Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Asjha Jones talks about Europe

In between her freshman and sophomore seasons at UConn, Asjha Jones was part of a Huskies' squad that got to travel to Europe. With the current UConn squad en route to Italy to play four games, I decided to ask Jones her take on the benefits of getting practice and games under their belt before preseason kicks off next month.

"They have a lot of young guys so I think it will be good for them to be around Coach for an extended period of time," Jones said. "Just traveling with him and getting to know his personality and him getting to know theirs so for the young guys, the new guys it is going to give them a head start on the season."

The trip back in 1999 allowed Sue Bird to get her basketball legs under her after missing most of her freshman season with a knee injury. Both Bird and UConn coach Geno Auriemma credited that experience for helping her emerge into an elite point guard as a sophomore.

"Unfortunately we were hit with a lot of injuries our freshman year so we got those guys back on the court and back in shape before we had to start our preseason," Jones said.

Staying on the subject of Europe, Jones is planning to play a full season with Rivas Ecopolis in Madrid, Spain once her USA Basketball and WNBA responsibilities are completed.

Jones chose not to play in Europe last year to rest her ailing body but obviously she is feeling much better these days to sign up for a full season in the ultra competitive EuroLeague.

"After we are finished after USA Basketball (training camp in September), I will go there," Jones said. "Last year when I took a year off, I wasn't planning on stopping. It is just a matter of getting my body in order and getting back healthy. I am going to try to see how I hold up for the (entire) season.

"I am feeling a lot better than I was last year at this time. I wouldn't have taken the job if I wasn't going to be able to play."

While the time away from the court helped reinvigorate Jones' body, it did result in her having some rust in her game that she needed to shake off.

"It is good because this year when I came back and started playing, I felt out of rhythm and didn't have my game where I needed to be," Jones said. "I am the type of player who I have to play in order to get better, I can't take a whole lot of time off and expect myself to get better. I had to because my body needed it but now I have to get back to where I need it to be in order to keep playing."

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