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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hartley breaks out of slump; Dolson said she's fine

In Bria Hartley's last three games she finished with a grand total of eight points in each contest. In Wednesday night's win over Oakland she passed that mark before the first television timeout.

Hartley hadn't scored more than 12 points in a game this season as she worked her way back following an offseason ankle injury. She had 19 of her season-high 21 points with 3:45 remaining in the first half.

"I just had to stay positive, stop thinking too much and stop stressing (out about) every little thing I did wrong," Hartley said.

Hartley opened the scoring with a 3-pointer from straight away, assisted on Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis' trey from almost the same spot, had a steal and a couple of free throws and two more steals resulted in two more layups to give Hartley nine points on a game-opening 14-0 run.

"It is always good when you hit your first shot and I was like 'all right, I should be OK for the rest of the game,'" Hartley said.

Stefanie Dolson crashed to the court with 13:56 left in the game half in obvious pain after rolling her left ankle. She got an ankle brace put on the ankle while on the bench but did not return to the game.

Dolson thought the injury was not a big deal.

I just had to stay positive , stop thinking too much and stop stressing (out about) every little thing I did wrong

"I am a big tree, I fall hard," Dolson said. "It is just a little tweak, I'll get some ice and Rosemary (Ragle, UConn's athletic trainer) will handle it."

For the first time in her young collegiate career, freshman Breanna Stewart came off the bench as UConn coach Geno Auriemma went with a smaller lineup.

Senior Caroline Doty got the start alongside normal regulars Kelly Faris, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Hartley and Dolson.

So why did Auriemma opt to start Doty over Stewart?

"Just a hunch that it would be better for Caroline, it would be better us in some respects and better for Breanna so I just took a hunch, took a guess and see what happens," Auriemma said. "We'll see. nothing is written in stone."

With 26 members of the cheerleading and spirit squads and pep band each holding a candle and joined in a circle by players and coaches during a 26-second moment of silence, UConn was able to pay tribute to the 20 students and six adults who lost their lives in Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

After the game Auriemma reflected on the emotional ceremony.

"I don't know if you could either be on the court or be in the stands, be a part of the ceremony and not be affected by it," Auriemma said. "That is something that the younger that you are, the more you are affected by it. I saw a picture in the paper this morning of that little kid on their face like it is the saddest day  of their live. It looked like he was 7 or 8 years old and I think they are still at an age where these things really, really hit home. It hasn't been easy on them - it really hasn't."

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