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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

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 ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE
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
(Gampel)
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.)

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