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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A true team effort for Huskies

There have been times this season when one player would have the weight of the world placed on them. Whether it was Bria Hartley scoring 25 points in the losses at Baylor and Notre Dame or watching Tiffany Hayes post games of 35 and 33 points, it seemed like a little bit of a different way for the Huskies to play.

However, in Monday's 61-45 win at Duke, it was truly a case of seven players all contributing to a winning effort.

Stefanie Dolson dominated early, scoring the Huskies first six points before foul trouble limited her to 13 minutes. Tiffany Hayes a stretch with five points and an assist during an 8-2 run which gave the Huskies a lead it would never relinquish. Kiah Stokes ripped down 12 rebounds and five blocks, Caroline Doty, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Bria Hartley took turns draining clutch shots in the second half and Kelly Faris also hit an important 3-pointer.

"That is where teams kind of grow a little bit is when you go on the road against a really good team on their court," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "You kind of grow up as an individual because you get to make tough shots, you make plays that mean something, you grow as a team because the last time anybody beat these guys here was us. It is not an easy place to win and I think we grew up as a team tonight and hopefully that gives us confidence going forward. That is why we play these games. Some teams say 'well maybe we don't want to play those games in the Big East part of your schedule but you play these games because they are great challenges."
Auriemma was at his story telling best when asked about what happened to UConn senior guard Tiffany Hayes, who fell hard to the floor in the first half and did not return until 12:45 remained in the game.

"You either get up and keep playing or you lay down and you are coming out, that is all there is to it," Auriemma said. "None of this crap that a kid lays there for five minutes and you play the next 25 like nothing happened. You are either hurt or you are not. When she stayed down, I knew something happened. When she came out, she didn't look good. That is why we didn't start her in the second half because Rosemary (Ragle, UConn's trainer) wanted to take her down there (to the locker room) and put her though that whole test that trainers have these kids when they get hit in the head. We were prepared to play in the second half (without Hayes) if we had to. When I came upstairs for the second half, I didn't think she was going to play in the second half. As soon as they told me, Bryan (Enterline) came over and said whoever you sub in is going to shoot the free throws, I couldn't wait to get Stefanie (Dolson) in. That took about three seconds."

This game was the first of the four-year deal between the teams as UConn will return to Duke during the 2012-13 season while UConn will host the Blue Devils next season and in the 2014-15 season.

New York powerhouse Christ the King has been kind to the Huskies over the years as All-Americans Sue Bird and Tina Charles both played their ball for the Middle Village, N.Y. squad.

While new recruiting target Saniya Chong doesn't play for Christ the King, former Royals head coach Vince Cannizzaro is said to have been the one to tip off the UConn coaching staff to the talents of the high-scoring junior guard at Ossising (N.Y.).

Assistant coach Shea Ralph is planning to check out Chong's game tomorrow while Marisa Moseley will be boarding a flight to California to do some recruiting including checking out UConn recruiting target Karlie Samuelson out of Edison (Calif.) High.


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