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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Freshmen deliver for Huskies

It hasn't always been the smoothest of rides for the highly-touted UConn freshman class but it certainly does appear they have figured it out just in the nick of time.

They obviously had a major impact on Saturday's 76-50 victory over Maryland combining for 35 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and four blocked shots. The 35 points were the fourth most for a Connecticut freshman class in the NCAA tournament and most since Ann Strother, Barbara Turner and Willnett Crockett combined for 38 in the 2003 NCAA opener. THe trio of Tamika Williams (19), Asjha Jones (12) and Swin Cash (8) combined for 39 points versus Xavier in 1999 and in a 1994 loss to North Carolina, Kara Wolters had 23 of the 36 points scored by UConn's freshmen.

"I think definitely this is our time, we want to make sure our teammates can rely on us and we can go out and make a difference on the court," Stewart said.

Stewart started against Maryland as she did against Vanderbilt while Jefferson's strong first half earned her the starting nod for the second half and Tuck was her normal reliable self in a reserve role.

"They didn't play like freshmen at all, they came out in the second half, were confident and were ready to play and did what they needed to do," UConn junior center Stefanie Dolsoin said. "Moriah came out and did
what great point guards do, Breanna Stewart came out and got rebounds, blocks while Tuck , they all played great and I am proud of them."

UConn coach Geno Auriemma admitted that there were times this season when he wondered if the freshman would ever come around after an up and down season for the trio.

"Shea has been unbelievably relentless on Moriah on what we have to do," Auriemma said. "CD and Marisa have been relentless on Stewie and Morgan and some days you look up in the sky and why aren't we making any progress? Why can't I get through to these guys and all of a sudden a night like tonight makes it all your hard work pay off and you feel  a real sense of accomplishment that 'wow, we helped these guys get to this point.'"

While Geno Auriemma always wants to be there backing his players when he feels it is appropriate, he apologized to the team after getting a technical with 7.5 seconds left in the first half after a non-call on a Kelly Faris layup attempt.

Alyssa Thomas made one of the two free throws and then Tianna Hawkins made a jumper in what proved to be a five-point swing and allowed Maryland to go into halftime only down by nine.

Auriemma was asked after the game what was going through his mind as he was whistled for the T.

"Obviously nothing," Auriemma said. "I thought the call was unbelievable. Those two free throws that Kelly makes puts us by (14) so you don't get the two free throws and I give them four points (actually three), there wasn't anything going through my head when I got the technical. After the technical, I am 59 years old and you are just as stupid as you are when you are 29. You are just a (dummy). I felt like a 12 year who got caught doing something they weren't supposed to do. I told the players that there is no excuse for that."

It did not come back to bite Auriemma as the Huskies opened the second half by scoring the first nine points.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dolson was in obvious pain with injuries to both lower legs. And the big girl still had 10 rebounds, 9 points, 2 blocks, 2 steals in 26 scattered minutes. And a few laughs to boot. Dolson proved you can produce when injured and in pain. KML also proved that earlier this season. So I gotta believe there was more to Hartley’s season long funk than just an ankle issue. She has been much more mobile this season than Dolson was today.

10:25 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kentucky can defeat UConn even on a CT court. Huskies have trouble handling the ball against pressure. Hartley panics at the site of pressure. Geno has yanked Jefferson on many occassions. Doty is too hampered to deal with Wildcat pressure. One top seed is out. Notre Dame will choked tomorrow. Geno knows the Elite Eight (regional final) is the most difficult game of the tournament. UConn coaching staff is not getting much sleep right now. They know it's possible UConn commits 20+ turnovers on Monday night.

2:01 AM 

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