Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

UConn picked fourth in preseason AP poll

Connecticut was selected to finish fourth in the Associated Press preseason top 25 poll.

Baylor, which received 33 of thre 40 first-place votes, was picked as the preseason No. 1 team for the first time in the program's history. Notre Dame, Tennessee, UConn and Stanford round out the top five. Defending national champion Texas A&M checks in at No. 6 followed by Miami, Duke, Louisville and Georgetown.

Tennessee and Miami are the only top 10 teams the Huskies will not play in the regular season.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

APR talk puts conference realignment talk on hold - for now

These are crazy times in college athletics. Nary a day goes by when new rumors surrounding conference realignment aren't popping up. If Missouri does this and West Virginia does that, what does that mean for Louisville or UConn or Rutgers?

However, the APR guidelines currently have taken over center stage especially in this state. My colleague David Borges has been following the ramifications at UConn and there are some mighty impactful ramifications. He is reporting that the UConn men's team is almost certain to not react the minimum academic performance level the NCAA is setting and the Huskies will not be eligible to play in the 2013 NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Obviously, this is something to keep an eye on as the NCAA is getting serious when it comes to teams making the grade.

Future NCAA tournament appearances for the UConn women's basketball is not in jeopardy with these new NCAA guidelines.

I received a request from the folks at CPTV to remind people that subscriptions to the Hoop Streams are currently available for $59.95 for the entire season, $34.95 for a monthly package and $14.95 for a 48-hour period of access. CPTV currently has the rights to 18 regular-season games and is in negotiations for the games at Seton Hall, Villanova and Syracuse.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stewart's final Pan Am rankings

The women's basketball competition at the Pan Am Games ended tonight with former Texas point guard Carla Cortijo leading Puerto Rico to the gold medal with an 85-57 win over Mexico.

Cortijo had 29 points and 10 assists while Mexico was led by 33 points and 16 rebounds by Erika Gomez. Pre-tournament favorite Brazil won the bronze medal, a bit of a surprise since the squad included WNBA veterans Erika de Souza and Izzy Castro Marques.

Since de Souza did not have a blocked shot in the bronze-medal game against Colombia, UConn commit Breanna Stewart finished as the tournament leader with an average of 2.3 blocked shots per game. She was also the leader with a free-throw percentage of  .885, was second in rebounding (11.3), fifth in scoring (15.3) and fourth in field-goal percentage (50.0). She also led the U.S. in all those categories which is not a bad achievement since not only was she the only high school player on the team but is nearly three years younger than the next youngest player on the U.S. squad. Stewart, who will not turn 18 until Aug. 27, was the second-youngest player in the tournament behind only Canada's Emma Wolfram.


Monday, October 24, 2011

McDaniel commits to North Carolina

It didn't take long for Xylina McDaniel to make a decision after UConn discontinued its recruitment of the 6-foot-1 forward.

As first reported by the Register thanks to information from Spring Valley (S.C.) High coach Anne Long, McDaniel canceled a planned visit to Providence so she and her mother could take an unofficial visit to North Carolina. Obviously they liked what they saw because McDaniel committed to North Carolina according to an ESPN report.

UConn had pursued McDaniel and had her up on a visit during its First Night festivities on Oct. 14 and the Huskies' first official practice the next morning but sensing that McDaniel was likely to commit to a school close to her South Carolina home, UConn stopped recruiting McDaniel.


Stewart leads U.S. past Jamaica

UConn commit Breanna Stewart had 12 points and six rebounds as she helped the United States defeat Jamaica 87-41 in the seventh-place game at the Pan Am Games.

Stewart, the only high school player on the U.S. squad, finished the tournament as the U.S. leader in scoring (15.3 points) and rebounding (11.3).

Eastern Michigan's Tavelyn James led the U.S. with 19 points, the only time Stewart was not her team's leading scorer in the four tournament games.

Speaking of Stewart, the schedule for the HoopHall Classic was announced today and Stewart's Cicero-North Syracuse (N.Y.) team will play West Springfield (Mass.) High at 6 p.m. on Jan. 13. That will be followed by a game featuring New York powerhouse Christ the King and its dynamic sophomore Sierra Calhoun going against East Longmeadow High. Tickets will go on sale beginning on Nov. 1


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stewart leads U.S. to first Pan Am victory

UConn commit Breanna Stewart had a team-high 17 points as well as seven rebounds to lead the previously winless United States team to an 87-58 win over previously undefeated Mexico in the final preliminary game for both teams at the Pan Am Games.

Stewart finished preliminary round averaging 16.3 points and 13 rebounds but it wasn't enough to keep the U.S. in contention for a medal. With a 1-2 record, the U.S. finished fourth in Group A and only first-place Mexico and second-round Puerto Rico advance to the semifinals. The U.S. will play in the seventh-place game tomorrow.


UConn commit will be on ESPN2 tonight

Just a reminder that the United States/Mexico game will be televised live by ESPN2 beginning at 9 p.m. The leading scorer for the 0-2 U.S. squad is UConn commit Breanna Stewart, the only high school player on the team.

After two of the three preliminary games, Stewart was leading all players in rebounding (averaging 16 per game) and blocked shots (2.5) and was sixth in scoring with an average of  16 points per game while also ranking in the top 10 in steals, field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage. As a point of reference, the second-leading rebounder is WNBA veteran Erika de Souza so Stewart isn't only thriving in her latest chance at facing international experience, but she is doing it again some professional stars.

The down side is that the U.S. team won't be bringing home a medal. The best the U.S. squad can do is play in the seventh-place game tomorrow since the U.S. will finish last in Group A regardless of tonight's results.


Another double-double for Breanna Stewart

After two days of play at the Pan Am Games, I believe I can say that UConn commit Breanna Stewart is pretty good. The United States team, well not so much.

Stewart, the only high school player on the U.S. squad, had her second straight double-double with 14 points (on 6 of 11 shooting) and 11 rebounds but the U.S. squad fell to 0-2 in pool play with a 75-70 loss to Puerto Rico on Saturday.

Tavelyn James was the only other U.S. player in double figures as she finished with 12 points while former South Florida standout Jazmine Sepulevada


Friday, October 21, 2011

Stevens sidelined for St. John's

One table I meant to get over to at the Big East women's basketball media day was St. John's so I could speak to head coach Kim Barnes Arico as well as former Trinity Catholic star Da'Shena Stevens. Well, I never managed to speak with them and looks like that was an error on my part since St. John's put out a release earlier today that Stevens is expected to be sidelined for the first 4-6 weeks of the regular season as she recovers from knee surgery meaning she should be back at some point in December and the DePaul game could be the only Big East game she would miss. Former Lauralton Hall star Keylantra Langley is one of the players who could see expanded roles while Stevens is sidelined.

Here is the release

QUEENS, N.Y. (Oct. 21, 2011) – St. John’s senior forward Da’Shena Stevens is expected to miss the first 4-6 weeks of regular season play due to recovery on a knee injury suffered over the offseason. A preseason 2011-12 All-BIG EAST selection, the Stamford , Conn. , native is expected to return in mid-December.

Stevens is one of St. John’s most highly honored players, she was the 2009 BIG EAST Freshman of the year, a two-time All-BIG EAST player, three-time BIG EAST All-Academic Team honoree, a 2010-11 preseason Naismith Trophy Award Watch list member, two-time All-Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association member and 2010 All-Met Player of the Year, 2010 Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American and WBCA Region I All-American. Stevens is the No. 11 on St. John’s all-time career scoring list with 1,243 points and No. 6 on St. John’s all-time rebounding charts with 673 boards.

            The Red Storm was picked seventh in the 2011-12 BIG EAST Preseason coaches poll. St. John’s season officially kicks off with a home contest against St. Bonaventure on Nov. 12.

UConn no longer recruiting McDaniel

Shortly after meeting with Xylina McDaniel and her mother when they were up at UConn earlier this month, UConn made the decision to stop recruiting South Carolina's Gatorade Player of the Year.

McDaniel's father Xavier, who played 14 years in the NBA and also is one of her AAU coaches, called me tonight just to make it clear that the decision to end the recruitment was UConn's and not Xylina's.

"They called (Spring Valley) Coach (Anne) Long and told Coach Long that they were taking the pressure off. I guess it was a conversation they had while we were on our recruiting trip that Connecticut was far. I told (UConn assistant) Coach (Marissa) Moseley 'it is far. That is a big, giant step and she needs to figure out that this is what she wants to do.' I think maybe the process is too long for Connecticut being one of the major powers, maybe you either (do it) the Connecticut way or not."
McDaniel, a 6-foot-1 forward, is now expected to pick between South Carolina (where her high school teammate Asia Dozier has committed) and North Carolina.

That completes UConn's recruiting class as Breanna Stewart, a forward/center from Cicero-North Syracuse (N.Y.) High, Bolingbrook (Ill.) High forward Morgan Tuck and guard Moriah Jefferson, who is home schooled and plays for the THESA Riders in Ft. Worth, Tex., have all committed and are expected to sign with the Huskies during the early signing period next month.

Speaking of Stewart, she had 18 points and 21 points but it was not enough as the United States opened play in the Pan Am Games with a 58-55 loss to Argentina. Stewart, the only high school player on the team,  was 3 of 8 from the field but 12 of 14 from the free-throw line. However, the only other U.S. player to scorer in double figures was Gonzaga's Katelan Redmon, who had 16 points.

Melissa Gretter led Argentina with 21 points.

Labels: , , ,

Hayes emerging as a leader

Without a doubt, the most popular question I have receiving during this offseason is who will step into the leadership role.

Obviously Caroline Doty is a fiery competitor who can be a first-rate leader but her knee problems make it tough for her to stay on the court. If she can play the entire season, there's no doubt that she will be the vocal leader on the 2011-12 squad. But she needs some help. Neither senior Tiffany Hayes nor junior Kelly Faris are the rah-rah types (then again neither was Maya Moore). Hayes, a starter on a national championship team, should be one of the Huskies leaders. She said she wants to fill the role. Well, at Big East media day on Thursday, I was curious if UConn coach Geno Auriemma thought she was taking steps to becoming a leader. I think you will be encouraged by his response.

"So far after five days she really has (become a leader) which is good," Auriemma said. "That is kind of what you want players to think. You want them to say I will be that person who is an anchor. I don't know anybody who has has better practices than her so I hope she decides to take on that role.

"If your seniors who are capable of being leaders don't fill void then somebody else is going to fill it or it is not going to get filled at all. If it doesn't get filled at all, then we have a problem. If the wrong person fills it, then we have a problem so Tiffany knows that Tiffany, Caroline and Kelly have to fill that role. If they do, we are going to be great. If they don't, we aren't going to be very good.

"I have already seen a difference in her than at any time in that last four years. Her frustration level is at an all-time low whereas before it was always bubbling below the surface. I would categorize it as 50/50, half the time she is great and the other half she is frustrated. The first five days of practice, it has been a a minimum 70/30 and that has never happened before. I think she is learning what those things are. It is not just saying something or yelling something, it is more of we haven't  scored in a couple of possessions so she gets an offensive rebound scores and gets fouled. She gets a steal, makes a huge 3 and after missing two in a row, she makes a big play. I think those things are things where your teammates know you are there for them as opposed to 'things aren't going well for me so the hell with it.' It is not Tiffany's talent that gets her in trouble, it is her mind. If her mind is right, she is as good as anybody out there."

The days of Hayes standing outside the 3-point line and launching 3-pointers are over. Hey, she will still take perimeter jumpers but she will be asked to get into the post more than ever before especially if UConn goes to a four-guard starting lineup of Doty-Hartley-Faris-Hayes-Dolson as expected.

"One of the things we are trying to get her to understand is that you can't score when she is falling down all the time," Auriemma said. "You can't be falling down as much as a senior as you did as a freshman. You are not very effective scoring while laying down on the floor. I would venture to say in the first five days of practice, the fact is that I can't remember how many times she has fallen down, it probably has only happened once or twice. Her body control and what she is trying to get done when she is in there is much different."

Auriemma hasn't been entirely thrilled with what he saw from the first five days of practice. Turnover have been a major issue. Of course, some of that can be attributed to Bria Hartley being out with a concussion and Caroline Doty being limited as she works her way back from a minor knee procedure. Auriemma knows it will take some time for his young team to find a comfort level.

"Once we start to find out who these guys are, where the shots are coming from, who is the scorer, we'll be (better)," Auriemma said. "I think Tiffany can be a huge help with that."

One issue that time can not heal is a lack of size when the best lineup is on the court. Auriemma knows there will be games when a team with a couple of big kids inside (Stanford, Notre Dame, Baylor immediately come to mind), the Huskies may have some matchup issues.

"Our best lineup and probably four guards and Stefanie so a team that has two big post players is going to be a tough matchup for us but we are going to be a tough matchup for them too," Auriemma said. "We are going to try to zig and zag and hope that their tough matchup is harder on them than it is on us."

The U.S. squad, featuring UConn commit Breanna Stewart, will play its first game in the Pan Am Games in a couple of hours. The U.S. will face Argentina at 2 p.m. Eastern time today, then play Puerto Rico tomorrow and wrap up pool play against Mexico. The final game will air live on ESPN2 beginning at 7 p.m.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pretty interesting day in New York

On any other Big East media day, UConn not being the pick to win the conference title for just the second time since 1994 would be dominating the headlines. Certainly that was the subject of my main story off today's festivities.

However, when Geno Auriemma lowered the boom on Notre Dame and pretty much saying the Fighting Irish's refusal to give up its independent status in football and join the Big East in all sports led to the defection of Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College to the ACC caused quite the stir.

I headed over to a meeting of the Gene Casey Chapter of the National Football Federation in New Haven to get the reaction of guest speaker Paul Pasqualoni, UConn's football coach. Pasqualoni chose his words carefully and here is what he had to say.

"Well, Notre Dame is in a unique position," Pasqualoni said. "They are going to do what they believe they feel is in the best interest of Notre Dame football so that is part of what I guess what everybody is doing and take care of their own (best interests) taking care of who they feel their associates are, what their conference is, what their commitment may or may not be. It is an all-around hard deal."

Notre Dame picked to win Big East; UConn's Mosqueda-Lewis named top frosh

Notre Dame, which ended the Maya Moore era at UConn with a victory at the Final Four in April, was picked as the preseason favorite in the Big East ahead of the five-time defending champion Huskies marking the second time since 1993 that UConn wasn't selected to win the conference title.

Notre Dame, which received nine of the 16 first-place votes from the Big East coaches, returns four starters including preseason Big East Player of the Year Skylar Diggins as well as fellow preseason All-Big East first-team selections Natalie Novosel and Devereaux Peters.

UConn was picked to finish second and picked up the other seven No. 1 votes while sophomore Bria Hartley and senior Tiffany Hayes were named to the 12-member preseason all-conference first team while Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was picked to be the conference's top freshman.
Since being picked to win the league in 1994, UConn has been the preseason favorite every year except in 2005 when the Cappie Pondexter-led Rutgers team was the selection.

Hayes, who averaged 13.7 points per game as a junior, is UConn's top returning scorer. Hartley averaged 12.4 points and joined Moore as the only UConn player to score in double figures in every game in the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Mosqueda-Lewis, who was named the Naismith, WBCA, Parade Magazine, USA Today and Gatorade National Player of the Year after leading her Mater Dei of Santa Ana, Calif. squad to the No. 1 national ranking, is a dynamic 3-point shooter who finished as Mater Dei's all-time leader with 2,744 points, 874 rebounds and 337 3-pointers.

Louisville, Rutgers and Georgetown rounded out the top five in the preseason poll which was announced at the annual Big East media day.
Aside from Diggins, the only unanimous All-Big East picks were DePaul's Keisha Hampton and Sugar Rodgers of Georgetown.

(First place votes in parenthesis)
1, Notre Dame (9)   219
2. UConn (7)  216
3. Louisville 191
4. Rutgers 176
5. Georgetown 175
6. DePaul 152
7. St. John's 145
8. Syracuse 123
9. West Virginia 108
10. South Florida 96
11. Marquette 92
12. Pittsburgh 62
13. Villanova 54
14. Providence 51
15. Cincinnati 38
16. Seton Hall 22

All-Big East squad (unanimous picks in bold)
Kayla Alexander, Syracuse, Jr., C
Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame, Jr., G
Keisha Hampton, DePaul, Sr., F
Bria Hartley, UConn, So., G
Tiffany Hayes, UConn, Sr., G/F
Natalie Novosel, Notre Dame, Sr., G
Devereaux Peters, Notre Dame, Sr., F/C
Monique Reid, Louisville, Sr., F
Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown, Jr., G
Shoni Schimmel, Louisville, So., G
Shenneika Smith, St. John's, So., G
Da'Shena Stevens, St. John's, Sr., F

Stefanie Dolson, UConn, So., C
Khadijah Rushdan, Rutgers, Jr., G
April Sykes, Rutgers, Sr., G
Andrea Smith, South Florida, Sr., G


Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My stab at Big East picks

Tomorrow morning the Big East will announce its preseason coaches poll and all-conference team.

The coaches do not have an easy chore making this picks. I will begin with the predicted order of finish with last year's finish in parenthesis.

1. Notre Dame  (tied for second): Physical forward Becca Bruszewski is the only major loss from a team which reached the national championship game. Led by junior guard Skylar Diggins, the Fighting Irish are talented, experienced and extremely confident.
2. UConn (undefeated regular-season champs): Replacing Maya Moore is a near impossibility but with four returning starters and a talented freshman class should have the Huskies in contention for Big East and national supremacy.
3. Georgetown (tied for seventh): Hoyas will need to find a secondary scorer after graduation of Monica McNutt but Sugar Rodgers and a veteran supporting cast should make for special season.
4. Louisville (tied for fifth): The Cardinals will miss the underrated Keshia Hines but return the rest of the squad including Monique Reid and Shoni Schimmel, who both averaged more than 15 points per game last season,
5. St. John's (tied for seventh): Shenneika Smith and Da'Shena Stevens form a dynamic 1-2 scoring punch but the key to the Red Storm's season will be the development of a host of talented youngsters.
6. Rutgers (fourth): Would have bumped the Scarlet Knights up at least a spot or two had they not lost Chelsey Lee for the season. Still, Rutgers could be dangerous with veterans like April Sykes and Khadijah Rushdan to build around.
7. DePaul (tied for second): Keisha Hampton is a special player but the loss of Felicia Chester, Sam Quigley, Deirdre Naughton and China Threatt leave some holes for the Blue Demons to fill.
8. Syracuse (tied for seventh): Kayla Alexander is one of the league's rising stars and add fellow returning starters Iesia Hemingway and Elashier Hall and another winning record in conference play is not out of the question.
9. West Virginia (10th): Could it be a case of addition by subtraction? The Mountaineers were one of the most puzzling teams in the Big East last season as the senior-laden squad had mediocre results.With the loss of five of the top six scorers, it will be up to some youngsters to step up in support of Asya Bussie and Ayana Dunning.
10. South Florida (tied for 13th): The Smith twins Andrea and Andrell combined for nearly 25 points a year ago. With the return of four other players who started at least 10 games, the Bulls should be an improved squad.
11. Marquette (tied for fifth): It was a memorable season for the Golden Eagles but an encore won't be easy with the loss of the team's top four scorers. Look for Sarina Simmons and Katherine Plouffe to become bigger offensive forces.
12. Pittsburgh (12th): Speaking of heavy graduation losses, the Panthers also bid adieu to their top four scorers. Pittsburgh will field a team of freshmen and sophomores and the key could be the impact of six incoming freshmen.
13. Villanova (tied for 13th): The Wildcats shot less than 30 percent from 3-point range but with the return of their top five scorers including former Mercy High star Rachel Roberts, perhaps Villanova can make a move up the ladder.
14. Providence (11th): Former New Britain High star Symone Roberts is one of the fastest players in the Big East and is also the Friars' top returning scorer but she will need some help for Providence to avoid finishing near the bottom of the league standings.
15. Seton Hall (16th): The Pirates return the entire team in Anne Donovan's second season at Seton Hall. It will be interesting to see what Donovan can do with the sense of familiarity she now has after a difficult first season.
16. Cincinnati (15th): Former UConn player and assistant coach Jamelle Elliott has not had an easy go of it in her first head coaching job. She'll have to attempt to move up the standings without the Bearcats' only double figure scorer as Shareese Ulis graduated.

As if that wasn't challenging enough, now it is time to pick the all-conference team especially since 14 players who were either first or second team all-conference players last year. It will be interesting to see if the coaches opt to keep off a third UConn and/or Notre Dame player in order to get more of the stars from the other league teams on the list of 11 first-team selections. I opted to leave off South Florida's Andrea Smith, April Sykes of Rutgers and Shenneika Smith although I'd have no problem to see any of their names on the list in the morning.

Here is my list of 11:
Kayla Alexander, Syracuse, Jr., C
Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame, Jr., G
Stefanie Dolson, UConn, So., C
Keisha Hampton, DePaul, Sr., F
Bria Hartley, UConn, So., G
Tiffany Hayes, UConn, Sr., G/F
Natalie Novosel, Notre Dame, Sr., G
Devereaux Peters, Notre Dame, Sr., F/C
Monique Reid, Louisville, Sr. F
Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown, Jr., G
Shoni Schimmel, Louisville, So., G

My player of the year pick is Diggins with UConn's Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis the choice as top freshman.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Memorable trip to UConn for the McDaniels

If UConn recruiting target Xylina McDaniel was half as impressed at the scene inside Gampel Pavilion over the weekend as her father and former NBA star Xavier McDaniel, perhaps the Huskies will get a commitment from its first recruit from South Carolina since Kalana Greene.
"Walking in the arena and looking at all the Big East championships, 10 national titles, that is a lot right there," Xavier McDaniel said on Tuesday night. "It's a nice arena - not too big, not too small. I think it fits perfectly for girls' basketball, about 10,000 people and they had a packed house. I felt like it was great trip for us.

"Coach Geno (Auriemma) is a great coach. His seven (national) titles show that, watching their practice and how they go, how they get after it and expect for their players to be the best at what they do."

Xylina is down to UConn, North Carolina and South Carolina and her father believes she can't go wrong whichever way she goes.

"As far as X, it is a matter of what she wants to do," McDaniel said. "Let's be honest. If she comes to South Carolina and turns it around, she will be treated like a queen for the rest of her life. If you go to UConn, you can be a part of what Coach Geno has built for (25) years which won't be bad whichever way you go. If she goes to North Carolina, she can do all the things that Michael Jordan to Marion Jones (both members of UNC national championship teams) and all the great athletes they have had.  As I told her, the sky is limit. I think it is up to her. I told her you can't be afraid if a Breanna Stewart or a Morgan Tuck or Moriah Jefferson are coming (to UConn), you just have to go play. I played with Aubrey Sherrod, Greg Dreiling (at Wichita State)and I have my name on the rafters too. It is a matter of you focusing and I always say don't focus on yourself, focus on the team, the rest will take care of itself."
McDaniel, who averaged 15.6 points and 6.1 rebounds in his 14-year NBA career, is planning to let Xylina make the decision for herself.
"I'd like to get this process over with but it isn't me who is going to play college ball, it is her," McDaniel said. "It definitely has to be her making that college decision, I am happy with it. I think no matter what school you go to, you will get a very good education. I just think it comes down to winning and losing, if it was me. You have look at it that if you go to South Carolina, there are going to be some ups and downs. If you are Connecticut, you have all the (winning) programs, North Carolina is right behind teams like Connecticut, Tennessee and Stanford. Duke and North Carolina are right there. As far as Connecticut, Tennessee and Stanford and then maybe it is Duke and North Carolina - maybe in that order. I am not talking about what Texas A&M did last year, I am talking about what year in and year out, those are the teams you are going to see in the Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four just about every year.
"I think they work hard for (South Carolina coach) Dawn Staley too, Dawn Staley is a great motivator that gets after it. I am not one of these people who say you can't do this or you can't do that. Whatever it takes to get that girl going or get that boy going, I am down with it because I have played for some tough coaches over my time. I tell people all the time, if kids can't be pushed than they aren't going to amount to anything. I have seen (North Carolina) Coach (Sylvia) Hatchell at it also."

McDaniel, who also coaches Xylina with the South Carolina 76ers AAU program, first noticed his daughter's potential to be a major college player shortly after she became a teenager. He believes that Xylina can be a dominant defender and rebounder at the next level.

"At 13 and being 6-foot and now being 6-2 and being a dominant rebounder for us has been a plus and she's been a scorer as well," McDaniel said. "I think she can make an impact on defender and as a rebounder (in college). When she was young, I stressed defense a lot. I used to make her guard point guards, 2 guards and not just big people. A big girl who would try to go 1 on 1 and said damn this girl is pretty quick and then they go into the post. She has the defensive capabilities of playing five positions in college. I think she is a forward, I am not going to say she is a small forward and I'm not going to say she is a power forward. She is a forward but I think she is a forward. You can ask the UConn players who played against her. She was rebounding and blocking shots and doing a lot of the things that I taught her. I thought she did a very good job in that scrimmage with the girls."
Anne Long, Xylina's high school coach at Spring Valley High in Columbia, S.C., said that Xylina was planning to take another visit to North Carolina with her mom but Xavier said that was not the case. He also didn't have a time frame for Xylina to make a decision.


Monday, October 17, 2011

One visit left for McDaniel

Xylina McDaniel, the last uncommitted player from the Class of 2012 being pursued by UConn, has changed her itinerary a little bit.

The initial plan was to take a visit to Providence College this weekend but that visit has been canceled according to Anne Long, her high school coach. Instead McDaniel and her mother will take a trip to the University of North Carolina on Sunday.

"She is going back to North Carolina on Sunday night so her mother can get a chance to go on a visit so she is going to go back up on Sunday night and come back on Monday," said Long, the head coach at Spring Valley High in Columbia, S.C.

"She will probably know something soon after that visit," Long said, indicating that a college decision could be coming shortly.

McDaniel, who is considering North Carolina and South Carolina as well as UConn, took an official visit to Connecticut over the weekend. Along with UConn commit Morgan Tuck and Class of 2013 recruiting target Taya Reimer, McDaniel took in UConn's First Night festivities as well as the first official practice the following morning.

"She had a great time," Long said. "I talked to her, she enjoyed the festivities, the basketball (event) and she had a great time. She got some 1-on-1 time with Coach (Geno) Auriemma. They got a lot of time (together)."

McDaniel, a 6-foot-1 forward and the daughter of former NBA star Xavier McDaniel, was named South Carolina's Gatorade state player of the year after averaging 18.5 points and 8.7 rebounds as a junior while leading Spring Valley to a 29-0 record and South Carolina 4A title.

Labels: , , ,

ESPN announces TV schedule

ESPN has announced its regular-season broadcast schedule. No surprises in terms of the UConn games being televised as the seven games being shown by ESPN have been previously annonuced but just in case people are interested in the list of games, here you go:

ESPN Network’s 2011-12 Women’s Basketball Schedule (Schedule subject to change)

DateTime (ET)GameNetwork(s)
College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon  (Nov. 15)
Tue, Nov 154 p.m.Louisville at Texas A&MESPNU
6 p.m.State Farm Tip-Off Classic:
Miami at Tennessee
Sun, Nov 202 p.m.Tennessee at VirginiaESPN3*
Feast Week (Nov. 21-27)
Mon, Nov 217:30 p.m.Stanford at Connecticut (XL Center)ESPNU
Sun, Nov 272 p.m.Baylor at TennesseeESPN / ESPN3
Thu, Dec 17 p.m.Purdue at DukeESPN3*
Mon, Dec 57 p.m.Furman at Georgia SouthernESPN3*
Tue, Dec 67 p.m.Jimmy V Women’s Classic  (XL Center):
Texas A&M at Connecticut
Sun, Dec 1111 a.m.Maggie Dixon Classic (New York City):
Baylor vs. St. John’s
1 p.m.Maggie Dixon Classic (New York City):
DePaul vs. Tennessee
Tue, Dec 137 p.m.Tennessee at RutgersESPNU
Holiday Hoops (Dec. 17-24)
Sat, Dec 173 p.m.Western Carolina at SamfordESPN3*
Sun, Dec 181 p.m.Kentucky at Notre DameESPNU
8:30 p.m.Connecticut at BaylorESPN / ESPN3
Thu, Jan 57 p.m.NC State at Miami ESPNU
Sun, Jan 81:30 p.m.Louisville at St. John’sESPNU
3:30 p.m.Tennessee at ArkansasESPNU
Mon, Jan 97 p.m.Miami at Georgia TechESPN3*
Wed, Jan 117 p.m.Old Dominion at VCUESPN3*
Sun, Jan 15noonSyracuse at GeorgetownESPNU
2 p.m.Temple at DaytonESPN2 / ESPN3
3:30 p.m.Miami at Florida StateESPNU
4 p.m.Ohio State at Michigan StateESPN2 / ESPN3
Mon, Jan 167 p.m.
 North Carolina at Connecticut
Wed, Jan 187 p.m.Duke at Georgia Tech ESPN3*
Thu, Jan 196 p.m.Niagara at CanisiusESPN3*
Fri, Jan 206 p.m.Loyola (Md.) at MaristESPNU
Sat, Jan 214:30 p.m.Chattanooga at Appalachian StateESPN3*
Sun, Jan 221:30 p.m.South Carolina at VanderbiltESPNU
3 p.m.Iowa at Penn StateESPN2 / ESPN3
3:30 p.m.Maryland at DukeESPNU
5 p.m.Louisville at GeorgetownESPN2 / ESPN3
Mon, Jan 237 p.m.
Tennessee at Notre Dame
Fri, Jan 274 p.m.Manhattan at FairfieldESPN3*
Sun, Jan 291:30 p.m.Rutgers at GeorgetownESPNU
3 p.m.Penn State at Michigan StateESPN2 / ESPN3
3:30 p.m.Florida State at VirginiaESPNU
5 p.m.Tennessee at GeorgiaESPN2 / ESPNU
Mon, Jan 307 p.m.
Connecticut at Duke
7 p.m.Elon at Chattanooga ESPN3*
Wed, Feb 17 p.m.James Madison at Old DominionESPN3*
Sat, Feb 44:30 p.m.Marist at ManhattanESPN3*
Sun, Feb 511 a.m.Dayton at XavierESPNU
1 p.m.DePaul at Notre DameESPNU
Mon, Feb 66 p.m.Samford at WoffordESPN3*
7 p.m.
North Carolina at Duke
9 p.m.
Oklahoma at Baylor
Thu, Feb 96 p.m.Siena at St. Peter’sESPN3*
Fri, Feb 104 p.m.Iona at Loyola (Md.)ESPN3*
Play 4Kay (Feb. 12-13)
Sun, Feb 122 p.m.Georgia Tech at North CarolinaESPN3*
2:30 p.m.**Marquette at DePaulESPN2 / ESPN3
2:30 p.m.**Miami at Maryland ESPN2 / ESPN3
2:30 p.m.**Iowa State at Texas Tech ESPN2 / ESPN3
2:30 p.m.**Arkansas at Auburn ESPN2 / ESPN3
3 p.m.Drake at EvansvilleESPN3*
3:30 p.m.West Virginia at Notre Dame ESPNU
5 p.m.**St. John’s at RutgersESPN2 / ESPN3
5 p.m.**Florida at South Carolina ESPN2 / ESPN3
5 p.m.**Purdue at Ohio StateESPN2 / ESPN3
5 p.m.**Wake Forest at NC StateESPN2 / ESPN3
Mon, Feb 137 p.m.Kentucky at TennesseeESPN2 / ESPN3 / ESPN 3D
9 p.m.Connecticut at OklahomaESPN2 / ESPN3
Tue, Feb 147 p.m.Davidson at UNC GreensboroESPN3*
Wed, Feb 157 p.m.North Carolina at Florida StateESPN3*
Sun, Feb 191:30 p.m.NC State at North CarolinaESPNU
3 p.m.Duke at MarylandESPN2 / ESPN3
3:30 p.m.Georgia at FloridaESPNU
5 p.m.Purdue at Michigan StateESPN2 / ESPN3
Judgment Week (Feb. 20-26)
Mon, Feb 202 p.m. 
Notre Dame at Louisville
7 p.m.
Ohio State at Penn State
7 p.m.Elon at College of CharlestonESPN3*
9 p.m.Vanderbilt at KentuckyESPN2 / ESPN3
Thu, Feb 236 p.m.Iona at MaristESPN3*
7 p.m.Hofstra at James MadisonESPN3*
Fri, Feb 247 p.m.Miami at DukeESPN3*
Sat, Feb 251:30 p.m.Robert Morris at QuinnipiacESPN3*
Sun, Feb 261 p.m.Fairfield at RiderESPN3*
1:30 p.m.Kentucky at Mississippi StateESPNU
3 p.m.Duke at North CarolinaESPN2 / ESPN3
3:30 p.m.Florida at TennesseeESPNU
5 p.m.LSU at Georgia ESPN2 / ESPN3
Mon, Feb 277 p.m.
Baylor at Texas A&M
7 p.m.Appalachian State at ChattanoogaESPN3*
9 p.m.Notre Dame at Connecticut (XL Center)ESPN2 / ESPN3

* - exclusive to ESPN3; ** - regionalized coverage
Championship Week (Schedule subject to change)

DateTime (ET)GameNetwork(s)
Sat, Mar 39:30 a.m.MAAC Championship (Springfield, Mass): Semifinal 1ESPN3*
11 a.m.ACC Tournament (Greensboro, N.C.): Semifinal 1 ESPNU
11:30 a.m.MAAC Championship (Springfield, Mass.): Semifinal 2ESPN3*
1:30 p.m.ACC Tournament (Greensboro, N.C.): Semifinal 2ESPNU
4 p.m.SEC Tournament (Nashville, Tenn.): Semifinal 1 ESPNU
6 p.m.SEC Tournament (Nashville, Tenn.): Semifinal 2ESPNU
Sun, Mar 4noonBIG EAST Championship (XL Center.): Quarterfinal 1 ESPNU
2 p.m.ACC Tournament (Greensboro, N.C.): FinalESPN2 / ESPN3
2 p.m.BIG EAST Championship (XL Center): Quarterfinal 2 ESPNU
4 p.m.Big Ten Tournament (Indianapolis, Ind.): FinalESPN2 / ESPN3
6 p.m. SEC Tournament (Nashville, Tenn.): FinalESPN2 / ESPN
8:30 p.m.BIG EAST Championship  (XL Center): Quarterfinal 4 ESPNU
Mon, Mar 5noonMAAC Championship (Springfield, Mass.): FinalESPNU
3 p.m.West Coast Conference Championship
(Las Vegas): Final
5 p.m.Atlantic 10 Championship (Philadelphia): FinalESPN2 / ESPN3
6 p.m.BIG EAST Championship  (XL Center): Semifinal 1 ESPNU
8 p.m.BIG EAST Championship  (XL Center): Semifinal 2 ESPNU
Tue, Mar 62 p.m.Sun Belt Championship (Hot Springs, Ark.): FinalESPNU
4 p.m.Summit League Championship (Sioux Falls, S.D.): FinalESPNU
7 p.m.BIG EAST Championship  (XL Center): Final ESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN3
Sat, Mar 104 p.m.MEAC Tournament (Winston-Salem, N.C.): Final ESPNU
6 p.m.SWAC Championship (Dallas): Final ESPNU
Sun, Mar 111 p.m.Horizon League Championship: Final
(campus of higher seed after quarterfinal)
3 p.m.NEC Tournament: Final
(campus of higher seed)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wrapping up First Night

Maybe it's just me but it seems as if every year there are fewer and fewer basketball-related event at UConn's First Night festivities. But with a packed house watching the event, I don't think anybody was complaining.

Since no UConn women were in the dunking contest (something that could change when Breanna Stewart is in uniform next year), the only basketball even they took part in was the 3-point shooting contest.

Freshman Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was up first and finished with a total of 12 out a perfect score of 25. DeAndre Daniels was up from the men's team and had just five before Bria Hartley ended up with a score of 11. That set the stage for men's sophomore Niels Giffey who passed Mosqueda-Lewis' total before he even got to the last rack of balls Giffey finished with 19.

Freshman Ryan Boatright beat out classmate Andre Drummond to win the dunking contest.

Former UConn men's players Ray Allen, Kemba Walker (who received the loudest ovation of the night), Rudy Johnson and Hasheem Thabeet were the surprise guests. I thought Sue Bird would be a surprise guest for the women but that was not the case.

The women's team did compete in the dancing competition and won rather handily.

Geno Auriemma's remarks to the crowd were rather tame by his standards. He made no guarantees of another title or even another trip to the Final Four.

"There really isn't anything that you can describe, if you've never been on this floor, you've never been a player and don't know what this feels like, there is no feeling in the world that a player to feel that you were wanted, appreciated and wanted to play," Auriemma said to the crowd. "They don't really come here to play for the library or the chemistry building and they don't  come here to play for the biology department. They come here to play for you guys."

Recruits Morgan Tuck, Xylina McDaniel and Taya Reimer were sitting with their families surrounded by plenty of UConn staff members just in case any fans or media members decided to try to get a little too close. They are all expected to be at tomorrow's practice (the recruits and not the fans and/or media).

Thought it was kind of funny that often-injured guard Caroline Doty came in with the help of a scooter when she was introduced to the crowd.

Auriemma react to latest Big East rumors

Geno Auriemma was unaware of the latest report that had Central Florida, Boise State, Air Force and Navy about be invited into the Big East (although only Central Florida as a Big East team in all sports). Nor was he aware of other rumors suggesting that Boise State would like to have SMU and Houston are part of a football-playing only package to help keep UConn in position to maintain an automatic berth into a BCS bowl.

"I have not been around enough to know so that is the first I've heard of it," Auriemma said. "My feeling on all that stuff is you invite people with the understanding that they are going to come. If they've been invited, which you say they have been invited."

UConn already goes to Tampa every other year with South Florida in the Big East and Auriemma had similar feelings if Central Florida, based in Orlando, comes into the league.

"For us, the recruiting thing isn't that important," Auriemma said. "I think it is another opportunity for the kids that you might get involved with down that way, for them to play in front of their family and their friends."


How many Calhouns will be in attendance tonight?

It's a fairly safe assumption that UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun willl be among those at Gampel for the First Night festivities. However, it seems like he will not be the only Calhoun present.

David Borges, who covers the UConn men's team for the Register, is reporting that UConn men's recruit Omar Calhoun plans to be in the house so it seems likely that his sister Sierra, one of the top - and some people who worry about such things think maybe THE top - player in the high school Class of 2014 should accompany her brother as she did on a visit to UConn last week.

If Sierra Calhoun does come, that would push the number of women's recruits to four joining UConn commit Morgan Tuck as well as Xylina McDaniel and Taya Reimer, UConn recruiting targets in the Classes of 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Labels: , , ,

First Night is at Gampel tonight

For UConn basketball fans, tonight must be something close to a national holiday.

When fans come to games during the season, they are kept at arms' length from the players and coaches. But the whole idea behind First Night (other than to have a showcase to impress recruits) is that it allows fans to see a different side of the players. It all starts on Fairfield Way outside of Gampel Pavilion with a Fan Fest. Doors to Gampel open at 6 and there will be an autograph session with the players from both teams. The "basketball" portion of the evening will begin at 7 and include dunk and 3-point contests although there will be more fun than games. Admission is free.

"The kids get a big kick out of it, being out here and doing their thing," UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma said. "(They) enjoy being out on the floor for the first time with actual people in the stands. I think it is for the kids but how the kids handle it, that makes it for the fans. If they kids come out and go ‘I can’t believe we’ve got to do this’ then the fans don’t get a chance to enjoy it. But if the kids come out, have a great time and enjoy it and embrace the whole night then I think the fans have a great experience. I hope 10,000 of them actually show up."

Auriemma was asked about bringing back a scrimmage to the event so fans could actually see the basketball players well, actually play basketball.

"I think the scrimmaging days are over," Auriemma said. "They have something planned but I don’t know what. I try not to get caught up in that stuff. I just kind of show up and they point me in the right direction. You guys know this, in this program I am the Queen of England. I just come in and give them (a smile and a wave), elbow/wrist, elbow/wrist, elbow/wrist."
Auriemma admitted it was a hectic summer for him traveling out of the country multiple times as he continues to do double duty as not only the UConn but also the U.S. national team coach.

"Three times over the Europe and one time over to South America, all the recruiting that has been involved over the summer it has been a lot but I am kind of used to it by now," Auriemma said.

Speaking of recruits, UConn commit Morgan Tuck out of Bolingbrook (Ill.) High will be in attendance as well as 2012 recruiting target Xylina McDaniel, a star at Spring Valley (S.C.) High and 2013 recruiting target Taya Reimer out of Hamilton Southeastern High in Fishers, Ind. Also, my colleague David Borges (wo covers the UConn men's squad for the Register) is reporting that UConn men's commit Omar Calhoun will be there tonight so it's likely that his sister Sierra, a highly-touted sophomore at Christ the King, will also be in attendance. It will be a far cry from last year when current UConn freshmen Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Kiah Stokes and Brianna Banks along with their future UConn teammates Tuck and Moriah Jefferson were in attendance along with Hillhouse's Bria Holmes (who recently committed to West Virginia) and Class of 2013 prospect Diamond DeShields (who almost gave UConn's compliance officers a heart attack when she raced out of the stands and attempted to win one of the contests).

For those who can't make it to Storrs, you can check out the event on Bear in mind there are some restrictions (I know I can't get ESPN3 through my provider). ESPNU's whiparound coverage will include updates from UConn by Doris Burke and Mark Brown.

For anybody hoping that Diana Taurasi was going to be among those former UConn stars making an appearance at First Night, sorry but she is kind of busy.

Taurasi made her debut with Galatasay on Thursday and what a debut it was. Taurasi was 7 of 7 from 3-point range en route to 31 points to go with eight rebounds, six assists and two steals in an 83-66 win over Vici Aistes.

Taurasi's former UConn teammate Asjha Jones is also off and running as she had 19 points and six rebounds in her first game with Rivas Ecopolis.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Some leftover thoughts from yesterday

Much of my focus at yesterday's UConn media day was on Caroline Doty's latest medical procedure but that was far from the only thing of note to emerge from the festivities.

First, we were able to watch the last half hour of the practice and I have some observations.

Bria Hartley, who was primarily playing the point as a freshman, was seeing significantly more time on the wing and she was impressive. She is so much more comfortable putting the ball on the floor and driving to the basket and also had a couple of silky smooth pull-up jumpers. As she made one of those at the foul line, the person with the best view of the play was Sue Bird, another New Yorker who played a little bit of guard at UConn. Hartley's move reminded me of Bird during her days at UConn.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma likes the offensive aggressiveness of Hartley when she plays off the ball.

"I think in all honesty if you ask Bria, shes more of a scorer than she is a play maker," Hartley said. "I think she is kind of like Renee Montgomery in that respect. I think she is more comfortable looking for her own shot, that is when she is the most aggressive and that is when I think she is at her best. I think when she is asked to be just a play maker, she gets very tentative. We have to keep her aggressiveness up this year whether she is on the wing or on the ball, we have to keep her in aggressive."

Personally, I think if Hartley can play the entire season at shooting guard, I have no question that she will end up as UConn's leading scorer this season. Hartley downplayed the switch off the ball. 

"We have people who can play both positions, we are all combo guards," Hartley said. "I think whatever position coach wants to put me at the time, you just come out and play basketball it doesn’t matter what position."

Just because she may play off the ball doesn't mean she won't be able to be a play maker. The practice ended when Hartley threw a sweet lob pass to a cutting Kelly Faris for a layup. Auriemma looked at Hartley, nodded his head in approval and called for the 5-spot, the drill the Huskies end every practice with.

I also saw Tiffany Hayes score in the post which caught my eye. I'm sure she has the ability to do that but she hasn't been asked to do that. I'd rather she her get into the paint than jack up 35-foot jumpers. Speaking of perimeter shots, Faris was draining 3's with regularity and more importantly she was actually looking for her shot.

I saw what I thought I'd see from the freshmen. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis hit shots when she was open but also mixed it up inside going after rebounds, Brianna Banks continued to impress with her slashing drives to the basket as well as the range on her jumper. Kiah Stokes is very active on defense but will have to continue to work on her offensive game.

The one question I felt compelled to ask Geno was what was the difference between what we saw on Wednesday and UConn's first official practice on Saturday.

"There are two hours a week where you can get together for 30 practices in a 40-day period before your first game and all that other (garbage)," Auriemma said. "All I know is we start practice on Saturday October 15. This was part, you can have workout with your team for a very limited time during the course of preseason. You can do an hour or two hours, I don’t even know because I don’t ever do it. I just did this so you knuckleheads could talk to them afterward.

Finally, I will end with Stefanie Dolson's reaction to the news that her high school coach (Minisink Valley's Judy Mottola is retiring).

"I am so happy for her but it is going to sad that she is leaving," Dolson said. "I give almost all the credit to her. Coming into last year, I could have been in worse shape than I was, not have any skill or anything. With her, she pushed me to a different level. She helped me to get there. I give a lot of credit to her."

CPTV announced its broadcast schedule for the upcoming season earlier today. Taking a quick glance at the schedule, I would assume that the list of games being carried by CPTV will be growing since road games against Seton Hall (Dec. 9), Villanova (Jan. 14) and Syracuse (Jan. 25)  aren't currently on UConn's television schedule. In past years CPTV has needed some time to finalize the details for some road games.

Here is the CPTV schedule courtesy of the press release sent out to us:

Tuesday, November 1 at 8 p.m.         The Geno Auriemma Show: You Make the Call (live)
Sunday, November 13 at 2 p.m.         Holy Cross (Gampel)
(The Geno Auriemma Show precedes the game at 1 p.m.)
Tuesday, November 15 at 7:30 p.m.  Pacific (Gampel)
Friday, November 25 at 7:30 p.m.     2011 World Vision Classic – UConn vs. Fairleigh Dickinson (Gampel)
(The Geno Auriemma Show precedes the game at 6:30 p.m.)
Saturday, November 26 at 7:30 p.m.  2011 World Vision Classic – UConn vs. Buffalo (Gampel)
Sunday, November 27 at 4:30 p.m.    2011 World Vision Classic – UConn vs. Dayton
Wednesday, November 30 at 7 p.m. Towson (XL Center)
(The Geno Auriemma Show precedes the game at 6 p.m.)
Wednesday, December 21 at 7 p.m.  at College of Charleston
Thursday, Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m.                      Fairfield (Gampel Pavilion)
(The Geno Auriemma Show precedes the game at 6:30 p.m.)
Wednesday, January 4 at 7 p.m.         West Virginia (XL Center)
Tuesday, January 10 at 7 p.m.                        Providence (XL Center)
(The Geno Auriemma Show precedes the game at 6 p.m.)
Thursday, January 19 at 7:30 p.m.     Cincinnati (Gampel)
(The Geno Auriemma Show precedes the game at 6:30 p.m.)
Saturday, January 21 at 8 p.m.           at DePaul  
Saturday, January 28 at 1 p.m.           University of S. Florida (XL Center)
Saturday, February 4 at 7 p.m.           Rutgers (Gampel)
(The Geno Auriemma Show precedes the game at 6 p.m.)
Saturday, February 11 at 4 p.m.         Georgetown (Gampel)
(The Geno Auriemma Show: Special Edition precedes the game at 3 p.m.)
Saturday, February 18 at 7 p.m.         St. John’s – SENIOR NIGHT (Gampel)
(The Geno Auriemma Show: Special Edition precedes the game at 3:30 p.m., The Geno Auriemma Show at 5 p.m., followed by The Tribute to the Class of 2012 at 6 p.m.)
Tuesday, February 21 at 7 p.m.          at Pittsburgh
Saturday, February 25 at 5 p.m.         at Marquette
(The Geno Auriemma Show precedes the game at 4 p.m.)

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Caroline Doty anxious to return

Caroline Doty has undergone so many surgical procedures on her knees that it would be easy for the UConn guard to throw up her hands in frustration.

But Doty was rather upbeat even if her latest surgery will keep her out of practice for the next 7-10 days.

Doty was dealing with persistent pain in her surgically-repaired left knee since being given the OK to practice on Aug. 27. After consulting with UConn medical staff and her coaches, Doty decided to have a minor procedure to have some hardware removed from the knee.

"It is nothing big, I will be back within a week, a week and a half," Doty said. "They had to take care of something inside there. It was unfortunate. I really want to be out on the court for the first practice (on Saturday) but I know it is going to be the last thing I need to worry about. I don't have to worry about anything else but to get better and working on my game later on.

"It was bothering me during preseason, I went through preseason with this nagging pain and towards the end, we felt like if we were going to take care of it, we didn't want to wait until December until you are in the flow of everything. Let's just take care of it now and be good for the rest of the season."

The good news is that doctors got to look at her knee during the surgery and they liked what they saw.

"Everything is great, it looks stronger than ever," Doty said. "All I can do is let the wound heel and the
soreness go away. It is just like weight lifting, you are sore for a few days and then you will fine after that, just
bigger and stronger. It is going to take a few days, it will be sore."

UConn coach Geno Auriemma will become the second women's coach to receive the John R. Wooden Award's Legends of Coaching Award.

The award was first given out to North Carolina's Dean Smith in 1999 and the 2008 winner, Pat Summitt of Tennessee, is the only other time the award went to a women's coach.

"When I got that notice, it was totally unexpected. I had no inkling whatsoever that was going to happen so when it did happen, I was really taken aback by it," Auriemma said. "I think because it was John Wooden and because of what that name represents and all that goes with it, I think any award you get is worthy of something but when you get something like that from that organization, you have to view that differently."

Labels: , ,

Geno Auriemma to receive Legends of Coaching Award

University of Connecticut Head Women’s Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma will be presented with the John R. Wooden Award’s “Legends of Coaching” honor in 2012.

Auriemma ranks as one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history, with seven national titles, 12 Final Fours and four undefeated seasons, including 39-0 NCAA title-producing campaigns in 2009 and 2010.  His all-time coaching record is 771-124 (.861/26 yrs), tops among active NCAA coaches and No. 2 all-time in win percentage. His all-time record in the NCAA tournament is an astounding 81-16 (.835/24 yrs.).

UConn’s men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun was the Legends of Coaching winner in 2005; Connecticut is the only school with two recipients. Auriemma has coached the last three John R. Wooden Award women’s winners, Maya Moore (2009 and 2011) and Tina Charles (2010). Auriemma and Coach Wooden became linked in fans’ minds last year when Coach Wooden’s grandson, Greg Wooden, was on hand as the Huskies broke the Wooden-led UCLA consecutive win streak at 88 last December.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More on First Night visitors

Figured I would pass on the info that UConn recruiting target Jannah Tucker will not be in attendance at Friday's First Night festivities.

I reached out to Kevin Lynch, who was always very helpful during UConn's recruitment of Caroline Doty and since Jannah plays for the Philadelphia Belles AAU program, I asked Kevin whether Jannah was planning to come up to Connecticut this weeekend.

He informed me that Tucker has scheduled PSATs for this weekend and will not be in attendance.

Also, there have been reports that Stephanie Mavunga, another UConn recruiting target in the Class of 2013, will be visiting Tennessee this weekend.

It's already been reported that UConn commit Morgan Tuck, 2012 recruiting target Xylina McDaniel and 2013 target Taya Reimer are planning to be on campus this weekend. If I hear of any other recruits expected to join them, I will be sure to pass it on.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sierra Calhoun update

Thanks to my colleague David Borges, I have a little bit of an update on highly-touted Christ the King sophomore Sierra Calhoun.

Sierra's older brother Omar is a UConn men's commit and when Omar was visiting campus over the weekend, Sierra was also at UConn and met with members of the UConn coaching staff (although head coach Geno Auriemma was in Europe with the U.S. national team).

Omar Calhoun Sr., the father of both Omar and Sierra, made his opinion pretty clear of whether he'd like to see both Omar and Sierra play at UConn.

“Absolutely. That’s the goal,” said Omar Calhoun Sr.

He was uncertain if they'd be returning on Friday for the First Night festivities. Currently, the only UConn women's recruits confirmed for Friday night are Bolingbrook (Ill.) High senior forward and UConn commit Morgan Tuck and Spring Valley (S.C.) High senior forward Xylina McDaniel, the only uncommitted senior still on UConn's recruiting radar. There is a report that Taya Reimer, a 6-foot-3 junior out of Hamilton Southeastern High in Fishers, Ind., is planning to be at UConn for First Night and UConn's first official practice.

If you want to read more from the elder Omar Calhoun, check out David's blog entry

Labels: , , ,

Three Huskies on Wooden Award watch list

UConn's Stefanie Dolson, Tiffany Hayes and Bria Hartley were among 30 players named as preseason candidates for the Wooden Award.

Plenty of famiar names on the list including's Stanford's Nneka Ogwumike, Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame and Baylor's Brittney Griner.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

All times set for UConn schedule

UConn now has all the times filled in on the schedule on its site (Villanova was the last one to be confirmed) so start planning accordingly.

2011-12 UConn schedule
(Home games at Gampel Pavilion unless noted)

Nov. 3 Assumption (exhibition), 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 9 Pace (exhibition), XL Center, 7 p.m.
Nov. 13 Holy Cross, 2 p.m.
Nov. 15 Pacific. 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 21 Stanford (XL Center), 7 p.m. ESPNU
World Vision Classic (at Gampel)
Nov. 25 vs. Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 26 vs. Fairleigh Dickinson, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 27 vs. Dayton, 4:30 p.m.

Nov. 30 Towson (XL Center), 7 p.m.
Dec. 6 Texas A&M Jimmy V Classic at XL Center 7 p.m. ESPN2
Dec. 9 at Seton Hall, 7 p.m.
Dec. 18 at Baylor 8:30 p.m. ESPN
Dec. 21 at College of Charleston, 7 p.m. Kresse Arena
Dec. 29 vs. Fairfield , 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 4 West Virginia (XL Center), 7 p.m.
Jan. 7 at Notre Dame 4 p.m. CBS
Jan. 10 Providence (XL Center), 7 p.m.
Jan. 14 at Villanova 2 p.m.
Jan. 16 North Carolina 7 p.m. ESPN2
Jan. 19 Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 21 at DePaul 8 p.m.
Jan. 25 at Syracuse, 7 p.m.
Jan. 28 South Florida (XL Center), 1 p.m.
Jan. 30 at Duke 7 p.m. ESPN2
Feb. 4 Rutgers 7 p.m.
Feb. 7 at Louisville 7 p.m. CBS-SN
Feb. 11 Georgetown 4 p.m. Big East TV (including SNY)
Feb. 13 at Oklahoma 9 p.m. ESPN2
Feb. 18 St. John's 7 p.m.
Feb. 21 at Pittsburgh 7 p.m.
Feb. 25 at Marquette 3 p.m.
Feb. 27 Notre Dame (XL Center) 9 p.m. ESPN2
Speaking of schedules, the listing of games on the Cicero North Syracuse (N.Y.) High School site lists the Northstars and UConn commit Breanna Stewart playing in the HoopHall Classic in Springfield, Mass. at 6 p.m. on Jan. 13. No opponent is listed and the official tournament site has yet to announce its game schedule. Tickets for the event will go on sale on Nov. 1

As hard as it is to believe, we are less than a week away from the first official practice of the 2011-12 season.

The season will kick off with the annual fan fest on Friday with UConn promising surprise appearances by UConn legends.

The event is free to the public and begins with a fan fest on Fairfield Way (right outside of Gampel). Doors open at 6 and the event is set to run from 7-8 p.m. As has become the custom, there won't be much basketball on display just a chance for the players to be introduced to the crowd, some dancing and skills competition.

U.S. ends European trip with a win

Cappie Pondexter and former UConn star Swin  Cash had 14 points each as the U.S. national team defeated Sopron 73-63 in the final game of its European tour.

Ex Huskies Tina Charles (12 points), Renee Montgomery (9) and Asjha Jones (6) also contributed to the victory as the U.S. ended up with a 3-2 record against European pro teams.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Tina Charles stars in U.S. loss

Former UConn star Tina Charles had 28 points but it wasn't enough as the U.S. lost to USK Prague in the fourth exhibition game the squad played in its European tour.

Another former Husky Swin Cash finished with 13 points as the U.S. fell to 2-2 on the tour. The U.S. wraps up the tour tomorrow against Euroleasing Sopron.

Labels: ,

Friday, October 07, 2011

Minnesota wins WNBA title

Seimone Augustus had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists to lead four players in double figures as the Minnesota Lynx defeated the Atlanta Dream 73-67 to clinch the franchise's first title.

Former UConn star Maya Moore finished with 15 points (on 6 of 9 shooting) and seven rebounds, Rebekkah Brunson had 13 points and 9 rebounds and Candice Wiggins had 10 points as Minnesota swept the best of five game series.

Moore and fellow UConn grad Charde Houston kept alive a streak as this is sixth straight season that the WNBA champion had at least one UConn grad on its roster.

Angel McCoughtry led Atlanta with 22 points.

Labels: ,

Link to ESPN3 for First Night coverage

For those not planning to be at Gampel Pavilion for first night festivities a week from today, ESPN's Kristie Chong provided the following link to coverage from the event at UConn.

The link will only be active 30 minutes before the start of the event so clicking it before 6:30 p.m. on the 14th will bring you to a different event

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

U.S. falls to Ros Casares

Despite 22 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks from Baylor rising junior Brittney Griner and a combined 23 points from former UConn stara Renee Montgomery and Swin Cash, the U.S. national team lost 80-76 to Ros Casares.

Montgomery finished with 12 points while Cash had 11 points and seven rebounds while Sophia Young had 12 points and six rebounds for the U.S., now 2-1 on its current European tour.

Ann Wauters led four players in double figures with 22 points for Ros Casares.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

ESPN will be at Gampel Pavilion for "First Night"

Mark Brown and Doris Burke will be at Gampel Pavilion on Oct. 14 as part of ESPN's coverage of "Midnight Madness."

ESPNU will kick off its coverage at 9 p.m. and will feature whiparound coverage with 11 basketball events nationally including the combined men's and women's fan fest at UConn.

Former Huskies Charles, Taurasi on All-WNBA squad

Former UConn stars Tina Charles of the Connecticut Sun and Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury were named to the All-WNBA first team along with league MVP Tamika Catchings of Indiana, Angel McCoughtry of Atlanta and Lindsay Whalen of Minnesota.

Charles earned a spot on the list of the WNBA's best five players for the first time after leading the league with an average of 11 rebounds per game while Taurasi was selected for the sixth time after winning her fifth league scoring championship with an average of 21.6 points per game.

Former UConn star Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm was named to the second team.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Swin Cash leads U.S. to title

Former UConn star Swin Cash had 17 points as the Geno Auriemma-coached U.S. national team defeated Ros Casares 78-68 to finish with title in four-team tournament in Naples, Italy.

Cash was named the tournament's MVP while former Huskies Renee Montgomery (16 points) and Tina Charles (15 points) also starred in the victory.

Labels: , , ,