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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hartley looks to build on strong finish against Hoyas

There might not be a person more stunned by Bria Hartley's drop in on-court confidence than Hartley herself.

Whether it was during her days at North Babylon (N.Y.) High, the New York AAU powerhouse Exodus program or during her first two seasons at UConn, Hartley has always played with a certain amount of swagger.

It was there when Hartley returned to campus after helping the U.S. win the FIBA 3x3 World Championship gold medal in August. But missing more than a month of preseason practice and the first two regular-season games due to a sprained ankle she suffered in that tournament set Hartley back more than she could ever imagined.

Things were bad enough in late December that UConn coach Geno Auriemma didn't even bother playing her in the second half  over Oregon.

The benching didn't seem to do the trick as, outside perhaps three plays, she was uncharacteristic quiet in a loss to Notre Dame. Just when Hartley thought things couldn't get any worse, her first-half performance against Georgetown proved her wrong as she missed six of her seven first-half shots including all six 3-pointers and also had three turnovers in 15 minutes including two in the first 53 seconds of the game.

Then, just as quickly, Hartley came out in the second half and resembled the player who earned All-American honors as a sophomore.

Just 39 seconds after hitting one free throw before missing the second Hartley drained three 3-pointers in a span of 1:22. She would finish with 12 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in a 75-48 win by the Huskies. Now she looks to build on that second-half performance when UConn plays at Marquette tomorrow.

Hartley has had strong efforts this season only to struggle in the next one so she is not ready to proclaim she is all the way back.

"You look at the game like Oakland and you will see a good game for me individually and it didn't all come back right away," Hartley said. "It is just something I have to continue to work on."

So when will she know she is back?

"A few good games and it starts in practice, get a few good practices. Those days will turn into weeks, the weeks into months so that is what you want to do.

"I know I have potential to be a better player than I have been and it is trying to be more consistent."

The Notre Dame game was especially trying for Hartley because she knows a play here or one there and perhaps the Huskies would not have suffered another loss at the hands of the Fighting Irish.

"There were a lot of plays that I should have made, a lot of plays I didn't make in the game," Hartley said. "It is frustrating. You don't want to look at film and be disappointed in yourself. When we went over the film there was a lot of disappointment, the team was disappointed in me, the coaches and I was disappointed in myself. I don't want to have that feeling again so I have to make sure I go out there get things done little by little."

Hartley's teammates have seen what she can do when she is at the top of her game and are trying to help her in any way possible.

"I think she has got to get back to where she was mentally last year," UConn sophomore forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis said. "She has been out a lot this season. She has missed a lot of practices, her ankle is messed up. When you are a good player like Bria you want to come back and automatically do all the things you can do before you can hurt and it doesn't work like that, it is a gradual process, you have to give it time and I think when she relaxes and lets the game come to her she will be a lot better."

Hartley said her ankle healthy and it is more of a confidence issue than anything bothering her physically.

"Physically I am fine," Hartley said. "I don't think I am in the best shape (after missing a month of practice). I had it at one point so I have to be able to get it back. It will come, I just have to not think too much and just go out there and work at it.

"It is difficult. I feel like my confidence was very high coming into the season. I felt like I was in the best shape of my life and I don't feel like I am at that point right now so I have to take extra steps, get extra workouts and keep working on things and make sure I have my teammates pushing me and keep working on. I need to improve on going to the basket, finishing around the rim and work on my defense."

SNY REPORTS STRONG RATINGS FOR GEORGETOWN GAME
SNY is reporting that Wednesday night's game against Georgetown drew a household rating of 8.52, the highest of the nine UConn women's games it has televised.

Here is the release from SNY:

On the heels of UConn’s victory over Georgetown, SNY, the official television home of the UConn Huskies Women’s basketball program, today announced that the game averaged an 8.52 household rating – the network’s highest rating of the season.  This ratings benchmark also signifies the highest household rating in nearly two years for the program in the Hartford-New Haven DMA (UConn-Syracuse, 9.1 household rating on 2-28-11).  In addition, the game ranked as the #1 program in its time period – beating all competitive sports programming airing in the market – including ESPN’s NBA Double Header.  UConn-Georgetown on SNY also topped all network prime time series last night in the Hartford-New Haven DMA – except ABC’s Modern Family (9.05 household rating).

SNY’s pre-game and post- game coverage – featuring Kara Wolters and host Gary Apple – also posted strong household ratings in the Hartford-New Haven DMA for last night’s contest.  The network’s pre-game show delivered a 3.61 HH Rating (+56% over the 2.32 STD average household rating).  The Post-Game show presented by People’s United Bank delivered a 2.90 HH Rating (+5% over the 2.76 STD average household rating).   

In its inaugural season carrying the UConn Huskies Women’s basketball program, SNY has unveiled an unprecedented 340+ hours of exclusive programming – including comprehensive pre-game, half-time and post-game shows as well as its critically acclaimed Huskies All- Access Show.  As a result, SNY has helped the UConn Huskies Women’s basketball program grow significantly in popularity as the team’s television household ratings have increased +18% thru SNY’s first nine games in the Hartford-New Haven DMA. 

On Saturday, January 12th, SNY will feature an UConn basketball doubleheader with the Men’s team playing Notre Dame at 2:00pm – followed by the UConn Women’s basketball team facing Marquette at 4:00pm.





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