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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Holmes makes a major impression at McDonald's game

Time was running down as the East's once comfortable lead was on the verge of disappearing. It is the type of situation that turns an all-star like Wednesday night's McDonald's All-American Game into more of a real game than a showcase for the gathered masses.

It's always telling which players the coaches puts on the court down the stretch in these contests. Among those being entrusted with finishing out the game by East coach Anne Long of Spring Valley, S.C. (who some of you may remember as being the high school coach of former UConn recruiting target Xylina McDaniel) is Hillhouse's Bria Holmes.

The fact the Holmes' East squad won 79-78 on a tiebreaking free throw by Tennessee recruit Bashaara Graves with just .3 seconds remaining put the capper on a special experience for Holmes.

Holmes had 13 points, just one of three East players to score in double figures, as well as two rebounds and two steals. She played 22 minutes Graves was the only player for the East to see more playing time. Not a bad effort for the first Connecticut native to play in the McDonald's girls' game.

"I didn't know any of them (before arriving in Chicago) but we moved the ball around and it helped that I got on fire a little bit," Holmes said. "It kind of showed what Connecticut (is all about)

"At first I was a little nervous and then after a couple of shots I started to warm up and started to play my game of basketball. It is a great experience, I am going to remember this for the rest of my life
I am going to keep moving forward and keep playing basketball and trying my hardest, hard work and dedication. It means a whole lot and there has never been a girl who has done this before. I am first, it means a lot to me, it means a lot to my family, our coaches and everybody who supports me. I am just thankful that this day happened."

Although she did not get selected to play in Saturday's WBCA All-American Game in Denver like so many of the other players who played Wednesday night, Holmes said there is a chance she will head to the Final Four. One thing she is certain of is when she is leaving for West Virginia where she signed to play. That will happen on June 26.

"I am ready for college," Holmes said.

Holmes will join the Mountaineers with a championship pedigree as she won state titles in her first three years. The quest to make it 4 for 4 fell a bit short and Holmes took the defeat extremely hard.

"It took me about a week or so," Holmes said. "It really hurt because we got that far before all three years and we won. I just had to let it go after a while, I've got 3."

Finally I asked Holmes her opinion of her East teammate Breanna Stewart, the consensus national high school player of the year. Her answer was classic.

'She is a humble player and she has the game," Holmes said. "She can shoot the ball, she can dribble and drive to the rack. We went to a five-star camp together. She is like a rock star."
I spoke to Stewart and fellow UConn commits Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck and will be writing and blogging about them tomorrow. In stark contrast to two years ago when the people at McDonald's bent over backwards to provide as much access as I could have hoped for, that was not the case today so my time was a little limited with Tuck and Stewart but there's still some pretty good stuff from the three of them especially a little playful trash talking between Jefferson and Stewart as the starters waited for the television timeout to expire so the game could be started.

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Anonymous Lorena Wood said...

Jim, I watched the McD AA game on ESPNU. I was really impressed with Bria Holmes. WV is lucky to have her. Every year it is interesting to see some players take the game serious, some want to have fun, and some defer to others. Hope that Stewart's game, Tuck's game, and Jefferson's game transfers up to UConn level quicker and more efficient than Stokes and Banks.

7:40 AM 

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