Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Former Huskies fan favorites in WNBA balloting

If the fan balloting for the WNBA All-Star game ended today, five former UConn stars would earn starting spots.

In the West, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi are the top two vote-getters among Western Conference guards while Maya Moore and Swin Cash are the top two among Western Conference forwards. Tina Charles is the only ex-Husky in position to earn a starting spot as she is the top choice among Eastern Conference centers.

When the WNBA released the early returns in the fan balloting, Tamika Catchings leads all players with 19,943 votes while Bird's 15,203 is tops among Western Conference players. Of the 15 players who have received at least 7,000 votes, six played at UConn.

Here are the top 15 players
1. Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) 19,943
2. Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) 15,203
3. Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) 13,371
4. Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx) 12,762
5. Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks) 12,626
6. Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty) 11,859
7. Katie Douglas (Indiana Fever) 11,217
8. Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun) 9,837
9. Becky Hammon (San Antonio) 9,204
10. Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) 9,103
11. Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream) 8,912
12. Swin Cash (Seattle Storm) 8,797
13. Lauren Jackson (Seattle Storm) 8,693
14. Tina Thompson (Los Angeles Sparks) 7,072
15. Renee Montgomery (Connecticut Sun) 7,028

Voting will run through July 10 and votes can be cast at The top vote-getters at each position will earn starting spots for the July 23 all-star game in San Antonio, Tex.

Here are the results
Forwards: Tamika Catchings (Ind) 19,943; Angel McCoughtry (Atl) 8,912; Asjha Jones (Conn) 5,389; Crystal Langhorne (Wash) 4,653; Plenette Pierson (NY) 3,829; Tangela Smith (Ind) 3,776; Michelle Snow (Chi) 3,366; Nicole Powell (NY) 3,214; Marissa Coleman (Wash) 2,528; Tan White (Conn) 2,335

Centers: Tina Charles (Conn) 9,837; Sylvia Fowles (Chi) 9,103; Nicky Anosike (Wash) 4,287; Tammy Sutton-Brown (Ind) 2,579

Guards: Cappie Pondexter (NY) 11,859; Katie Douglas (Ind) 11,217; Renee Montgomery (Conn) 7,028; Courtney Vandersloot (Chi) 6,276; Kara Lawson (Conn) 4,961; Alana Beard (Wash) 3,188; Epiphanny Prince (Chi) 2,891; Iziane Castro Marques (Atl) 2,699; Lindsey Harding (Atl) 2,590; Briann January (Ind) 2,576; Essence Carson (NY) 2,488; Kelly Miller (Wash) 2,274

Forwards: Maya Moore (Minn) 12,762; Swin Cash (Sea) 8,797; Tina Thompson (LA) 7,072; Rebekkah Brunson (Minn) 6,886; Penny Taylor (Phx) 5,512; Sophia Young (SA) 5,451; Candice Dupree (Phx) 5,368; Camille Little (Sea) 3,509; Ruth Riley (SA) 2,989; Sheryl Swoopes (Tul) 2,983; Delisha Milton-Jones (LA) 2,500

Centers: Candace Parker (LA) 12,626; Lauren Jackson (Sea) 8,693; Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Minn) 3,963; Jayne Appel (SA) 2,710; Elizabeth Cambage (Tul) 2,265

Guards: Sue Bird (Sea) 15,203; Diana Taurasi (Phx) 13,371; Becky Hammon (SA) 9,204; Seimone Augustus (Minn) 6,232; Lindsay Whalen (Minn) 4,311; Kristi Toliver (LA) 3,312; Ivory Latta (Tul) 3,221; Ticha Penicheiro (LA) 2,883; Jia Perkins (SA) 2,576

When UConn coach Geno Auriemma met with members of the media during a break in his golf tournament on Monday and when he talked about his impending trip to Poland to check out the final three days of the EuroBasket Championships, Auriemma said "I hope there’s a 17 year old playing over there. But that never happens. You never find those kids out there."

Well ...

There is actually a 17-year-old playing for Montenegro and not only is Ana Turcinovic playing but she is opening some eyes with her play. Although Montenegro lost to Turkey 56-44 in Thursday's quarterfinals, the 6-foot-2 Turcinovic finished with 10 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes. It was the third double-figure scoring effort for Turcinovic who is averaging 5.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 16 minutes. I'm not suggesting that Auriemma will be heading home with a commitment from Turcinovic but I'd have to think there aren't too many 17 year olds who could hold up against the very best players in Europe.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Doty sprains knee

UConn guard Caroline Doty, working her way back from her third surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, sprained her knee in a recent half-court basketball game.

“Caroline Doty is making progress back from her third ACL injury," UConn team physician Dr. Tom Trojian said in a statement released by the school. "She had normal biomechanical testing and good strength. (The) MRI showed all ligaments are intact. We are being extra cautious and slowing her progression back. We do not have a defined timetable for her return to full unsupervised activity, but our goal of having her ready to play for the start of the 2011-12 season remains unchanged.”

Doty suffered her first major knee injury playing soccer as a senior at Germantown Acsademy forcing her to miss her final season of high school basketball. She played in 17 games as a freshman before tearing an ACL for the second time in a game against Syracuse forcing her to miss the rest of the 2008-09 season. Doty played in all 39 games as a sophomore before suffering a third ACL tear in between her sophomore and junior seasons forcing her to miss the entire 2010-11 season.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BET Sportswoman of the Year is ...

Serena Williams. I guess Maya Moore can't win every award, can she?

The former UConn star was up for the Sportswoman of the Year honor at the BET Awards along with Serena and her fellow tennis champion sister Venus Williams as well as WNBA stars Tamika Catchings and Candice Dupree. At Sunday's BET Awards, Serena Williams was announced as the winner.

For those interested, BET will rebroadcast the awards show tonight at 7 p.m. Maya was not at the ceremony because she was playing for the Minnesota Lynx, fittingly enough against Catchings and the Indiana Fever on Sunday.

Updating a previous blog entry, Los Angeles Sparks star Candace Parker will be out for about six weeks after tearing the meniscus in her right knee in Sunday's loss to New York.

Parker was injured colliding with New York's Quanitra Hollingworth while going after a rebound with 5:56 left in the third quarter. She limped off the court and did not return to the game. Parker headed back to Los Angeles on Monday where an MRI was performed to determine the severity of her injury.

The first game the former WNBA MVP will miss is tonight's game at the Connecticut Sun. Her six-week hiatus could cost her nearly half the WNBA season. If she were to return exactly six weeks from today, that would coincide with an Aug. 9 game against Tulsa. If she was back for that game, Parker would have missed 13 games including both regular-season contests with Connecticut.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Moore reflects on another special honor

Her commitments with the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx did not allow former UConn star Maya Moore to make the trip to Columbia University to accept the Honda-Broderick Cup in person on Monday but that doesn't mean that joining swimming legend Tracy Caulkins to become the only two-time winner of the prestigious honor.

"It is really tough putting it into perspective and I won't be able to until later on down the line," Moore said. "Just the way I am able to win it two years in a row just makes me think of my teammates, coaches and all the people who have been part of the UConn history that have given me a platform to be able to be honored like this twice. Because of all the special people I've had in my life, my family, friends, mentors, everybody involved - training staff even down to our practice players at UConn can all be excited and take joy in this award because they are all part of it because that is what makes this award special."

Moore admitted she was not aware of many of the remarkable achievements of Caulkins, who ironically was born in Winona, Minnesota. Caulkins, who set 63 American swimming records and was a triple gold medal winner at the 1984 Olympics, won the Honda-Broderick Cup in 1982 and 1984 when she was a star at Florida.

Moore is in the midst of her rookie season with Minnesota. She matched her career high with 21 points in Sunday's loss to Indiana which came two days after being held to a career low four points in a loss at Seattle.

"It is really tough," said Moore, who is averaging 13.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists for the 5-3 Lynx. "It is something that people haven't had to see, especially in my career. The growing pains (as an amateur) have been off camera. I have struggled growing as a basketball player before I got to UConn, during practices at UConn and a lot of attention hasn't always been shown on that. It is a great opportunity to make this season and this story better going through these struggles early on."


Maya Moore wins Honda-Broderick Cup

Former UConn star Maya Moore became the second two-time winner of the Honda-Broderick Cup, beating out an impressive field of winners from the other college sports including finals Sheila Reid (a distance runner from Villanova) and Blair Brown (a volleyball player from Penn State).

Here is the bio from the release about Maya:
Maya Moore (senior, basketball) – Moore, a native of Jefferson City, Missouri who grew up in Lawrenceville, Georgia, has been nominated for the Honda Sports Award for basketball all four years of her college career and won the honor last year. Notably, because she won the Honda-Broderick Cup last year, she now has a shot at making history as only the second athlete to be named as Collegiate
Woman Athlete of the Year twice. (Tracy Caulkins won in ‘82 and ‘84). Moore led the UConn team to four Final Four appearances, two national titles and a 150-4 record. She is the fourth-leading scorer in NCAA history, with 3,036 points. Honored as the Capital One University Division Academic All-American of the Year and BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2010 and 2011, Moore was also selected as a CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2009. A three-time WBCA Wade Trophy honoree and four-time WBCA State Farm First Team All-American, she won the Naismith Trophy, the Associated Press Player of the Year Award and the USBWA Player of the Year Award in 2009 and 2011. She was also the John R. Wooden Award honoree in 2009 and 2011. Moore held a 3.669 GPA in sports media and promotion. She was the #1 draft pick for the WNBA this year and is currently playing with the Minnesota Lynx.


Leedham scores in double figures again

Former Cheshire Academy star Johannah Leedham posted her fifth straight double-digit scoring game with 11 points as Great Britain lost to Russia 62-59 in its final game at the EuroBasket championships.

Leedham had eight rebounds and two steals but also committed seven turnovers as Great Britain finished with a 1-5 record and failed to advance to the quarterfinals.

Leedham averaged 12 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals despite being limited to 20.8 minutes as she recovered from a knee injury.

Former UConn star Svetlana Abrosimova had 10 points, five rebounds and a game-high six steals for Russia.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Parker hurt in loss to New York

The Connecticut Sun already knew it would not be facing Lauren Jackson when Seattle comes to Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday because the former WNBA MVP is out with a hip injury. Now the status of another former MVP scheduled to play in Connecticut this week is up in the air.

Candace Parker injured her right knee in Sunday's loss at New York. She is headed back to Los Angeles to have an MRI done on the knee.

Los Angeles plays at Connecticut on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Connecticut Sun draft pick Alba Torrens missed all 13 of her shots including going 0 for 6 from 3-point range as Spain was eliminated from advancing to the EuroBasket quarterfinals with a 75-71 loss to Croatia on Sunday.

Spain finished 2-3 in Group F and in a tie for fourth place. The top four teams advance to the quarterfinals but Croatia, which also finished 2-3, earned the fourth and final spot based on its win over Spain.

Torrens finished the tournament averaging 13.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.2 steals but couldn't help Spain, which finished third in the 2010 World Championships, suffer a stunningly early exit from the European Championships.

The good news is that Torrens would be free to join the Sun, if she is so inclined, since her EuroBasket obligations are completed. Before the season, Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said the decision to join to team would be up to Torrens. With the Sun struggling to get consistent offensive production from the perimeter from players other than Renee Montgomery and Kara Lawson, a player like Torrens could be a welcome addition. While the "glass is half empty" types might scoff at Torrens' 35 percent field-goal percentage in the EuroBasket event, it should be noted that she was the 13th leading scorer in the EuroLeague averaging 15.8 points on 49.5 percent shooting.

Back to the EuroBasket tournament, another former Connecticut Sun third-round pick will wrap up play in the event on Monday when Great Britain plays Russia.

Great Britain can not advance to the quarterfinals but former Cheshire Academy star Johannah Leedham has been impressive during the tournament.

Leedham, despite seeing her playing time limited as she works her way back from a knee injury, has scored in double figures in her last four games and is averaging 12.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.4 steals in just 20.4 minutes per game.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

UConn incoming freshmen meet with the media

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Kiah Stokes sat down to talk with half a dozen members of the Connecticut media and addressed all sorts of subjects from the grueling workouts UConn strength and conditioning coach Amanda Kimball puts them through, an upcoming trip to Europe, feeling like a part of the UConn family as well as what the freshman class will bring to the 2011-12 UConn team.

The third freshman Brianna Banks, headed home for the weekend so she was not available to the media on Friday.

Here is what they had to say when I asked them to give a scouting report of their fellow freshmen.

"(Brianna Banks) is a great player, an amazing athlete," Stokes said. "Playing against her in pickup is tough. I am glad I don't have to guard her. She always works hard, she is down to earth and is a great girl. She is definitely going to make an impact on this team.

"Kaleena, she is an amazing player. What she does is she makes shots. It is her job, I guess. She barely misses. It is great that she is going to be on the team this year and she will definitely impact us right away. I couldn't ask for any two better teammates coming into my freshman year at Connecticut."

As for Mosqueda-Lewis' take on Banks and Stokes:

"Brianna is a pure athlete," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "Whenever she is out there on the court, she can get to the basket at will. She is so quick and has such great hands that everything that goes by, she gets a hand on the ball wherever you are. The way she moves her body when it is in the air, I don't even know how she makes some of these shots. Her and Tiffany Hayes have the best body control I have ever seen in my life. She has a pretty nice outside jump shot too so that is going to be deadly, that is going to be useful to us this season.

"As for Kiah, she has those long arms. You think you can get a shot off ... She was at the free-throw line and I was at NBA 3 range and tried to shoot it. She came out and blocked my shot. She is going to deadly in there, she is going to be a shot blocker so we are going to have a lot of help inside and she has a nice little mid-range jump shot. Her and Stefanie are deadly from the high post, she gets rebounds as well."

The three freshmen, taking advantage of an NCAA rule which allows them to take summer classes and work out together, have already started to form a strong bond.

"So far in workouts, when we are dying we are right there next to each other (saying) 'come on, you can do it. We are almost done,'" Mosqueda-Lewis said. "We've been picking each other up in workouts so far and I think it is going to continue through the season. We are freshmen here, we came in together, we have to be there for each other all the time."

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Maya Moore up for two ESPYs

Former UConn star Maya Moore is one of four finalists for an ESPY as Best Female Athlete. Her competition is snowboarder Kelly Clark, WNBA star Lauren Jackson and skiing star Lindsey Vonn.

The UConn women's basketball program is a candidate for Best Record-Breaking performance as the record 90-game winning streak is up against former UConn star Ray Allen, who broke the NBA record for most career 3-pointers, U.S. Open golfing Rory McIlroy and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, who became the youngest player to be named the NBA's MVP.

Moore is also one of five candidates for an ESPY Award as the best college female athlete along with Penn State volleyball player Blair Brown, Arizona State softball pitcher Dallas Escobedo, Notre Dame soccer star Melissa Henderson and USC swimmer Katinka Hosszu.

Former UConn star Diana Taurasi is one of four candidates for Best WNBA Player along with Jackson, Cappie Pondexter and Tamika Catchings.

UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun is up for the award as Best Coach/Manager.

Fans can cast votes at this link

The winners will be announced during the ESPYs on July 13 on ESPN.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

UConn finishes 17th in Capital One Cup

UConn, aided by the field hockey team's run to the NCAA quarterfinals and the women's basketball teams appearance in the national semifinals, finished 17th in the Capital One Cup standings which was won by Stanford.

Stanford finished the year with a total 121 points and Texas A&M finished with 112 in the competition where schools receive points based on their finishes at the NCAA tournaments in all sports.

UConn finished with 34 points.

Former Cheshire Academy star Johannah Leedham had 14, two rebounds, three assists and three steals in 24 minutes to help Great Britain to a near upset of Lithuania at the EuroBasket championships.

Great Britain falls to 0-3 in Group E and will need to beat Turkey on Saturday and Russia on Monday to advance to the quarterfinals.

Leedham is averaging 12.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.8 steals in 20 minutes of action in the first four games.

Former UConn star Svetlana Abrosimova had six points and three rebounds in Russia's 72-51 loss to Belarus.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dailey finishes strong at Pro-Am

When associate head coach Chris Dailey finished her nine-hole round at the Travelers' Pro-Am, she busted my chops about missing the highlight of her golfing "career."

I didn't have the heart to tell her that she could blame one of his prize pupils. When I was out on the course tracking her progress and shooting some videos, I checked my e-mails and saw the release on Maya Moore being one of the three finalists for the Honda-Broderick Cup award. While I was able to throw up a short update on this blog courtesy of my phone, I headed back to the media center to provide a longer entry.

I headed out to the ninth hole and saw Dailey finish with a par. However, it was her effort on the eighth hole that had Dailey downright giddy. Dailey finished with a birdie on the par-3 hole but because of her handicap, her score went down as a zero.

"I wish I could tell you the yardage but it was a par 3 and the putt was about 10 feet downhill slope," Dailey said. "My pro Brian Davis gave me a good read as did my caddy and I knocked it in. I jumped up and down, made a lot of noise and shot a zero. It is so rare, the guy who keys in the score couldn't put a zero in as a score so I got us three strokes in one hole. I just parred tthat (ninth hole)."

This was Dailey's third time playing the Pro-Am. She admits she doesn't play a heck of a lot of golf but with help from Davis as well as her caddy, she showed tremendous improvement as she finished up the Pro-Am in style.

"These guys are great and just the people I've gotten to meet are (great)," Dailey said. "I've been pretty lucky with the pros I've gotten to play with, they are really nice.

"I love to do this. I don't get to play a lot of golf, I am not really good at it. I have a high handicap so that is good. I know my role on the team. Every year I say I am going to practice. This year I was going to practice one week and it rained every day but it is a lot of fun."

This is a bit of the calm before the storm. When the recruiting process opens up early next month, the UConn staff will focus on the top players in the Class of 2013. Diamond DeShields and Taya Reimer have drawn the interest of the UConn staff and it will be interesting to see which members of that class join DeShields and Reimer as top recruiting targets in that class.

"It is going to start picking up," Dailey said. "We go out (recruiting) on the 6th (of July). It starts to pick up and we travel a lot.

Speaking of traveling, Dailey talked about UConn's upcoming trip to Europe.

"I think it is a great experience for our kids to be able to go overseas but it will also be good for us to see what they know, how quickly they pick things up," Dailey said. "It will be good to get a look at this year's team and see what we need to do heading into September and when the season starts."

I think they are handling the intensity of it. I think the first day they were a little overwhelmed but I think with each workout they have gotten better. I think they are pushing themselves but it is still a big jump from that first time, your last day of high school and then you are in college but they have done a really good job so far.


Moore a finalist for Honda-Broderick Cup

Former UConn star Maya Moore joins Penn State volleyball star Blair Brown and Villavova distance runner Sheila Reid as finalists for the Honda-Broderick Cup. The winner will be recognized at a ceremony in New York on June 27.

Brown led Penn State to their fourth straight NCAA championship title, tallying a match-high 18 kills in the national title game. A three-time AVCA All-American, she was named Big Ten Player of the Year, as well as the University Park Regional Most Outstanding Player.

Moore has been nominated for the Honda Sports Award for basketball all four years of
her college career and won the honor last year. Notably, because she won the Honda-Broderick Cup last year, she now has a shot at making history as only the second athlete to be named as Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year twice joining swimmer Tracy Caulkins. Moore led UConn to four Final Four appearances, two national titles and a 150-4 record. She is the fourth-leading scorer in NCAA history, with 3,036 points.

Sheila Reid became the first woman to win both the 1,500 and 5,000 in the same year.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

4 former Huskies on WNBA's top 15 player ballot

Former UConn stars Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Nykesha Sales and Diana Taurasi are among 30 players on the ballot as the WNBA celebrates its 15th season by recognizing the 15 best players in league history.

The ballot featuring the 30 candidates is currently available at with fans being allowed to vote beginning Thursday at noon. Voting runs through July 14.

Taurasi's 20.7 career scoring average trails only former Houston star Cynthia Cooper's mark of 21.0 in WNBA history. Taurasi, a four-time WNBA scoring champion, is also sixth on the WNBA career scoring list, Sales is 17th while Bird and Cash rank 20th and 21st heading into Tuesday's action.

Taurasi and Bird also rank fourth and sixth on the WNBA career charts with 593 and 483 3-pointers while Bird is second on the WNBA career list with 1,635 assists.
Sales, a member of UConn's first national championship team, was the first of four former Huskies on the list to make her WNBA debut as she debuted with the Orlando Miracle in 1999. She remained with the franchise when it relocated to Connecticut in 2003 and scored 3,955 points in 278 games.

Bird and Cash were taken by Seattle and Detroit with the top two picks in the 2002 WNBA draft.

Bird led Seattle to its first WNBA title two years later. Cash beat her former college teammate and roommate by a year, winning the first of her two WNBA championships with Detroit in her second season in the league. Cash reunited with Bird and as they led Seattle to the 2010 WNBA title.

Taurasi was the top overall pick in the 2004 WNBA draft and was a driving force on Phoenix's run to the 2007 and 2009 league titles. She is also the only former UConn player to be named the MVP of the WNBA finals.

Sales is one of four former Connecticut Sun players on the list joining Katie Douglas, Shannon Johnson and Taj McWilliams- Franklin.

Here is the list of candidates (retired players noted with *):
Seimone Augustus
Sue Bird
Ruthie Bolton*
Swin Cash
Tamika Catchings
Cynthia Cooper*
Katie Douglas
Cheryl Ford
Yolanda Griffith*
Becky Hammon
Chamique Holdsclaw
Lauren Jackson
Shannon Johnson*
Lisa Leslie*
Taj McWilliams-Franklin
Delisha Milton-Jones
Deanna Nolan
Candace Parker
Ticha Penicheiro
Cappie Pondexter
Nykesha Sales*
Katie Smith
Tangela Smith
Dawn Staley*
Sheryl Swoopes
Diana Taurasi
Penny Taylor
Tina Thompson
Teresa Weatherspoon*
Natalie Williams*

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Montgomery in thankful mood on Father's Day

Towards the end of my interview with former UConn guard Renee Montgomery before Sunday's game between the Connecticut Sun and Chicago Sky, I asked Montgomery what she would say to her father since the game was played on Father's Day.

Her response was what you would expect coming from her and especially knowing the strong bond she had with both her mother and father.

"I missed him this morning because by the time I woke up, he was already in for church," Montgomery said. "If I could talk to him right now, I would tell him 'I love you and thank you for everything and the reason I am playing in this game today is because of you.' He has always done everything as well as my (mom), he's at every AAU tournament and every day after work he was ready to rebound for me."


Charles honored by WNBA

Former UConn star and current Connecticut Sun center Tina Charles was named the WNBA's Eastern Conference Player of the Week as she led the WNBA with a 28.5 scoring average and 63.5 field-goal percentage and was third with an average of 11 rebounds per game in leading Connecticut to wins over Washington and Chicago. This is the second time Charles received the honor in her career.

Candice Dupree of the Phoenix Mercury was the Western Conference Player of the Week beating out a strong field of candidates including former UConn All-American Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm.

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Leedham leads Great Britain to win

Former Cheshire Academy star Johannah Leedham scored a game-high 18 points as Great Britain defeated Israel 74-51 for its first win at the 2011 EuroBasket championships.

Leedham, who is seeing her playing time limited as she recovers from a knee injury which forced her to sit out the exhibition game against the WNBA's Atlanta Dream, was 6 of 10 from the floor including 3 of 6 from 3-point range and also had four rebounds, three assists and three steals as Great Britain clinched third place in Group B in a spot in the next round of tournament.

Leedham averaged 12 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals in 18.7 minutes of play in pool play.

Former Christ the King and Maryland star Shay Doron led Israel with 15 points.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Big day for former Huskies

All 11 former UConn players in the WNBA were in action today and led by scoring outbursts by Diana Taurasi and Tina Charles, it was a day to remember for most of the former Huskies as five of them scored in double figures.

Taurasi had a season-high 32 points as the Phoenix Mercury defeated the Indiana Fever 93-89 in overtime for its first win of the season.

Charles had a career-high 31 points as well as 12 rebounds as the Connecticut Sun remained undefeated at home in 2011 with an 83-68 win over Chicago. Asjha Jones added 12 points for the Eastern Conference leading Sun.

Sue Bird had 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals while Swin Cash had nine points, four rebounds and three assists in the Seattle Storm's 74-50 loss to Los Angeles.

Maya Moore had 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists as the Minnesota Lynx won its fifth straight game, beating Atlanta 77-64.

Here are the other former Huskies in action on Sunday:
Kalana Greene, Connecticut: Matched season high with 7 points
Charde Houston, Minnesota: Season-high 7 points
Renee Montgomery, Connecticut: 7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
Jessica Moore, Connecticut: Did not score but played a season high 8:20.

Another former UConn star was in action on Sunday but not in the WNBA as Svetlana Abrosimova had five rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot but it wasn't enough to prevent Russia from losing to Lithuania 76-64 on day two of the EuroBasket tournament.

Former Cheshire Academy star and 2010 Connecticut Sun third-round pick Johannah Leedham had a team-high 14 points in 15 minutes in Great Britain's 60-45 loss to the Czech Republic.
Ketia Swanier, Phoenix: did not score

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WNBA president visits Connecticut Sun

New WNBA president Laurel Richie took in her first game at Mohegan Sun Arena, watching the Connecticut Sun defeat the Chicago Sky 83-68.

Richie admitted that she had not been to a WNBA game before she was hired as the third president in WNBA history following Val Ackerman and Donna Orender. She said she would like to use that fact to reach out to basketball fans like her who have not taken in a WNBA game.

"I know the press has made a lot on I had not been to a game and I view that as an opportunity," Richie said. "There are a lot of people just like me who are basketball fans, sports fans and think it is very important to have the same opportunity as men.

"I don't remember having an invitation to come to a game. I was aware of it, I don't remember somebody reaching out. One of the things I really want to think about it how do we reach out to people who we think or know would be interested and extend the invitation to get to a game and join us?

One of the issues raised when Richie met with the media during halftime was if they 2012 WNBA schedule would be altered to accomodate for the fact that some foreign players will not be available until after Olympics since they will be staying home to prepare for the event.

"I am sorting through that right now and our goal is to create an opportunity for women to participate in the WNBA and in the Olympics," Richie said.

As for the game, Tina Charles rebounded from an eight-point, four-rebound game in the previous meeting against Chicago to finish with 31 points and 12 rebounds. Kara Lawson, who missed the June 16 game against Washington with a sprained ankle, came off the bench to score 13 points.

Sylvia Fowles came back after a slow start to finish with 23 points and 10 rebounds while Epiphanny Prince had 18 points.

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U.S. U-16 squad roll to title

The United States squad finished off a dominating run by defeating Brazil 73-40 in the championship game of the FIBA Americas U16 Championship.

Linnae Harper led four U.S. players in double figures, scoring 12 points. Jannah Tucker had 11 points and a tournament record seven steals while tournament co-MVP Rebecca Greenwell had 10 points and Mercedes Russell had 10 points and 12 rebounds. UConn recruiting target Taya Reimer had two points, two rebounds and two steals. Reimer, who started all five games, averaged 4.8 points and 5.0 rebounds and had nine assists, six steals and four blocked shots in the tournament.

The U.S., Brazil and Canada all qualified for next year's FIBA U-17 World Championships.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Leedham scores four in EuroBasket opener

Former Cheshire Academy star Johannah Leedham had four points, three rebounds and two assists but her Great Britain squad lost 55-40 in the opening day of the EuroBasket.

Leedham is one of three former Connecticut Sun draft picks playing in the tournament.

Alba Torrens had 18 points, three rebounds and four assists as Spain defeated 79-69 while Sandrine Gruda and France will play Croatia later today.

The United States will play Brazil tonight at 9 in the championship game of the FIBA Americas U16 Championship.

The U.S. team has been dominant, outscoring its first four opponents by a 2 to 1 margin.

Rebecca Greenwell leads the team in scoring, averaging 17 points per game, and also had a team-best nine 3-pointers and 15 steals. Mercedes Russell is averaging 12 points and team-high 11.3 rebounds. She is leading the tournament with 45 rebounds and 17 blocked shots. Stephanie Mavunga (12 points per game) and Jatarie White (11.3 points) also score in double figures for the U.S. while UConn recruiting target Taya Reimer is averaging 5.8 points and 5.5 rebounds.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Reimer helps U.S. Under-16 team into semifinals

UConn recruiting target Taya Reimer had 10 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals as the United States team defeated Venezuela 114-32 on Wednesday in Merida, Mexico.

The victory enabled the U.S. team to head into the semifinals of the FIBA Americas U16 Championship as the top seed out of Group B and advance to Friday's semifinals.

In three games Reimer is averaging 5.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and is second on the team with seven assists.

On the U.S. U-16 team two years ago, three of the players (Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Kiah Stokes and Breanna Stewart) ended up committing to UConn while the Huskies were involved in recruiting more than half of that team. It will be interesting over the next year or see seeing which of the players get seriously pursued by the Huskies.

Rebecca Greenwell leads the team in scoring averaging 16 points per game while Stephanie Mavunga (12.7 PPG) and Mercedes Russell (11.3 points and a team-best 10.7 rebounds per game) are the top scorers for the U.S. team.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Stokes honored

UConn incoming freshman Kiah Stokes was named the Linn County Female Athlete of the Year.

Stokes, a 6-foot-3 center at Linn-Mar High in Marion, Iowa, was named Iowa's Miss Basketball after averaging 25 points, 14.9 rebounds and 5.6 blocks per game. She was also an all-state selection in volleyball after recording 301 kills.


Friday, June 10, 2011

7 former Huskies on WNBA All-Star ballot

Seven former UConn rare among 60 players on the WNBA All-Star ballot.

Tina Charles, Asjha Jones and Renee Montgomery, all from the Connecticut Sun, the Seattle Storm duo of Sue Bird and Swin Cash as well Phoenix's Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore of Minnesota are all on the ballot. Voting starts on Saturday and the rosters for the July 23 All-Star game in San Antonio will be announced on July 14.

Fans can cast their votes on the site, by texting the player's
last name to 6-9-6-2-2 or by visiting on any wireless carrier.
All balloting will conclude at midnight on July 10.

For SMS voting, fans can vote for All-Stars anytime by texting a player’s
last name from their mobile phones on any wireless carrier. Fans can cast
one SMS vote per day, per phone number. Message and data rates may apply.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

UConn commits Stewart, Mosqueda-Lewis shine in exhibition

Future UConn players Breanna Stewart (11 points, 7 rebounds, 5 blocked shots) and Kaleena Mosqueda.-Lewis (9 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists) helped the U.S. Under-19 team to a 49-37 win over Brazil on Sunday.

UConn recruiting target Diamond DeShields had four points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot. UConn rising sophomores Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley as well as UConn commits Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck also played for the U.S. but did not score.

Stewart, Mosqueda-Lewis, Dolson, Hartley, Tuck and DeShields all made the final cut for the U-19 squad, playing in the FIBA U-19 World Championships.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Former Huskies top WNBA GM poll

Former UConn stars Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Maya Moore were rather popular picks in a poll of WNBA General Managers.

Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury was the top pick (early 33 percent of the votes) to be named the league's MVP and tied former teammate Cappie Pondexter for top honors for player they'd most like to take the last shot (27 percent each) and was the overwhelming choice as the WNBA's top shooting guard garnering 66 percent of the votes.

Moore, heading into her rookie season with the Minnesota Lynx, received 83 percent of the votes for rookie of the year, topped the charts again as 33 percent of the GM said she is the player they would sign first if they were starting a franchise (Taurasi and Candace Parker were second with 17 percent) and Minnesota's drafting of her edged out Seattle's trade for Katie Smith (33 to 24 percent) as the acquisition who will make the biggest impact in 2011. Moore also picked up 58 percent of the votes when GMs were asked which rookie would become the best player first years from now.

Bird, a perennial All-Star guard with the defending champion Seattle Storm, received all by one vote as the league's best point guard and half of the votes in the category of the player who makes her teammates better.

Also, Tina Charles received eight of the 12 votes as the top rebounder, Bird edged out Kara Lawson under the category of which player has the best basketball IQ and picked up 42 percent of the votes as being the best leader.

The WNBA season begins on Friday when Minnesota plays Los Angeles.

The Connecticut Sun made its final cut to get down to the maximum of 11 players by waiving undrafted rookie free agent forward/center Stefanie Murphy.

Murphy had a strong training camp, outlasting a pair of third-round picks (Adrienne Johnson and Tahnee Robinson) but did not play in the team's final exhibition game against San Antonio.

The Sun will open the season with nine of the same 11 players it had to begin last season as the only new additions are Kalana Greene and Danielle McCray, who will be fighting for playing time at small forward.

Also, Indiana got down to its final 11-play squad by cutting former UConn star Jessica Moore. By my count, there are still 10 UConn grads on WNBA rosters all playing for four teams.

Connecticut: Tina Charles, Kalana Greene, Asjha Jones and Renee Montgomery
Minnesota: Charde Houston and Maya Moore
Phoenix: Ketia Swanier and Diana Taurasi
Seattle: Sue Bird and Swin Cash

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