Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

UConn getting close to full health

There is a certain amount of irony reporting the fact that coming off one of the most physical games of the season, the UConn women's basketball team is close to having its full roster of players available.

Bria Hartley, who played 33 minutes just one day after being upgraded from doubtful to probable due to a sprained ankle, shared game scoring honors in Tuesday's 72-58 win over Louisville with 16 points. Following the game UConn coach Geno Auriemma said that freshman forward Breanna Stewart could have played as well even though she was listed as doubtful.

Hartley, whop also had seven rebounds, looked pretty agile and close to 100 percent racing up and down the court and Auriemma thought she was healthy enough to draw the first dibs on guarding Louisville's star guard Shoni Schimmel.

"(She) just got out there and got moving because if you stand around it kind of gets stiff so it was better that I was out there running around," Hartley said. "I did a good job during the warmup getting myself ready."

Speaking of good jobs, Auriemma credited athletic trainer Rosemary Ragle for getting players ready before it was thought they could return.

That is the case with Stewart. Ragle actually brought some crutches for Stewart on the trip to Marquette and now she seems as if she will able to play against Syracuse (her hometown school) on Saturday.

"She came along a lot faster than we initially thought when she first got hurt," Auriemma said. "Doc (Tom) Trojian said she might not be ready to play until Monday in the Duke game and then he also said unless Rosemary does what she normally does and fix these guys a lot sooner than people think. That is what she did. She looks good and actually could have played tonight if we had to play her but not with the games on Saturday and Monday so I am expecting her fully be to ready to go on Saturday."

There was some concern that Stewart's ankle injury was not going to be a couple of day recovery process.

"Anytime something like that happens when you roll your ankle it is up to the person getting better and how quickly they get better sometimes," Auriemma said. "Breanna Stewart wants to play and she probably made life miserable for Rosemary (Ragle) every day since the injury because she wants to play. I wouldn't be surprised if she was on the phone at 2 o'clock in the morning say 'what do I have to do' because she wants to be out on the floor because she is a great competitor."

Since Jeff Walz was hired at Louisville, there have been some competitive and entertaining games between the Cardinals and Huskies. Following Tuesday night's matchup, Auriemma left the door open for the teams to meet even after the Cardinals depart for the ACC which is not something he has done with other teams exiting the Big East.

"They bring out the best in us," Auriemma said. "Jeff brings out the best in the officials. It is pretty entertaining when we play Louisville. They are a tough group of kids, Jeff coaches that way. Since he has gotten the job he has had incredible success. I don't think he is overly crazy about not being in this league because there are so many story lines in the league we are in right now and he knows he is going to be losing some of that and so do we. It is a great place to go play, they are a good team to play and maybe we keep playing them down the road, who knows."

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