Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Starting a freshman over a senior a difficult decision for Geno

Over the course of his Hall of Fame career at UConn, Geno Auriemma has been consistent in staying with his veteran returning starters and making his latest freshman phenom wait their turn. That is what makes the decision to start freshman Breanna Stewart over senior Caroline Doty such a difficult decision for Auriemma.

Doty has battled back through a series of knee injuries and Auriemma said that the fifth-year senior is playing as well now as she has probably dating back to her sophomore season. However, Auriemma realizes that the Huskies' lack of size impacted their ability to win a national title last season. So Auriemma said that he is planning to go with the 6-4 Stewart and will bring Doty off the bench.

"It is not something I would want to do but it is probably what I have to do and Caroline knows that," Auriemma said. "She knows I don't want to do it but it is something I have to do at this point. We came up short last year because we weren't big enough. There is a practical side to it too. When you have Caroline and Bria in the game at the same time and you sub one of them out, you are not necessarily subbing in somebody who has a lot of college experience so you are getting different but you are not necessarily getting better. In Caroline's case, if you can get her on the court in the first TV timeout in some ways you are getting a lot better because you have another experienced ball handler, another experienced guard."

With a sprained ankle sidelining Bria Hartley for the first two games and then having her come off the bench for the three games in the Paradise Jam and then Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis missing the Colgate game with a concussion, Auriemma didn't have to make the decision on which of six players he deems worthy of being starters get the call. Now with a healthy team, he has to sit somebody.

"The way it looks right now Caroline is coming off the bench but that could change I guess but I don't think it will," Auriemma said. "Caroline hasn't done anything to warrant not starting but I think our players understand that we have six starters. We've got six legitimate starters right now on our team."

One issue with not starting Doty, who has started 98 of the 99 games she has played for the Huskies, is that her surgically-repaired knee could stiffen up if she sits at the beginning of the first and second half.

"We are going to have to work through it and monitor it and see how she is doing, see how she handles it. In a perfect world you wouldn't have to worry about when you play her, how many minutes you play her.

"Ideally you'd like to get her into the game as soon as possible but we are going to have to work through that and figure that out as well. Right now having Caroline on the floor is really, really good for us. She really is playing great. This is the best I have seen her look since her sophomore year."


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