone Augustus aren't far behind. That leaves three spots. One will be a reserve point guard, one a forward and the aforementioned power forward. My picks would be Kara Lawson over Renee Montgomery and Lindsey Harding at guard and Candice Dupree beating out Swin Cash for the other available forward position. Add in Jones and that looks like the team to beat in the Czech Republic.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Georgia Tech game is a matinee

Georgia Tech put the time of its home game against UConn up on its site and it will be played at 2 p.m. on Nov. 21.

The entire UConn schedule should come out early next month but we have the dates for all the non-conference games except the game at North Carolina which is expected to be played in January.
Franklin Pierce (date, site TBA)
Nov. 10 Indiana (Pa.)
Regular season
Nov. 14 Holy Cross
Nov. 16 Baylor (XL Center), 6 p.m.
Nov. 21 at Georgia Tech, 2 p.m.
Nov. 26-28 WBCA Classic vs. Howard, Lehigh and LSU (dates of exact matchups have not been announced)
Dec. 5 Sacred Heart
Dec. 19 Ohio State (at Madison Square Garden), 2:30 p.m.
Dec. 21 Florida State
Dec. 28 at Pacific, 10 p.m.
Dec. 30 at Stanford
Jan. 31 Duke
Feb. 14 Oklahoma

Stokes comes up big again

UConn recruiting target Kiah Stokes had 17 points as the United States rolled to a 33-5 win over Belarus to wrap up preliminary round play at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

Stokes, a 6-foot-3 forward/center from Marion, Iowa, hit 7 of her 11 shots and also had four rebounds, one assist and one block.

The U.S. won Group B with a 4-0 record (outscoring its opponents 130-30) and will play South Korea in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 3 a.m. Stokes leads the team with an average of 13.8 points per game.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Geno: "It's not going to be easy"

Geno Auriemma was on a conference call with USA Basketball Women's National Team Director Carol Callan following the announcement that Jayne Appel, Rebekkah Brunson, Ebony Hoffman and Kia Vaughn have been added to the list of national team pool players which the 12-member U.S. squad playing in the world championships will be drawn from. Also, it was announced that the national team training camp will start on Sept. 4 with two days of training at Flint Hill School in Oakton, Va. followed by two days of work at George Washington University before heading north for two exhibition games and two days of training in Hartford from Sept. 9-12.

While Auriemma was on the call, I asked him for a reaction to Caroline Doty's third torn ACL - all in her left knee - which will sideline her for the upcoming season. Here are his remarks.

Caroline has had this issue for a while. It has kept her from playing in the past and now it is going to keep her from playing this season. It is unfortunate that it happened, it is unfortunate with the timing, it's something you wouldn't wish on any player once much less three times.

Caroline is going to put on a happy face, she is going to put up a good front but deep down inside you know she is really struggling with this. As soon as we start practice, she is going to struggle more and as soon as we start playing, the struggle is going to get even more difficult. That is the hand she is dealt right now.

I am not worried about us. I am not one of these guys who is going to keep reminding everybody that 'hey, if we had Caroline, we'd be really good.' As we go through the season, Caroline is not playing for us this year and we are a going to have to figure out a way to do what we want to do with who we have. Caroline has her own issues, her issue is to get healthy and our issue is to do whatever we set out to do but do it without a real important part of our team. It is going to be difficult but it is not supposed to be easy, we did it two years ago and now we are going to have to do it again."

Other notes from the conference call.

The list of the 12 players representing the U.S. in the world championships has to be presented to FIBA by Sept. 21 and the U.S. roster will come from the 21 healthy players currently in the pool.

Other than UConn's Maya Moore, there's no plan to invite any active college players to training camp.

The U.S. will play in a tournament in Spain with Australia, Spain and Senegal after leaving for Europe and will also play an exhibition against the Czech Republic on Sept. 20 in Brno before heading for Ostrava in the Czech Republic where the U.S. will play its preliminary round games.

Everybody in the pool who is done with the WNBA season (in other words, their teams either didn't make the postseason or have been eliminated) will be in Connecticut when the team arrives on Sept. 9.

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U.S. national team update

Obviously seeing a need to add some size to its roster for next month's world championships, USA Basketball added Ebony Hoffman, Rebekkah Brunson, Kia Vaughn and Jayne Appel to its player pool. USA Basketball also announced that its training camp will be held in the Washington, D.C. area beginning on Sept. 4.

"Certainly one of the positions that we are trying to shore up is in the post," said U.S. national team and UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma. "With Candace Parker not being available because of her (shoulder) operation, these four additions give us a lot of options to choose from. I'm anxious to see how they fit in. And depending on who's available because of the playoffs, I think it's important to have as many options as possible.

"I'm really looking forward to that first week in September in D.C., and even more so the following few weeks as the playoffs wind down and we're able to add more and more players. Speaking for all the coaches, we're anxious to get our whole team together. And even then it might not happen until the start of competition, but at least we're getting close."

The team will train at the Flint Hill School in Oakton, Va. (where they held a few days of the practices for the U-17 national team) on Sept. 4-5 before moving for two days of training at American University's Bender Arena on Sept. 6-7. Training camp will move to Hartford on Sept. 9 leading into exhibition games at the XL Center against Australia (Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m.) and Spain (Sept. 12, 1 p.m.). In between will be a training session at 10 a.m. on Sept. 11 at the XL Center. Unless you hear otherwise, the training sessions are not open to the public.

Tickets for the exhibition games are on sale now online at, through Ticketmaster charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and in person at the XL Center box office. Ticket prices range from $75, $50, $30, $20 and $10 respectively.

In addition to the USA exhibition games, the University of Hartford will play host to an exhibition between Australia and Spain on Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can also be purchased through Ticketmaster.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Time for Baylor game announced

ESPN sent out a release promoting its third annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon which will feature 19 men's college basketball games and one women's game on Nov. 16. The women's game will be a rematch of the national semifinal between Baylor and UConn at the XL Center. The game, which is the State Farm Women's Tip-Off Classic, will start at 6 p.m. and be televised on ESPN2 and also avaiable at

Stokes dominating for U.S.

UConn recruiting target Kiah Stokes has been unstoppable and has single-handedly outscored the opponent as the United States opened play at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore with a pair of easy wins.

After scoring 12 points in six minutes in a 30-8 victory over Angola, Stokes had 19 points (on 9 of 12 shooting) in eight minutes in a 34-11 win over host Singapore.

The U.S. will continue pool play against Germany tonight at 9:30 p.m.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Doty to miss upcoming season

Junior guard Caroline Doty will be sidelined for the season after tearing the ACL in her left knee late last month.

It is the third time she has suffered an ACL tear in her left knee. While playing soccer in high school, she tore her ACL which caused her to miss her senior season of basketball at Germantown (Pa.) Academy. In the midst of her best offensive game of the season against Syracuse, Doty tore her ACL forcing her to miss the rest of the 2008-09 season.

According to the release sent out by UConn, Doty will undergo surgery to repair the injury in the coming weeks and will begin the rehabilitation process.

“We are all obviously disappointed for Caroline, but we know that she will work very hard to be ready for next season,” said UConn head coach Geno Auriemma in a statement.

Doty will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Doty averaged 8.6 points per game in her freshman year and started all of the 17 games she played in. This past season, Doty started 38 of 39 games and averaged 6.8 points per game as the Huskies went undefeated and won the national championship.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Laney drops two Big East schools

I figured it was time for a recruiting update so I reached out to Debra Walker, who is the godmother of Betnijah Laney and Eddie Hammond, the father of Sara Hammond.

The biggest news out of my two conversations is that Laney has cut her list of schools from nine to seven as she eliminated Cincinnati and Louisville. Laney, a 6-foot rising senior wing out of Smyrna (Del.) High.

When I spoke with Laney at the U.S. Under-17 practice session last month, Cincinnati and Louisville were on Laney's list along with UConn, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia and West Virginia.

The plan is for Laney to go through the process of chatting with coaches during upcoming home visits, narrow her list further and take her five official visits.

As for Hammond, a 6-foot-2 rising senior forward for Rockcastle County High in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, she lists Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky, Louisville and UConn as her top schools with Notre Dame and Maryland also in the mix according to her father.

Hammond is planning to visit Louisville on Sept. 1 while Eddie Hammond said that UConn coach Geno Auriemma would like to have Sara up for a visit around the time that Auriemma will be coaching the U.S. in exhibitions against Australia and Spain on Sept. 10 and 12 respectively at the XL Center in Hartford. However, the Hammonds have yet to decide if they'll make it up to Connecticut that weekend.

The timing makes sense since Auriemma will be in the Czech Republic coaching the U.S. in the FIBA World Championships from Sept. 23-Oct. 3 and will have a training camp at a location yet to be announced from Sept. 13-22 so the official visits would need to be either done in the first two weekends of September or after Auriemma returns to Connecticut in early October.

UConn already has commitments from guard/forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis out of Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Calif. and guard Brianna Banks, who plays for Northgate High in Newnan, Ga. Besides Hammond and Laney, other players on UConn's recruiting radar in the Class of 2011 include post players Elizabeth Williams and Kiah Stokes. With nine players on scholarship for next year, UConn could take as many as six players but I'd be surprised to see a class of more than four. If UConn can get a combination of either Williams or Stokes and either Hammond or Laney to go with Mosqueda-Lewis and Banks, the UConn staff would be rather delighted. It would also leave four available scholarships for a talent-rich Class of 2012.

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Conlon still has the touch

Maria Conlon, a member of three national championship teams at UConn, has always had the ability to deliver in the clutch whether it was at the high school, AAU or college level. In the championship game of the New Haven Summer League on Monday, she proved she still has it.

Conlon scored 13 of her game-high 20 points in the second half as Plus 2 won its second straight title with a 55-40 win over the Wolfpack, which is actually the Western Connecticut squad which reached the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament.

When Western Connecticut rising senior guard Heather Lee hit a 3-pointer, the Wolfpack had a surprising three-point lead late in the first half. At halftime, Plus 2 only led by a point.

Since the team doesn't play or practice together that often, Conlon suggested they scrap the zone in favor of man to man. The result was a 24-8 run to open the second half which broke the game wide open. Conlon had six points and two assists during that span including six straight points at one point.

Former University of Hartford star Kenitra Johnson added nine points, 14 rebounds and four blocks for Plus 2, which is also in the finals of the Hartford Pro-Am this weekend.

Karli Spera led the Wolf Pack with 12 points while Lee, who like Conlon is a former Seymour High star, had 11 points and three rebounds. The Wolfpack was playing without WestConn's rising senior center Melissa Teel of Hamden. Teel, the Little East Conference's Player of the Year, is currently in Brazil playing on a team of Division III all-stars. While it's impossible to say that Teel's appearance would have changed the outcome, she would have allowed the Wolfpack to match up much better with Johnson and Kendra Walton down low.

With Teel, Lee and Spera all seniors and the only player gone from the NCAA tournament squad being fourth-leading scorer Katie Moffo, another NCAA tournament appearance could be in the works for WCSU especially since incoming freshmen Molly Poryanda and Caroline Brasa look like they will contrribute immediately for WestConn. Poryanda had all seven of her points in the first half while Brasa had five points.

In the high school final, Hillhouse held off Career 32-31. Colleene Smith had nine points and 12 rebounds, Andreana Thomas had nine points and four steals and Bria Holmes finished with eight points and three blocks. Holmes, a highly-touted rising junior who is gifted enough that UConn coach Geno Auriemma took in a Hillhouse game last season, hit a game-winning free throw with 9 seconds to play. Career's Nicole Anderson just missed a game-winning jumper at the buzzer. Holmes said there's not much to report regarding her recruiting which is understandable since she has yet to start her junior year at Hillhouse.

Jasmine Claxton had eight of her 10 points in the fourth quarter to bring Career back.

There will be a story in Tuesday's edition of the Register and a couple of videos from the two championship games on Monday will be available on the Register's web site.

Finally, league founder Bill Dixon told me that the championship game in the New Haven Midnight Madness league (ages 10-14) will be held at Mohegan Sun Arena before Friday's WNBA game between the Connecticut Sun and Seattle Storm, a game that will feature six former UConn stars as Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Svetlana Abrosimova play for Seattle while Asjha Jones, Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles are stars for the Sun.

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Friday, August 06, 2010

Duke game is January 31

Duke released its non-conference schedule and the Blue Devils will play at UConn on Jan. 31. That leaves just the North Carolina game and that game is expected to be in January and could be the annual nationally-televised game UConn plays on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 17).

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Moore, Hayes make Wade watch list

UConn's Maya Moore, a two-time winner, and Tiffany Hayes were among 25 players named as preseason candidates for the Wade Trophy, the most prestigious individual honor in women's college basketball.

The winner will be announced at the 2011 Final Four in Indianapolis. If Moore wins, she would become the first player to earn the honor three times. She currently joins former LSU star Seimone Augustus and ex-Old Dominion great Nancy Lieberman as the only two-time winners of the Wade Trophy.

Nine players who the Huskies will face in the upcoming season are also on the list (Ohio State's Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis, Stanford's Nneka Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen, Duke's Jasmine Thomas, Danielle Robinson of Oklahoma, Sugar Rodgers of Georgetown, Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins, Brittney Griner of Baylor) as is former UConn recruit Elena Delle Donne.

Here is the complete list

Name Year Position Institution
Danielle Adams Senior Center Texas A&M University
Kachine Alexander Senior Guard University of Iowa
Angie Bjorklund Senior Guard University of Tennessee
Kelley Cain Junior Center University of Tennessee
Elena Delle Donne Sophomore Forward University of Delaware
Skylar Diggins Sophomore Guard University of Notre Dame
Victoria Dunlap Senior Forward University of Kentucky
Dawn Evans Senior Guard James Madison University
Brittney Griner Sophomore Center Baylor University
Amber Harris Senior Forward Xavier University
Tiffany Hayes Junior Guard University Of Connecticut
Shenise Johnson Junior Guard University of Miami
Jantel Lavender Senior Center Ohio State University
Maya Moore Senior Forward University Of Connecticut
Nnemkadi Ogwumike Junior Forward Stanford University
Kayla Pedersen Senior Forward Stanford University
Ta'Shia Phillips Senior Center Xavier University
Samantha Prahalis Junior Guard Ohio State University
Chastity Reed Senior Forward Univ. of Arkansas - Little Rock
Danielle Robinson Senior Guard University of Oklahoma
Sugar Rodgers Sophomore Guard Georgetown University
Shekinna Stricklen Junior Guard University of Tennessee
Carolyn Swords Senior Center Boston College
Jasmine Thomas Senior Guard Duke University
Courtney Vandersloot Senior Guard Gonzaga University

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Monday, August 02, 2010

Oklahoma game is Feb. 14

According to the Oklahoma schedule which was released today, the Sooners will play at UConn on Feb. 14. That leaves just the dates of the Duke and North Carolina games to be announced and they are both expected to be played in January. Also, the Stanford game is on Stanford sports calendar as Dec. 30, confirming what has been reported for months regarding that date of the UConn/Stanford game.

Franklin Pierce (date, site TBA)
Nov. 10 Indiana (Pa.)
Regular season
Nov. 14 Holy Cross
Nov. 16 Baylor (XL Center)
Nov. 21 at Georgia Tech
Nov. 26-28 WBCA Classic vs. Howard, Lehigh and LSU (dates of exact matchups have not been announced)
Dec. 5 Sacred Heart
Dec. 19 Ohio State (at Madison Square Garden)
Dec. 21 Florida State
Dec. 28 at Pacific
Dec. 30 at Stanford
Feb. 14 Oklahoma