Breanna Stewart already a go-to player for UConn
The lasting image from the hour or so of practice I was able to witness was how much time UConn coach Geno Auriemma spent running plays through freshman Breanna Stewart.
I have been fortunate enough to have seen some special freshmen arrive on the scene in the years I have been covering the Huskies but don't recall seeing Auriemma specifically running the offense through a freshman this early in the process. Yet there he was instructing Stewart what to do when there was a double team and when to look for a cutting teammate, when she had the chance to spot up and shoot a jumper in the lane or simply take her man off the dribble.
“(In the preseason finale against Holy Family) we said ‘look, the next five possessions we are going to screen for Breanna and pass it to her,” Auriemma said. “We scored like five straight times. Nobody ever accused our coaching staff of being asleep at the wheel so when we need a couple of buckets, we know exactly where we are going. She is pretty comfortable with it. She is pretty good with the ball; she knows what to do with it. The big thing with Breanna is we keep on her about being aggressive. The more she stays aggressive, the more plays she makes. The more plays she makes, the more we go to her. She is a little too unselfish. Right now she is a little reluctant to do as much as I think she can do but in time she will get the idea that nobody minds if every time she is open she shoots it.”
UConn was working hard on some defensive drills for a large portion of the practice we were privy to which is hardly a surprise but I saw a drill I don't recall seeing before.
He spread three male practice players and Heather Buck at spots along the 3-point arc and had four of his players line up one right beside the other in the paint. Then he would pick out which player who would whip the ball to. The four defenders would have to react quickly enough to not only attempt to get out on the 3-point shooter (which wasn't possible due to how rapidly Auriemma delivered the pass) but also who to block out so they could get the rebound. It took a few times but gradually the Huskies began to adapt and make the right decisions.
MCCALL TO ANNOUNCE HER DECISION TONIGHT
From what I am hearing, the people around UConn recruiting target Erica McCall are keeping news of her college of choice to themselves until McCall announces whether she will be attending UConn, Stanford or UCLA tonight around 10 p.m.
It will be interesting to see if word leaks out in the next 12 hours but my guess is it likely will not until it is just before she makes the decision. I've heard that she doesn't even plan on telling the college coaches or her decision until she is ready to make it known at a party she is hosting in her Bakersfield, Calif. home.