Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Starting five decision not an easy one

Unless they suddenly change the rules and allow UConn's Geno Auriemma to start six players, the Hall of Fame coach will have a decision to make once Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is cleared to return to action.

Auriemma admits that he has six players who he deems starters. When Bria Hartley missed the first two games due to a sprained ankle, he had no problems coming up with a starting five. He opted to bring Hartley off the bench for all three games in the Paradise Jam as a way of easing her back into the rotation. However, Hartley's days coming off the bench are numbered or as Auriemma put it "you don't have to be a rocket scientist (to know) that Bria Hartley is going to start."

"At some point I have to sit down with the coaches and have to make a decision," Auriemma said. "In my mind we have six starters, we have six guys who deserve to be starters. The only thing that would affect any of them would be starting. The minutes are not going to be affected one way or the other."

Kelly Faris, Hartley, Mosqueda-Lewis and Stefanie Dolson are locks to start leaving him to pick between senior guard Caroline Doty and freshman forward Breanna Stewart. Auriemma's track record would make one to lean towards loyalty and start Doty even though Stewart has been spectacular starting in place of Hartley. There is also the risk of Doty's surgically-repaired left knee tightening up if she opens the first and second half on the bench. Of course none of this matters at the current time since a concussion suffered in Saturday's win over Purdue will prevent Mosqueda-Lewis on the bench tonight. With games against Maryland and Penn State coming up next week it will be worth watching to see which way Auriemma goes with his starting five.

The most intriguing sidebar from tonight's game between UConn and Colgate is that UConn president Susan Herbst's brother Jeffrey is Colgate's president. Of course Auriemma brought up that subject as only he could during his time with the media on Tuesday.

"It wasn't until after the fact (he was aware) it was going to be a Herbst vs. Herbst WWE Smackdown with Susan the president here and her brother the president at Colgate. I don't know whether that is going to be the halftime entertainment tomorrow but I have gotten more than a few memos from our fearless leader about what she wants the score to be. It is going to be interesting. You never know, Susan might leave and he might become the next president."

So when will Auriemma be making his way up to Colgate's campus in Hamilton, N.Y.?
"Unless I am going to Canada I don't know I will be going to Hamilton N.Y." Auriemma said. (Or) go to the baseball Hall of Fame maybe taste some of the Finger Lakes wine."

It's been a decade since UConn opened the season playing four of its first five games outside the state of Connecticut. The game at Texas A&M was followed by three games in three games at the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Auriemma didn't think it mattered one way or the other the location of the early games.

"I never know what to make out that," Auriemma said. "Sometimes you start out at home and you play 10 games at home or something like that, you win all 10 and the kids feel great, they get a lot of confidence and then you go on the road and you play well. Sometimes you start out on the road and you play well. I think it all has to do with what kind of team you have, what kind of kids you have. I don't think with this team is will matter one way or the other. I think it was good that we were on the road but I don't think it would have mattered if we were at home or on the road, this group would probably have reacted the same."


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