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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

UConn hopes for different outcome in trip to Stanford

The last time UConn headed out to Maples Pavilion all the focus was on the Huskies' record 90-game winning streak. For the Stanford coaches and players, the main priority was shutting down Maya Moore.

It will be a different philosophy for Stanford this time around.

"It is different," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "Last year's team was different when we played them. Two years ago the focus was definitely Maya Moore. We went over basically every situatiuon that we could, where she catches the ball, what moves she wanted to make, how we were going to defend her. It wasn't all Maya Moore but a lot of it was her. This year's team, they do have a lot of weapons. Bria Hartley  is a returning All-American. Whether they start (Caroline) Doty or (Breanna) Stewart, they are both outstanding players, (Kelly) Faris is playing very very well. They do have a lot of weapons, they have great size, athleticism, versatility and they are very well coached. We are not focused on one player as much as we are focused on their system."

Five different UConn players have led the Huskies in scoring in the last five games and nine different Huskies have hit double digits in scoring this season with five of them scoring at least 20 points.

"We are a lot deeper this year, we play a lot more players and we have five players out on the court who can score," UConn junior guard Bria Hartley said. "It is going to be hard for a team to defend that because we are able to take care of the ball and get good shots. It forces you to guard everybody on it and you can't afford to overplay one person or leave this person open.

"I think we are going out there (knowing) we have a lot of people who can score and that it is going to be hard for teams to defend that and it also helps us defensively because we are able to press a lot more, we get fresh legs and people rotating in and out."

UConn could be a lift as freshman forward Morgan Tuck has practiced in the last two days and barring any setbacks with the bone bruise in her right knee, she could return to action after missing the last two games. Sophomore forward/center Kiah Stokes, who could have been asked to match up against the imposing Stanford front line, has not returned to practice as the stress reaction in her right shin will sideline her for the third straight game.

VanDerveer is cut from the same coaching cloth as Auriemma who loves the high-octane offensive style of game and said she doesn't intend on mucking things up in an attempt to slow down the Huskies.

"I think there is a part for physical play but not at the expense of seeing the speed, the athleticism and skills that we have," VanDerveer said. "We have never been a team that said we are going to try to beat you up, we are going to beat you with basketball our team is basically about basketball. It is really important that our key players are in the game and available. I don't know what styles other people play, I personally think the game has become too physical and doesn't highlight the speed and skill of female players that people are paying good money to come and see. Form my standpoint it is just a basketball game."

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