Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

National TV schedule is out

The UConn women's basketball team will be on national television nine times during the regular season including seven games being shown on the ESPN network.
The Nov. 16 game agaisnt Baylor, Dec. 30 contest at Stanford, games at North Carolina on Jan. 17 and at home against Duke on Jan. 31 as well as the Feb. 14 game against Oklahoma will be televised on ESPN2. ESPNU will show the Ohio State game on Dec. 19 at Madison Square Garden and Florida State contest two days later at the XL Center. The Jan. 8 game at Notre Dame will be on CBS while CBS College Sports will air the Feb. 8 game at West Virginia.
ESPNU will also televise the Big East tournament quarterfinals and semifinals with the Big East championship game on Mar. 8 will be broadcast by ESPN.
The rest of the television schedule including the games being aired on CPTV will be released in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, Nov. 16 Baylor (XL Center) 6 p.m. ESPN2
Sunday, Dec. 19 vs. Ohio State (Madison Square Garden), 2:30 p.m. ESPNU
Tuesday, Dec. 21 Florida State (XL Center), 7 p.m. ESPNU
Thursday, Dec. 30 at Stanford, 9 p.m. ESPN2
Saturday, Jan. 8 at Notre Dame, 2 p.m. CBS
Monday, Jan. 17 at North Carolina, 7 p.m. ESPN2
Monday, Jan. 31 Duke (Gampel), 7 p.m. ESPN2
Tuesday, Feb. 8 at West Virginia, 7 p.m. CBS College Sports
Monday, Feb. 14 Oklahoma (XL Center), 7 p.m. ESPN2

U.S. ready for next stage

Now the fun starts for the United States. After winning its first six games by an average of 33 points including Wednesday's 83-75 win over defending champion Australia during the two round robin stages of the FIBA World Championships, the U.S. is feeling good about themselves heading into the medal round.

"We didn't have as much practice (time) so we are trying to get better with each day and now we are excited to get ready for the medal rounds," said U.S. starting point guard Sue Bird, one of five former or current UConn players on the United States squad.

Because of conflicts with the WNBA season as well as some injury issues, U.S. coach Geno Auriemma didn't have his full team together until just before the start of the tournament so it has been a bit of a work in progress.

"It was evolved the way we hoped it would evolve," Auriemma said. "We are learning as we go along, we have to take every game and use that to get better, come out the next day and play another game. We have done that and we have improved in almost every area. We are a different team than when we were in Spain, a different team than when we were in Hartford and hopefully we'll be a better team Sunday than we were on Friday."

Much of Auriemma's time on Thursday's conference call with reporters was spent addressing two of the young phenoms in the World Championships.

Auriemma said that Australia's 6-foot-8 teenager Elizabeth Cambage, who had a team-high 18 points against the U.S. in a game that decided the Group E title, would be the most dominant player in college if she chose to go that route. He also spoke about the development that Maya Moore has made as she is learning how to play when teams deny her from getting open looks from the perimeter.

South Korea is next up for the U.S. in the quarterfinals on Friday. Barring a monumental upset, the U.S. will face either Spain or France in the semifinals on Saturday.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Taurasi powers U.S. past Australia

Former UConn star Diana Taurasi had 24 points including four 3-pointers, two rebounds and three assists as the United States raced out to a commanding lead en route to an 83-75 win over previously undefeated Australia.

As was the case when the teams scrimmaged at the XL Center in Hartford, the showdown in the post was an intriguing sidelight as Australia's 6-foot-8 teenager Elizabeth Cambage had a team-high 18 points to go with seven rebounds and four blocked shots. The U.S. countered with Sylvia Fowles had 15 points and six rebounds and former UConn star Tina Charles had 14 points, four rebounds and two steals.

Taurasi, Fowles and Charles were the only U.S. players in double figures although Tamika Catchings had nine points, four rebounds and two blocked shots. Former UConn star Sue Bird only had six points but there were at crucial times. Her first basket came in the midst of a 7-0 first-quarter run which gave the U.S. a 21-13 lead. With Australia cutting a 20-point lead to 11, Bird sandwiched a pair of baskets around two Taurasi 3-pointers.

UConn senior Maya Moore was 1 of 7 from the floor and finished with two points, one rebound, two assists and a steals. Lauren Jackson had 13 points and 6 rebounds for Australia.

The U.S. wins Group E with the victory and will face South Korea in the quarterfinals on Friday

World Championship update

With the much anticipated United States vs. Australia game fast approaching, it's not too early to look ahead to the knockout stage of the FIBA World Championships.

The winner of the U.S./Australia game will win Group E and get the fourth-place finisher in Group F which is Korea. The loss will draw the host Czech Republic which finished third in Group E.

Greece and Canada failed to advance to the quarterfinals out of Group E while Brazil and Japan are out of the race for medals out of Group F.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

U.S. routs Belarus, Australia up next

Sylvia Fowles, still getting her timing back after undergoing minor knee surgery after the WNBA season, had 15 points (on 5 of 5 shooting) and six rebounds as the United States defeated Belarus 107-61 at the FIBA World Championships on Tuesday. The victory, combined with Australia's hard-fought victory over a scrappy team from France, sets up a showdown for the Group E title on Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. when the 5-0 United States team plays 5-0 Australia.

As for the Belarus game, former UConn star Diana Taurasi had 14 points, four rebounds, Candice Dupree had another strong effort with 12 points, six rebounds and two steals. UConn senior Maya Moore and former UConn star Swin Cash had 11 points each, Lindsay Whalen had nine points and four assists, Angel McCoughtry also had nine points while former UConn star Asjha Jones was 4 for 4 from the field and had eight points and four rebounds in 12 minutes. Ten of the 12 UConn players scored at least eight points as the U.S. shot 68 percent the field and outrebounded Belarus 41-21.

Through five games Candice Dupree leads the U.S. with 57 points and 27 rebounds while Angel McCoughtry (10.8 points, team-high 17 steals) and former Huskies Cash (10.6 points), Tina Charles (10.0) and Taurasi (10.0) are averaging double figures in scoring. Moore is averaging 8.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 steals in 20.2 minutes per game.

Both only will the winner of the U.S./Australia game win Group E but the loser is guaranteed to finish second. The story is the same in Group F when Spain and Russia will play tomorrow for the group title. Both games will tip at 2:15 Eastern time.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

U.S. rolls past Canada

Despite a sluggish start, the United States remained undefeated in the FIBA World Championships with an 87-46 win over Canada.

Former Conecticut Sun guard Lindsay Whalen came off the bench to score a game-high 16 points, Angel McCoughtry had 11 points and five steals and former UConn star Swin Cash had 10 points in 12 minutes. Candice Dupree and former UConn standouts Sue Bird and Tina Charles added nine points each. UConn senior Maya Moore had her toughest offensive game to date, missing six of her seven shots and finished with two points in 18 minutes although she did four rebounds, four assists and two steals.

The U.S. is now 4-0 and will face Belarus on Tuesday before wrapping up the round robin portion of the tournament with a highly-anticipated game against Australia on Wednesday.

Rutgers game time is set

According to the Rutgers schedule, the Jan. 26 game at the RAC will tip at 7:30 p.m. The start times for games at South Florida on Dec. 2, against Louisville in the XL Center on Jan. 15, at Cincinnati on Jan. 29 and at Providence on Feb. 12 have yet to be announced.

Also, tickets are going fast for UConn's championship dinner which will be held on Oct. 7 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. For as long as tickets remain, those interested should fill out the championship dinner invite and send it to:

UConn Athletic Development
Attn: Women's Basketball National Championship Dinner
2111 Hillside Road, Unit 3078
Storrs, CT 06269

The dinner will begin at 7 p.m. but there will be a meet and greet for those who purchased tickets to the special reception which starts at 5:30 p.m.

Speaking of UConn fans, the Hutchinsons are making news thanks to a story by the Associated Press' Doug Feinberg documenting their decision to travel to the Czech Republic for the FIBA World Championships.

Of course there are no lack of UConn products for the couple from Concord, N.H. to watch as the team is coached by UConn's Geno Auriemma and features UConn senior Maya Moore as well as former Huskies Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tina Charles, Asjha Jones and Diana Taurasi. Svetlana Abrosimova, a teammate of Bird, Cash, Jones and Taurasi during her UConn playing days, is playing for the Russian squad.

The U.S. finished the first round of pool play with a perfect 3-0 record and begin play in the second round against Canada at 2:15 p.m. today in Ostrava. One of the members of Canada's squad is Notre Dame incoming freshman Natalie Achowna.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Laney no longer considering UConn

Betnijah Laney, a 6-foot wing from Delaware, eliminated UConn from her list of schools on Thursday and also knocked Rutgers off her list according to her godmother Debra Walker.

Laney's final five schools are Duke (who Laney visited this weekend), Kentucky, Oklahoma, Penn State and Virginia. She is planning to visit Kentucky from Oct. 15-17 and the dates of the other visits will be finalized when she returns from her Duke visit.

Laney becomes the latest UConn recruiting target to drop UConn from contention but unlike Elizabeth Williams, Sara Hammond, Ally Mallott and Bonnie Samuelson before her, the decision is not being done because of geopgraphic considerations.

I know there will be more than among UConn's fan base who will view the decisions of Laney, Hammond (who committed Louisville on Tuesday) and Williams is a sign of a recruiting apocalypse. The facts, however, tell a different story. UConn's freshman class was rated among the nation's best while the two players UConn has commitments from in the current class include arguably the top prospect in the country in Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, a prolific scoring wing from California powerhouse Mater Dei as well as an athletic guard from Georgia in Brianna Banks.

Kiah Stokes, a 6-foot-3 post from Marion, Iowa, is the last of the uncommitted seniors known to still be on UConn's recruiting radar. While fans may be fretting the inability to add players like Williams, Hammond or Laney to the fold, the UConn staff has been focusing on a very talented group of high school juniors. One advantage the Huskies may have in that class is that some of those high on their radar happen to live in Northeast which as this current recruiting cycle has proven, is a factor that can't be discounted.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Taurasi leads U.S. past France

Former UConn star Diana Taurasi had a team high 15 points and four 3-pointers as the United States won Group B at the FIBA World Championships with an 81-60 win over France on Saturday in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Candice Dupree, who provided a much-needed offensive spark off the bench in the first half, had 10 points and six rebounds while former UConn star Tina Charles also finished with 10 points as the U.S. finished 3-0 in Group B.

UConn senior Maya Moore had nine points and eight rebounds and former UConn star Sue Bird also had nine points.

The U.S. will open the second round of pool play on Monday against the loser of the Belarus/Canada game which is currently going on.

Endene Miyem had 15 points for France, the reigning European champions who are without injured forward/center Sandrine Gruda of the Connecticut Sun.

France staying with U.S.

Even playing without the injured Sandrine Gruda, France is making the United States work in a game to decide the Group B title at the FIBA World Championships.

The U.S. was stuck on three points for a long portion of the first quarter before Candice Dupree came in off the bench to spark the U.S. Still, the U.S. only led by seven at halftime.

One interesting side note - when Maya Moore replaced Tamika Catchings with 3:45 left in the second quarter, the U.S. lineup featured all UConn products as Tina Charles, Swin Cash, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi were already on the court. The all UConn lineup played together for 73 seconds. I just checked the play by play in the first two games and it is the first time in the three games that U.S. coach Geno Auriemma used a lineup exclusively made up of players who suited up for him at UConn.

The U.S. will not play on Sunday and if finish off France, they will begin the second round of pool play on Monday against the loser of today's Canada/Belarus game.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Moore leads U.S. past Senegal

UConn senior forward Maya Moore had team-high totals of 15 points and five assists as the United States defeated Senegal 108-52 on Friday to improve to 2-0 in Group B play at the FIBA World Championships.

Candice Dupree had 14 points and five rebounds, former UConn stars Swin Cash and Tina Charles added 11 points each while Lindsay Whalen and Sylvia Fowles each scored 10 points for the U.S., which wrap up pool play with a game against France on Saturday.

Former UConn stars Diana Taurasi (eight points), Asjha Jones (six points) and Sue Bird (three points) also contributed to the U.S. win.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

U.S. wins opener

Angel McCoughtry and former UConn star Swin Cash had 16 points each to lead five players in double figures as the United States opened play in the FIBA World Championships with a 99-73 win over Greece.

Tina Charles, UConn's all-time leading scorer and rebounder and the reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year, had 12 points and nine rebounds, Candice Dupree also had 12 points while Tamika Catchings finished with 10 points, four rebounds and two steals. As for the rest of the current and former Huskies, Diana Taurasi had eight points, Sue Bird had six points and six assists, Asjha Jones had four points, two rebounds and two assists while UConn senior Maya Moore finished with seven points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Former Connecticut Sun guard Evanthia Maltsi was 6 for 7 from 3-point range and ended up with a game-high 29 points to lead Greece.

4 former Huskies in starting lineup

Former UConn stars Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tina Charles and Diana Taurasi are in the starting lineup along with Tamika Catchings for the United States' opening game against Greece in the FIBA World Championships. The game is being aired live on NBA TV.

U.S. tips off at noon

The United States squad will take the first steps in what it hopes is a successful quest to reclaim the World Championship title when the U.S. faces Greece at about noon. The game will be on NBA TV.

The U.S. squad is not only coached by UConn's Geno Auriemma but includes his top current player (Maya Moore) and five former Huskies (Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tina Charles, Asjha Jones and Diana Taurasi). Speaking of former U.S. players, Svetlana Abrosimova had four points, three rebounds and four steals as Russia opened with an 86-63 win over Japan.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Moore, five former Huskies make U.S. team

With 2008 Olympians Seimone Augustus and Kara Lawson being cut, the U.S. playing in the upcoming FIBA World Championships will include UConn senior Maya Moore as well as former Huskies Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tina Charles, Asjha Jones and Diana Taurasi.

Half of the 12-member roster either attended or are attending UConn with the rest of the team being Tamika Catchings, Sylvia Fowles, Jayne Appel, Candice Dupree, Angel McCoughtry and Lindsey Whalen.

A couple of observations. First, Whalen made a late charge to beat out Kara Lawson for the backup point guard spot behind Sue Bird. Second, the U.S. is obviously thinking about its inevitable matchup with the towering Australian frontcourt by keeping Appel in addition to Fowles, Charles and Jones.

Hammond headed to Louisville

Sara Hammond announced at a press conference on Tuesday morning at Rockcastle County High in Mt. Vernon, Ky. that she was picking Louisville over Connecticut.

Hammond, a multi-faceted 6-foot-2 forward, had recently eliminated Western Kentucky and Vanderbilt from her list of schools and took a couple of days after returning home from her official visit to UConn to think things over before committing to Louisville which has had Hammond on their recruiting radar since she was a freshman in high school.

UConn began to make a push for Hammond over the summer when UConn coach Geno Auriemma offered her a scholarship after seeing her play in an AAU tournament. Louisville was always considered a frontrunner for Hammond but UConn made things interesting before she opted to stay in state.

UConn, which has commitments from guards Brianna Banks and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, is still actively recruiting 6-foot-3 forward/center Kiah Stokes from Marion, Iowa and 6-0 guard/forward Betnijah Laney from Clayton, Del. Stokes is expected to make an official visit to UConn from Oct. 15-17 while Laney's list of official visits are not expected to be announced until she finishes up her home visits this weekend.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Hammond decision to come tomorrow

I just heard back from the father of UConn recruiting target Sara Hammond. Eddie Hammond said that Rockcastle County High School is planning a 10 a.m. press conference tomorrow where Hammond will announce whether she is committing to either UConn or Louisville.

While I have done my best to provide accurate and timely updates on Hammond, a highly-touted 6-foot-2 senior forward, I can't promise that I'll have anything up quickly tomorrow since 10 a.m. is also the time that the funeral of my 17-year-old niece will be starting in New Hampshire. While I know many readers of this blog and quite exuberant in their thirst for recruiting updates, I hope they will understand that tomorrow being there for my brother and his wife is significantly more important to me than rushing to a computer to put up a blog or story on whether Sara Hammond will be joining Brianna Banks and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis as part of UConn's next reccruiting class. At some point tomorrow I will have the info up on Sara's decision but it likely won't be done as quickly as it would on a normal day.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

U.S, team cut to 14

Three players including former UConn star Renee Montgomery were cut from the list of finalists as USA Basketball took another step towards naming its roster for the upcoming FIBA World Championships.

Montgomery, fellow guard Lindsey Harding and forward Ebony Hoffman were eliminated from the group of players vying for the 12 spots. Cappie Pondexter, who U.S. coach Geno Auriemma said was not expected to play for the U.S., was also left off the list of finalists.

UConn senior Maya Moore, former Huskies Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tina Charles, Asjha Jones and Diana Taurasi were joined by Seimone Augustus, Jayne Appel, Tamika Catchings, Candice Dupree, Sylvia Fowles, Kara Lawson, Angel McCoughtry and Lindsay Whalen on the list of finalists. Two more players will need to be cut by Tuesday when the U.S. has to submit its 12-player roster for the world championships.

The biggest surprise to me was Hoffman since she started both of the exhibition games the U.S. squad played in Hartford earlier this month but with Augustus, Cash, Jones, Catchings, Dupree and McCoughtry the U.S. doesn't lack for forwards in the 6-foot-1 or 6-foot-2 range.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Geno's take on the schedule

When UConn coach Geno Auriemma stopped in during the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament last month, I asked him a couple questions regarding the schedule since I knew all the teams UConn would be playing in the upcoming season even if I wasn't sure of the where and when part of the equation.

His first response was classic Geno

"I put the schedule thinking Tina (Charles), Kalana (Greene), Caroline (Doty) and Renee (Montgomery) were back. I didn't realize they weren't going to be around. I have tried to call a lot of those schools and ask if they would move up back a year. I like it. I like the schedule. I showed it to our players and they love it. It's the best thing that could happen at this point in time for this group because they are so young and they are going to be thrown right into it. They'll get the losing stuff right out of the way and they won't be burdened by that other stuff."

At the time it appeared as if the trip to California in late December to play Pacific and Stanford could be for wins No. 88 and 89 in a row if the Huskies were undefeated up to that point. Naturally, the UCLA men's basketball program's 88-game winning streak is one of the most famous in all of sports so I asked Geno about his take on that if that happened to be the case. Of course it became a moot point when the Big East opted to have the Huskies play two games in December.

"Games just happened when they could be fit in and had nothing to do with numbers. To be honest, I haven't even thought that through. When I heard Caroline wasn't playing, I thought 'OK, we have Holy cross first.' Let's get past that one and we'll move on from there."

He also addressed the importance of the early tests on the freshmen since Stefanie Dolson, Michala Johnson and Samarie Walker should figure into the game plan when UConn attempts to match up with Baylor's 6-8 sophomore center Brittney Griner.

"I saw the freshmen play enough in high school, been around them enough to know that is why you recruit them, you want them to play. They are not going to be good enough in the beginning but they will be at some point. I would hope that when the NCAA comes around, they aren't going to see anything they haven't seen. That will be one good thing."

The U.S. and Australia played again on Friday and the Australian team, still smarting from an embarrassing performance in Hartford earlier this month, answered back with an 83-77 win led by Jenna O'Hea's 24 points.

Former UConn star Tina Charles had 18 points and seven rebounds to lead the U.S. while Lindsay Whalen (13), Diana Taurasi (12) and Tamika Catchings (11) also scored in double figures. Since the U.S. was forced to play no more than 12 players, Maya Moore was among those who sat out the game.

Schedule is out

UConn has released its schedule for the upcoming season meaning fans can finally start making the necessary traveling and planning arrangements and I can stop checking other teams' websites to provide scheduling updates.

Here is the release from UConn:


STORRS, Conn. (September 17, 2010) – The two-time defending national champion University of Connecticut women’s basketball team has finalized its 2010-11 schedule as announced by the university on Friday, September 17. The 30-game regular-season slate includes 14 non-conference games and 16 showdowns against BIG EAST foes. The Huskies will also play two exhibition contests.

UConn’s schedule is highlighted by games against all three of last year’s Final Four teams and five squads that advanced to the 2010 NCAA Elite Eight.

Connecticut’s first exhibition contest will take place on Thursday, November 4 when the Huskies will try to tune-up against Division II power Franklin Pierce University at Gampel Pavilion. The Ravens sported a 32-2 overall record last season and advanced to the Division II Final Four. Franklin Pierce also won the Northeast-10 Conference regular season and tournament championships in each of the last two seasons and reached as high as No. 1 in the USA Today/ESPN WBCA Division II Top 25 Poll.

The Huskies will round out the exhibition portion of their schedule with a contest against the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Crimson Hawks, which is set for Wednesday, November 10 at the XL Center. The Crimson Hawks put together a 17-10 record in 2009-10.

The 2010-11 regular-season opener is scheduled for Sunday, November 14 against Holy Cross at Gampel Pavilion. The Crusaders limped through an unusual down year in 2009-10 and finished the season at 10-21.

Connecticut will then square-off against Baylor on Tuesday, November 16 as part of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon. That highly-anticipated matchup is set for 6 p.m. at the XL Center and the contest will be televised nationally on ESPN2. Baylor finished the 2009-10 season with a 27-10 overall record, including a 9-7 mark in the Big 12. The Lady Bears finished the season rated No. 15 in the ratings percentage index (RPI) and fell, 70-50, to UConn in the national semifinal in San Antonio.

The Huskies will travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech on Sunday, November 21. The Yellow Jackets finished the 2009-10 campaign with a 23-10 overall record and were fourth in the ACC with an 8-6 mark. Tech was rated No. 32 in the RPI and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

UConn will return home to play host to the 2010 World Vision Challenge from Friday, November 26 – Sunday, November 28 at Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies will square-off against Howard on Friday at 7:30 p.m., Lehigh on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and LSU on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. Friday’s game will be preceded by the LSU vs. Lehigh matchup at 5 p.m., Saturday’s contest will be preceded by the LSU vs. Howard matchup at 5 p.m. and Sunday’s contest will follow the Lehigh vs. Howard tilt at 2 p.m.

Howard finished the 2009-10 season with a 16-14 overall record and were second in the MEAC with a 10-6 mark. Lehigh enjoyed one of the best years in school history last season as the Mountain Hawks went 29-4, won the Patriot League with a 13-1 mark and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

LSU was 21-10 last year and finished tied for third in the SEC with a 9-7 record. The Lady Tigers finished in the top-25 in both polls, were rated No. 31 in the RPI and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Sacred Heart heads to the XL Center on Sunday, December 5. The Pioneers cobbled together a 19-11 overall mark last season and finished third in the NEC with a 12-6 record.

Big Ten regular season champion Ohio State is next on the docket as the Huskies will face the Buckeyes on Sunday, December 19 as part of the fifth annual Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden. The contest is set for 2:30 p.m. and will be preceded by the Rutgers vs. Texas A&M game at 12 p.m. UConn also competed in the Maggie Dixon Classic on December 14, 2009, defeating Penn State, 77-63.

Ohio State finished 2009-10 with a 31-5 record, including a 15-3 mark in Big Ten action. The Buckeyes finished the season rated No. 9 in the RPI and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Huskies will partake in another 2010 NCAA Tournament rematch when the team welcomes Florida State to the XL Center on Tuesday, December 21. UConn beat the Seminoles by a 90-50 score in the Dayton Regional Final of last year’s NCAA Tournament. The ‘Noles went 29-6 last season and won a share of the ACC Regular Season Crown with a 12-2 mark. FSU finished the 2009-10 season rated No. 14 in the RPI and was ranked in the top-10 in both major polls.

Following the Christmas holiday, UConn will head west for a two-game trip that will include a rematch of last year’s national championship. First off, the Huskies will take on Pacific on December 28. The Tigers were 6-22 last season. Two days later, UConn will travel to Palo Alto, Calif. for a showdown with Stanford, which is set to tip at 9 p.m. EST.

The Huskies downed the Cardinal by a 53-47 score in last year’s national championship contest in San Antonio. In fact, UConn handed Stanford its only two losses of the 2009-10 season as the Huskies also defeated the Cardinal by an 80-68 margin on December 23.

Stanford was 36-2 last season and won all 18 of its Pac-10 contests to take home the regular-season crown. The Cardinal finished the season rated No. 2 in the RPI and in both polls.

UConn’s next non-conference contest will be against North Carolina on Monday, January 17. That tilt is set to start at 7 p.m. in Chapel Hill, N.C. UNC finished the 2009-10 season with a 19-12 record and was seventh in the ACC with a 6-8 mark. The Tar Heels were rated No. 39 in the RPI and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

After three games against BIG EAST competition, UConn will welcome Duke to Gampel Pavilion on Monday, January 31. That game is set to tip at 7 p.m. Duke advanced to the Elite Eight last season, finished the year with a 30-6 overall record and won a share of the ACC with FSU with a 12-2 mark. The Blue Devils finished the year rated No. 5 in the RPI and were in the top-10 of both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

After three more BIG EAST games, the Huskies will step out of conference play for the final time of the 2010-11 regular season to square-off against Oklahoma on Monday, February 14 at 7 p.m. at the XL Center. The Sooners finished the 2009-10 season with a 27-11 overall record and finished third in the Big 12 at 11-5. OU, which advanced to the Final Four last year, were rated No. 8 in the RPI and finished ranked No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

Connecticut will open BIG EAST Conference play on Thursday December 2 when the team travels to Tampa, Fla. to take on South Florida.

The Huskies will play Marquette, Villanova, Louisville, Pittsburgh, DePaul, Seton Hall and Syracuse at home and St. John’s, Rutgers, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Providence and Georgetown on the road. Additionally, the Huskies will play a home-and-home series with Notre Dame to round out the 16-game slate.

Additional game times and national television appearances, along with CPTV’s local broadcast schedule, will be announced in the near future.

2010-11 Schedule Notes
- 30 games, 14 non-conference games and 16 BIG EAST contests
- 12 true road games, 17 home games, one neutral site game
- Six games played at the XL Center, 11 games played at Gampel Pavilion
- Seven games against teams that finished ranked in the top-10 of the RPI
- 16 games against teams that finished ranked in the top-40 of the RPI
- 23 games against teams that finished ranked in the top-100 of the RPI
- 17 games against teams that qualified for the 2010 NCAA Tournament
- 22 games against teams that qualified for either the 2010 NCAA Tournament or 2010 WNIT

2010-11 Non-Conference Schedule Notes
- 10 of UConn’s 14 non-conference opponents qualified for the 2010 NCAA Tournament
- Five opponents won or shared their league’s regular-season title
- Four opponents finished ranked in the top-10 of the RPI
- Six opponents finished ranked in the top-15 of the RPI
- Nine opponents finished ranked in the top-40 of the RPI
- Three opponents advanced to the 2010 Final Four
- Five opponents advanced to the 2010 Elite Eight
- Four true road games, Nine home games, one neutral site game
- Five games at Gampel Pavilion, Four at the XL Center

2010-11 University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball Schedule

Nov. 4 Franklin Pierce (Gampel), 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 10 Indiana University (Pa.) (XL Center), 7 p.m.
Nov. 14 Holy Cross (Gampel), 2 p.m.
State Farm Tip-Off Classic at XL Center
Nov. 16 Baylor, 6 p.m. ESPN2
Nov. 21 at Georgia Tech, 2 p.m.
World Vision Challenge at Gampel Pavilion
Nov. 26 LSU vs. Lehigh, 5 p.m.
Connecticut vs. Howard, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 27 LSU vs. Howard, 5 p.m.
Connecticut vs. Lehigh, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 28 Lehigh vs. Howard, 2 p.m.
Connecticut vs. LSU, 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 2 at South Florida, TBA
Dec. 5 Sacred Heart(XL Center) 1 p.m.
Dec. 9 Marquette (Gampel), 7:30 p.m.
Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden
Dec. 19 Rutgers vs. Texas A&M, noon
Connecticut vs. Ohio State, 2:30 p.m.
Dec. 21 Florida State (XL Center), 7 p.m.
Dec. 28 at Pacific, 10 p.m.
Dec. 30 at Stanford, 9 p.m.
Jan. 5 Villanova (Gampel), 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 8 at Notre Dame, 2 p.m.
Jan. 12 at St. John’s (Madison Square Garden), 9:30 p.m.
Jan. 15 Louisville (XL Center),TBA
Jan. 17 at North Carolina, 7 p.m.
Jan. 22 Pittsburgh (Gampel), 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 26 at Rutgers, TBA
Jan. 29 at Cincinnati, TBA
Jan. 31 Duke (Gampel), 7 p.m.
Feb. 5 DePaul (Gampel), 2 p.m.
Feb. 8 at West Virginia, 7 p.m.
Feb. 12 at Providence (Dunkin’ Donuts Center), TBA
Feb. 14 Oklahoma (XL Center), 7 p.m.
Feb. 19 Notre Dame (Gampel), TBA
Feb. 22 Seton Hall (XL Center), 7 p.m.
Feb. 26 at Georgetown, 3 p.m.
Feb. 28 Syracuse (Gampel), 7:30 p.m.

Also, ESPNU will have a crew in Gampel Pavilion for its Midnight Madness coverage on Oct. 15. More details to follow.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cash a three-time champ, Svet gets her first

With Seattle completing a sweep over Atlanta with a 87-84 over Atlanta in the best of five WNBA championship series on Thursday, here are a few notes about the UConn's impact on the WNBA.

This is the fifth straight year and seventh time in the last eight years that the WNBA champions had a UConn graduate on the team. The 2005 Sacramento Monarchs are the last title winning team with no former Huskies.

Swin Cash becomes the first UConn grad to win three WNBA titles as she was a member of Detroit's 2003 and 2006 championship squads.

Svetlana Abrosimova becomes the eighth UConn product to win it all in the WNBA and the three ex-Huskies (Sue Bird, Cash and Abrosimova) is the most for a WNBA championship squad.

Bird, also a member of Seattle's 2004 championship team, joins Jen Rizzotti (a part of the 1999 and 2000 Houston Comets title winning squads), Diana Taurasi (who led Phoenix to the 2007 and 2009 titles) and Kelly Schumacher (who won consecutive titles with Phoenix in 2007 and Detroit in 2008) as two-time champions.

The 2000-01 UConn squad features five players who have combined to win 10 WNBA titles as Abrosimova and Schumacher were seniors, Bird and Cash juniors and Taurasi a freshman on UConn's Final Four squad.

The other former Huskies to win titles were Kara Wolters with Houston in 1999 and Ketia Swanier, a member of Phoenix's 2009 title-winning team.

It's still a couple of days before we find out whether Sara Hammond picks Louisville or UConn for her college of choice but Louisville did add former UConn forward/center Liz Sherwood to the coaching staff as a graduate assistant. Sherwood's stay at UConn was a brief one as she transferred to Vanderbilt after playing 25 games as a freshman during the 2003-04 season.

The latest is that a draft of the schedule is being sent out tomorrow (Friday) and it still has to be given the final OK before it gets released. While that could happen tomorrow, it's more likely that it will come next week.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sporting News' No. 1 team is ...

UConn as the magazine released its preseason poll. The two-time defending champion Huskies are followed by Baylor, Stanford, Xavier and Tennessee. UConn will face Baylor, Stanford as well as each of the teams ranked sixth to 10th (Duke, Ohio State, Notre Dame, West Virginia and Oklahoma) this season.

UConn's Maya Moore is on the preseason first team All-American list joined by Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins, Victoria Dunlap of Kentucky, Brittney Griner of Baylor, Xavier's Amber Harris, Ohio State's Jantel Lavender, Stanford's Nneka Ogwumike, Danielle Robinson of Oklahoma and Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fernandes hired by Fairfield

Former UConn guard Jacquie Fernandes has been hired as the Director of Basketball Operations at Fairfield

The hiring was announced by Fairfield head coach Joe Frager, a graduate of UConn who happened to be the high school coach of Maria Conlon when both were at Seymour High.

Monday, September 13, 2010

UConn's season opener is a matinee

Holy Cross released its schedule today so now we know that UConn's season opener will tip off at 2 p.m. at Gampel Pavilion.

What's interesting about the Holy Cross schedule is that the Crusaders' first three games are against Connecticut schools. Holy Cross opens by hosting Yale at 7 p.m. on Nov. 12 and on Nov. 17 Holy Cross plays at Quinnipiac in a 7 p.m. affair.

Here's the non-conference schedule. I'm hearing that UConn's schedule will be released on Friday.

Franklin Pierce (date, site TBA)
Nov. 10 Indiana (Pa.)
Regular season
Nov. 14 Holy Cross, 2 p.m.
Nov. 16 Baylor (XL Center), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Nov. 21 at Georgia Tech, 2 p.m.
Nov. 26-28 World Vision Classic at Gampel Pavilion 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, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Jan. 17 at North Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Jan. 31 Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Feb. 14 Oklahoma, 7 p.m.

Taurasi a first team All-WNBA pick

Former UConn star Diana Taurasi was one of five players named to the All-WNBA first team while ex Huskies Sue Bird and Tina Charles were second team selections.

Here are the complete teams with the votes they received.


Player Team Position Points
Lauren Jackson Seattle Storm Forward-Center 195
Tamika Catchings Indiana Fever Forward 191
Sylvia Fowles Chicago Sky Center 125
Cappie Pondexter NY Liberty Guard 193
Diana Taurasi Phoenix Mercury Guard 185


Player Team Position Points
Crystal Langhorne Washington Mystics Forward-Center 111
Angel McCoughtry Atlanta Dream Forward 119
Tina Charles Connecticut Sun Center 86
Sue Bird Seattle Storm Guard 123
Katie Douglas Indiana Fever Guard 30

Hammond had "a great time" on visit

I just got off the phone with Eddie Hammond, the father of UConn recruiting target Sara Hammond who took an official visit to UConn over the week. He said she "had a great time, we really enjoyed it."

First, we'll get to the recruiting update part of the story before discussing the trip. Eddie Hammond said Sara is down to Louisville and UConn or as he joked "she is committed to the Big East." She eliminated Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky from her list. Members of the Louisville coaching staff will make a home visit on Thursday while UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey and assistant coach Marisa Moseley will make a home visit on Friday. Then the Hammond family will sit down, weigh their options and will likely make a commitment by the end of the weekend.

"It's going to be where she feels the most comfortable and where she feels like she fits in," Eddie Hammond said.

He said the Louisville, which has been recruiting Sara since she was a high school freshman, has long been in the lead. However, it's clear that UConn has made quite an impression on her.

The Hammonds actually opted to drive from their Mount Vernon, Kentucky home because they had never been up in this part of the country. They spent some time sightseeing in New York. They arrived in Connecticut on Thursday night, were in attendance at the U.S./Australia game on Friday. Sara also had a face to face meeting with UConn coach Geno Auriemma in his office and he was able to take part in pickup games with the UConn players since practice has yet to start.

Kelly Faris and Heather Buck were the players she spent the most time with according to Eddie although she got the spend quite a bit of time with freshmen Stefanie Dolson, Lauren Engeln, Bria Hartley, Michala Johnson and Samarie Walker as well as UConn commit Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who was also in town for an unofficial visit and two high school juniors (Moriah Jefferson, a 5-foot-6 guard from Glenn Heights, Texas and Michaela Mabrey, a 5-9 guard from Holmdel, N.J.) which Eddie Hammond said was important "because those are the people she'd be spending two or three years with."

Saturday night the Hammonds had dinner at Auriemma's house and earlier on Saturday they took in the UConn football team's 62-3 win over Texas Southern. They left before Auriemma coached the U.S. against Spain on Sunday.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Strength in numbers

With the U.S. having until Sept. 21 to submit its 12-person world championship roster to FIBA, it's very possible that all the players currently in the U.S. training camp will come with them to Europe.

The 18-player roster may seem cumbersome but that's not really the case.

Sylvia Fowles is still recovering from minor knee surgery and U.S. women's national team director Carol Callan said there's a chance she could see time when the U.S. plays two warmup games in Salamanca, Spain (facing Australia on Sept. 17 and either Spain or Senegal on Sept. 18 or the Czech Republic on Sept. 20 in Brno, Czech Republic). With the WNBA finals lasting until at least Sept. 16 even if there is a three-game sweep or until Sept. 21 if the best of five series goes the distance, Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Angel McCoughtry could miss all the tune-up contests.

That would leave a roster of 14 traveling to Europe before six cuts need to be made by Sept. 21.

A while back I gave my picks for the 12-player roster and my opinion has not changed.
Here are my selections (assuming Fowles is good to go for the World Championships)

Seimone Augustus
Sue Bird
Tamika Catchings
Tina Charles
Candice Dupree
Sylvia Fowles
Asjha Jones
Kara Lawson
Angel McCoughtry
Maya Moore
Cappie Pondexter
Diana Taurasi

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Asjha taking some time off

The only basketball former UConn star Asjha Jones will be playing in Europe will be as a member of the U.S. national team.

When I had last checked in with Asjha late in the WNBA season, she said she had yet to make a decision on whether she will play in Europe this summer. Following Friday's U.S./Australia friendly at the XL Center, I checked in with Asjha, who had become a mainstay for Russian powerhouse UMMC Ekaterinburg, about her plans for the winter.

"Naw, I turned down a lot of offers," Jones said. "I am just going to stay home, work on my shoes (she founded a new shoe line called Takera) and work on my health. It will be great to be home. Playing in Europe for as long as I did, it wears on you mentally and physically. I have had a lot of problems with my Achilles and all that kind of stuff. Right now, I want to get back healthy and where I used to being so next summer I can from the beginning give my team what they need."

I've been on record in the past as saying that I believe Jones should be one of the 12 players representing the U.S. at the FIBA World Championships. Although U.S. coach Geno Auriemma, who coached Jones at UConn, does not have a vote on picking the complete roster he does have a way of letting people know what he is thinking. I'm sure he has made his feelings known about what a player like Jones brings to the equation. Just in case anybody needed a reminder, seeing Jones muscle up against 6-foot-8 Elizabeth Cambage should have done the trick. One of the most memorable exchanges of the exhibition came when Cambage fell to the floor after getting tangled up with Jones and as she tried to get up, Jones gave her a forearm shiver. Jones got whistled for a foul on the play.

Jones has been asked to guard players bigger than her going back to her days at UConn. On a team with fellow 6-foot-2 players Swin Cash and Tamika Williams, Jones was the one who was asked to guard centers when the three were in the game together.

"Asjha knows how to play people like that from being in Europe all of those years and having played against a lot of those kids," Auriemma said. "Asjha knows how to play, she knows how to get you off of your spot and she knows how to not let you take advantage of your size against her."

When Jones was at UConn, she was a work in progress on the offensive end but as steady as could be on the defensive end of floor helping UConn to three straight Final Four appearances and two national titles in her final three college seasons. It was thee where she learned the tricks of the trade in terms of guarding physically imposing players.

"It takes me back to my college days, I am always guarding the big kids," Jones said. "There's a lot you can't do in the WNBA but in the international game you can be more physical. In college I was a 5 (center) on defense so from there they teach you how to play with your feet, not just with size so for me, I try to do my work early and keep them as far away from the basket as possible."

I was most intrigued about how an undersized U.S. team would play against Cambage. Tina Charles and Cambage had a game within a game early on as the two rising stars did some serious tussling in the low blocks. When Charles picked up a couple of fouls, Jones was the one summoned to lock up on Cambage while former Stanford star Jayne Appel also got some time against her. I asked Asjha about her impressions of not only Cambage, who led Australia with 18 points, but with Maya Moore, the youngest of the U.S. players who scored a game-high 16 points. Since Cambage will turn 20 on Aug. 18, she is eligible to be drafted and I've talked to multiple WNBA insiders who believe she is the second best draft eligible player behind Moore. Of course the question is whether a rebuilding team will take a chance on drafting Cambage and waiting on her to come over but from a pure talent standpoint, she should do second overall.

"They are going to be awesome," Jones said. "Cambage is a pro already and Maya has been playing with the pros for so long. I think they are young and they are athletic and they have a drive that you don't see in a lot of players. They are going to be awesome when they got older. They are aggressive, they know themselves, they know what they are good at and they go hard. They don't care who they are guarding, you they are playing against. I think when Maya moves to the next level, I think you will see no transition, she will be stepping right into it."

As I was waiting for Asjha, I cornered San Antonio Silver Stars general manager Dan Hughes and posed some of the same questions about Moore and Cambage.

"It is amazing. I was able to coach Penny Taylor when she was 19, Ann Wauters when she was 19," Hughes said. "They had all the pieces but not necessarily the body that I see with some of the younger players. Maya's body and Cambage's body, it is a physically strong body. Ann was developing, Penny was developing and they were both marvelous 19 year olds but these kids both have some very defined strengths about them. It's amazing, isn't it. Those kids have been taught well but they also have some presence about them."

Auriemma will be donating $50 for every 3-pointer the U.S. team hits during the World Championships with the proceeds going to ABC (All Baskets Count) charity.

Here is a part of a release on the official website of the FIBA World Championships about what ABC is trying to raise money for.

"The goal of ABC is to locate initial funding for the construction of a “House for All Generations” where young men and women between 18 and 20 years of age who are leaving state run children’s homes will live together and take care of seniors requiring assistance. The Czechoslovak Hussite Church announced its intention to donate the land for the construction with additional investments and operating costs to be provided by the non-government and non-profit civic associations ENYA (the Ecumenical Network For Youth Action) and Kazdy kos pomaha (the Czech version of ABC)."

When I am not covering UConn, I am the Yale football beat writer. Why am I telling you this, well some research for Yale's 2010 season led me to see that Kevin Doty, the twin brother of UConn guard Caroline Doty, had five catches for 66 yards in Lafayette's 28-24 season-opening loss at Georgetown on Saturday. Lafayette does not play Yale this season but begins a four-game stretch against Ivy League opponents with a game at Penn on Saturday.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

A few notes from U.S./Australia

From a basketball standpoint, I was intrigued by how the U.S. would match up with Australia's bruising 6-foot-8 Elizabeth Cambage.

Tina Charles had the first crack at her while Asjha Jones and Jayne Appel also took turns on the Aussie's rising star. Cambage led Australia with 18 points and seven rebounds but the U.S. outrebounded Australia 47-30. That was a far cry from the exhibition game between the teams on July 11 at Mohegan Sun when Australia outrebounded the U.S. 40-27 en route to a 15-point win.

"That is one of the things we have to emphasize," U.S. and UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "If we are not going to have the size that some of the teams have, then we have to be a little quicker than them and a little tougher than them."

Cambage, who more than one WNBA insider I have spoken to believe will be the No. 2 ovrall pick in April's WNBA draft behind Maya Moore, certainly impressed everybody on the U.S. side with how much improvement she has made even since the July friendly.

Obviously Moore's star is also on the rise. The only active college player in the U.S. player pool led the U.S. with 16 points. Kara Lawson added 15 and Tamika Catchings had 12 for the U.S.

Among those in attendance where the entire UConn team as well as commit Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, 2011 recruiting target Sara Hammond and 2012 players Moriah Jefferson and Michaela Mabrey, who are guards from Texas and New Jersey respectively. Jefferson is the highly-touted prospect who is the No. 1 overall player in the Class of 2012 according to Peach State Hoops. I didn't know as much about Mabrey. What I did discover is she transferred from St. John Vianney to Manasquan High last year.

I figured I would pass on what I am hearing in terms of the schedule. Twice in the last two days I've heard that there will be a Big East game in early December with the game at South Florida the early favorite to be the Big East opener within a couple days of the UConn football team's game at USF. That game is Dec. 4. For those looking ahead to the California trip being for wins No. 88 and 89 in a row if UConn manages to navigate its way through some challenging early games, obviously a game at USF would make the game at Pacific No. 89 in a row and the Stanford contest for No. 90. I'm also hearing that the schedule is in the hands of the power brokers at UConn but won't be released until Friday (Sept. 17) giving the school and Big East time to cross all the t's and dot all the i's.

Taurasi has arrived

Former UConn star Diana Taurasi arrived in Hartford and took part in pre-game drills so it looks as if she will suit up for the U.S. No sign of her Phoenix Mercury teammate Candice Dupree but she wasn't expected to arrive in Connecticut by game time.

Taurasi made her first appearance with 1:26 left in the third quarter, drawing a huge ovation from the crowd.

The U.S. won the exhibition game 89-56, led by UConn's Maya Moore's 16 points.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Oklahoma game time info

Oklahoma updated the start times on its schedule so we now know that the Feb. 14 Oklahoma at UConn game starts at 7 p.m. Look for more info on the games to trickle in until the Big East releases its schedule. Since Holy Cross put out its men's basketball schedule, it's natural to expect the women's schedule to be released shortly.

Here's the non-conference schedule
Franklin Pierce (date, site TBA)
Nov. 10 Indiana (Pa.)
Regular season
Nov. 14 Holy Cross
Nov. 16 Baylor (XL Center), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
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, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Jan. 17 at North Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Jan. 31 Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Feb. 14 Oklahoma, 7 p.m.

Speaking of games, tickets are still available for the U.S. national team exhibitions against Australia on Friday and Spain on Sunday. Both games are at the XL Center.

Among those in attendance for the games will be UConn commit Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis as well as fellow UConn recruiting target Sara Hammond. Despite what you might have read, these are not official visits but unofficial visits so they are not bound by the 48 hours on campus rule so they could be at both games if they so desire. Jordan Adams, a high school teammate of Mosqueda-Lewis at Mater Dei in Santa Ana, Calif. and fellow UConn recruiting target, is NOT expected to be joining Mosqueda-Lewis in Connecticut this week.

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Idol talk

Spent a few hours up at the XL Center for the U.S. national team practice and the focus of my story in tomorrow's paper is on Maya Moore being able to play alongside of her basketball idol, Tamika Catchings.

As you would expect, both Catchings and Moore were wonderful on the topic.

"She is awesome to watch, just her aggressiveness is something to admire," Moore said. "She is one of those player who you can feel the team elevates when she comes. She's a class act, very conscious of how she treats people just a nice person and somebody you want to hang out with. She represents herself and USA Basketball (very well)."

When I asked Tamika about how she is perceived by Maya, who is the only active college player in the U.S. national team poll, she reflected back to the 2002 World Championships when she was the new kid on the block just a year removed from a brilliant college career at Tennessee.

"It is really cool because I know for me watching the '96 Olympics, watching Sheryl (Swoopes), Lisa (Leslie) and Dawn (Staley) those were the players were I said 'oh my God, if I ever get a chance to play on the same team with them ...' Then in 2002, I am playing on the world championship team with them, goo goo eyed knowing to make the squad what I have to do. Now it is fast forwarded and I am that (player) for her and some other players and it is kind of cool to have an impact on them."

Catchings received one of the best compliments she could get from UConn coach Geno Auriemma.

"I said of all the players who have ever played who I have coached against, (Catchings is) the one I would to have loved to have coached the most regardless of what other school they went to, in the four years we competed against them I always thought that. If there is any player we can take from any school in the country."

Speaking of Moore, she is not concerned about falling behind academically when she is playing in the FIBA World Championships and Auriemma said Moore is mature and responsible enough to take care of things from the academic end when she is in the Czech Republic.

Moore said she is not planning to apply for the Rhodes Scholarship as she hinted she may attempt to do.

"There's nothing there, sorry," Moore said when she was asked about it on Thursday.

The deadline for applying is October 4 which happens to be the day after the FIBA World Championship final so even if she changed her mind, there would be no way for her to navigate her way through the arduous Rhodes application process.

She also said that she will not be getting an internship and she will be able to gradate without an internship.

"It is just a different way of doing it," Moore said. "There really wasn't a time in the summer to have a real internship. I was able to take a class which gave me the hands' on experience called 'best of sport'."

Auriemma was asked a couple of times if he was concerned about being away from UConn for as long as he will be as the U.S. national team coach.

"There would be nothing for me to do in terms of getting my team ready," Auriemma said. "If I was home, I'd be pretty much watching Chris (Dailey), Shea (Ralph) and Marissa (Moseley) handling the individual workouts. Amanda Kimball handles the strength and conditioning part of it. We are not one of those teams who does a lot early on, we are hoping our season lasts until April so that is a long time. (It's) more of a concern is trying to find a way to incorporate five freshmen into the mix and that is not going to be easy.

"I was talking to somebody and they said 'you have a lot of experience. Tiffany Hayes looks really, really good right now. She has two years of experience, she hasn't lost a game in college. Man, she looks great. Then you have Maya who has been unbelievable.' Then we just stopped. There's a lot to fill in and it is going to be filled in by players who haven't had the opportunity to do that. That is going to be something that is going to worry me while I am away. If I stayed home, there is nothing I could do about that."

I asked Auriemma for his reaction to the death of former Cincinnati head coach J. Kelley Hall.

"It is just incredible," Auriemma said. "I still don't know all the details. I don't know what happened. I knew who he was when he was an assistant for a long time, he had been around for a while. You get reminded a lot of what's out there and what's important. I come to practice and I am the happiest guy in the world to be at practice, I enjoy being here except when they don't play defense or rebound."

Speaking of the practice, the players taking part were Moore, former Huskies Asjha Jones, Tina Charles and Renee Montgomery as well as 2008 Olympians Catchings, Seimone Augustus and Kara Lawson. Lindsay Whalen, Lindsey Harding, Ebony Hoffman and Jayne Appel.

Carol Callan, the U.S. women's national team director, said that former UConn star Diana Taurasi should arrive (barring any traveling snafus by early Friday evening) and her Phoenix Mercury teammate Candice Dupree is expected to be in town later on Friday. Callan said details on Cappie Pondexter's itinerary are still being worked out while a knee issue will keep Kia Vaughn from coming to camp. There's an outside chance that Taurasi could play on Friday but Callan thought that was unlikely.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

More on UConn's schedule

The Atlantic Coast Conference followed the Pac-10's lead by announcing its complete schedule.

As a result, we now know that UConn's game at North Carolina will be on January 17 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day). The game is at 7 p.m. and will air on ESPN2. As previously reported, the Florida State/UConn game is on Dec. 21 although no time has been announced. The Duke at UConn game will be a 7 p.m. tip on Jan. 31 and will also be televised by ESPN2.

Here's UConn's non-conference schedule

Franklin Pierce (date, site TBA)
Nov. 10 Indiana (Pa.)
Regular season
Nov. 14 Holy Cross
Nov. 16 Baylor (XL Center), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
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, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Jan. 17 at North Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Jan. 31 Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Feb. 14 Oklahoma

Also, ESPN sent out some details about the game with Baylor.

ESPN2 to Televise State Farm Women’s Tip-Off Classic

Two-time defending National Champion Connecticut and Final Four participant Baylor are set to participate in the 2010 State Farm Women’s Tip-Off Classic from the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The game is part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, which will include 20 live games – 19 men’s and one women’s – in a minimum of 25.5 hours across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.

The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame teams up with State Farm and InterSport to present the 18th annual Tip-Off Classic, which has become synonymous with the start of the women’s college basketball season and is the longest-running early-season event on ESPN. This is the fourth appearance for both Baylor and Connecticut in the Classic. In April, the two teams met in the 2010 NCAA Championship Semifinals in San Antonio, in which Connecticut defeated Baylor 70-50.

Three Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductees will be present: Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma (Class of 2006), Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey (Class of 2000) and Baylor assistant coach Leon Barmore (Class of 2003). During halftime, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2011 will be introduced.

The Huskies captured the last two NCAA Division I National Championships and have won 78-straight games to date, 10 short of the UCLA men's record for consecutive victories in NCAA Division I basketball. UConn returns All-American and National Player of the Year senior Maya Moore, as the Huskies are expected to open the season ranked in the top five.

“We are very excited to be a part of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon,” Auriemma said. “Baylor is an outstanding team and the ESPN audience, along with the crowd at the XL Center, should be treated to a great game. Once again State Farm has stepped up to help make this possible and I would like to pass along my thanks to them.”

Baylor is coming off a 27-10 season, and the program’s second Final Four appearance. The Bears are also expected to be a top-five team heading into the 2010-11 campaign. Baylor returns All-American Brittney Griner, a sophomore, who set an NCAA blocked shot record as a freshman with 223 rejections and was named the USBWA Freshman of the Year.

“We are so excited to be playing in our fourth State Farm Women’s Tip-Off Classic,” Mulkey said. “It truly should be a classic with Baylor and Connecticut, two 2010 Final Four teams, matching up. I really appreciate State Farm’s continued support of women’s athletics and women’s basketball in particular.”

Moore and Griner, along with Connecticut’s Tiffany Hayes, have been named to the 2010-11 preseason “Wade Watch” list for The State Farm Wade Trophy, given annually to the top women’s basketball player. Moore has won the award in the last two seasons.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

UConn/Stanford game on ESPN2

Shouldn't come as a shock to hear that ESPN2 will be televising the Dec. 30 game between UConn and Stanford. The game, which starts at 9 p.m. Eastern time could be for No. 89 in a row if UConn manages to navigate its way through a challenging early portion of their schedule. The entire Pac-10 television was announced today which should bode well for the other conferences, including the Big East's coming out shortly.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Stokes lists visits

There was one recent internet report listing Kiah Stokes as being down to UConn, Tennessee and Georgia. I expressed surprise at the time because I believed Maryland was a major player in the 6-foot-3 forward/center from Marion, Iowa.

The latter proved to be true according to a report by Eastern Iowa High School Sports which lists her upcoming visits

Here are the list of visits (although they are not all officials as the story indicates)

Sept. 10-12: Tennesee
Sept. 24-26: Maryland
Oct. 8-10: Georgia
Oct. 15-17: UConn

Friday, September 03, 2010

Former Cincinnati coach passes away

J. Kelley Hall, who coached at Cincinnati in the 2007-08 and 2008-09, died on Thursday. The cause of death was a heart attack according to a release on the Louisiana Lafayette website. He was just 51 years old.

Hall had a 26-33 record in his two seasons with the Bearcats before being fired. Former UConn player and assistant coach Jamelle Elliott was hired to replace Hall.

Here is the info on Hall's background on the official release Cincinnati put out when announcing his firing on April 10, 2009

Hall's record as the two-year UC head coach was 26-33 and his career coaching mark stands at 316-151 in 15 seasons. He became just the seventh head coach of the University of Cincinnati women's basketball program when he was introduced as the Bearcats' new mentor on April 4, 2007. Hall's previous coaching stops were at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, as head coach (2002-07), at Louisville, as associate head coach/recruiting coordinator (2000-02), and assistant coach/recruiting coordinator positions at Auburn (1996-2000), Cal State Fullerton (1994-96), Mississippi State (1992-94), the University of Alabama (1983-84) and Troy (1982-83).

My dealings with Hall were rather limited. He did make some news on Big East media day in 2008 when he confirmed that he was the lone Big East coach not to pick UConn to win the 2008-09 Big East title.

Hall graciously answered questions about his decision both at media day in New York when he said “No disrespect to Geno whatsoever. I think Louisville, just looking at the (Big East) run last year, they were coming off of 26 wins with four starters back. I think with Angel McCoughtry and Maya Moore, you are weighing it, honestly, I kind of wish I could split it half and half.”

In the two seasons he was at Cincinnati, I found him to be an likeable guy to deal with who exuded that Southern gentleman charm and I was very saddened to hear about his passing.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Stanford time is finalized

The date of the national-championship game rematch has been announced. UConn will play at Stanford at 9 p.m. on Dec. 30. It will be the second game of the Huskies'
California road trip at UConn plays at Pacific at 10 p.m. on Dec. 28. For those interested in projecting such things, if UConn emerges unscathed from some challenging early games, the game at Pacific would be No. 88 in a row, matching the Division I men's basketball record winning streak set by John Wooden's UCLA teams in the early 1970s and Stanford would be No. 89.

UConn's schedule should be coming out later this month but other than the date of North Carolina game and the exhibition game against Franklin Pierce, here's the breakdown of the non-conference games.

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 World Vision 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, 9 p.m.
Jan. 31 Duke
Feb. 14 Oklahoma

I guess I should have figured something was up when Jack Eisenmann, UConn's director of basketball operations for the last nine seasons, did not accompany UConn coach Geno Auriemma to the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament last month as he normally would have done. Now I know why as Eisenmann left to become an assistant coach at Fordham