Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Huskies looking foward to reunion with former coach

Jen Rizzotti was not about to take any credit for the success that Stefanie Dolson, Bria Hartley, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck are experiencing at UConn.

However, they all believe their time playing for the former UConn All-American guard on the U.S. junior natinal teams was an invaluable precursor to facing a demanding taskmaster like Geno Auriemma at UConn.

Look for some pleasantries to be exchanged when the Huskies meet up with Rizzotti, whose Hartford Hawks host second-ranked UConn tomorrow at 1 p.m.

"I am excited to play her (team), I am excited to see her," Dolson said.

Dolson and Hartley played on the U-18 team back in 2010 which won the FIBA Americas U18 title and then the U-19 the following year when they were joined by Mosqueda-Lewis, Stewart and Tuck on the FIBA U19 World Championship squad.

"It is going to be nice playing her again," Hartley said. "I think she helped me a lot. She was tough on me from the beginning my freshman year when I came here and then the next year. She expected a lot out of me and it was the same when I came here. It challenged me in different ways."

Rizzotti is looking forward to seeing the five tomorrow (although Tuck's knee injury is expected to sideline her for the second straight game).

"I don't know if I have anything to do with their emergence but it is kind of fun to think I was there at the beginning and to see their growth, even the difference between Stefanie and Bria from the year prior and the year after when I had them after a year at UConn, it was great to see their maturity and the way they were as leaders," Rizzotti said. "Even as young players they were older on our team so they really stepped up and I love their personalities, they are good kids. Breanna Stewart is one of the nicest kids, you would never know that she gets the attention that she does. Morgan Tuck, she was probably the easiest of any of them to coach. She was like a hard worker, a great attitude. It will be fun. 

"Once the game starts I don't really think about my opponent but I am always cheering for them. They are great because of what is inside of them. They go to UConn because they want to be even better and that is what drives them. It is like a present for me to be able to coach kids who are already so driven. I don't know if I can say I had anything to do with their success but I am happy to be a part of their past and it will be nice to see them on Saturday." 

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