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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Rodgers get assist with record; Martin glad to be back

Apparently any backlash Villanova coach Harry Perretta might have gotten for playing a part in Nykesha Sales becoming UConn's all-time leading scorer 15 years ago has not stopped him from aiding an opponent's date with destiny.

When Georgetown's Sugar Rodgers checked out of Saturday's second-round Big East tournament game with 42 seconds, the Hoyas' bench was unaware that her 40 points was one shy of the single-game tournament record. So Perretta sent word to the Hoyas who promptly had her come back into the game with 24 seconds to play. However, the shot clock was off so Villanova could have run out the clock. That changed when Georgetown's Andrea White fouled Katherine Coyer with 23 seconds left. A second later, following Perretta's instructions, Rodgers was fouled by Coyer. Rodgers made both foul shots to break a tournament record which Miami's Frances Savage set in a 1992 game against Providence.

"First of all, I want to thank Harry," Georgetown coach Keith Brown said. "He is a class act. I had no idea and Harry's yelling and screaming at me trying to get my attention and I'm trying to figure out what he is yelling at me for."

Perretta had no second thoughts about letting Sales score the basket which allowed her to break Kerry Bascom's career scoring record at UConn after she suffered a season-ending injury back in 1998 and said he would do it again. He proved that it was not just idle chatter as he helped to orchestrate another record.

"I thought she deserved a shot at it," Perretta said. "She played so well, we fouled her and she had to go earn it at the foul line. If she had missed it I wasn't going to foul again. I told her she had one shot at it."

Rodgers, playing her final game at Georgetown, finished with 42 points.

"I think it means a lot," Rodgers said. "I've done a lot to get here. I'm about to cry. I want to thank the Big East, I want to thank Georgetown, I want to thank everybody for letting me participate in all of this.

"I am going to miss the competitiveness, every night it is a fight and every night we are competing at a high level. I am going to miss that part."

Anna Martin had seen some of her teammates deal with the devastation of a premature end to their senior seasons so when she anticipated 1-3 week recovery from a bone bruise in her knee stretched into a fourth and fifth week, she tried to put it all in perspective.

Well, after scoring 24 points (on 9 of 14 shooting) in DePaul's 77-69 win over Marquette in the second round of the Big East tournament, Martin seems to be rounding into top form just in the nick of time.

"I was really dying," Martin said. "My family was huge during that time, my teammates were huge and the coaches. I tried to be a coach on the sideline. We have a few young players so I tried to coach but also the past four years I have been here we have lost some seniors and they haven't even had a chance to have their senior year so every time I felt bad for myself or got down I just thought about them and how they didn't get to have a Senior Night or have a postseason so that really helps.
"Being out for five or six weeks was really tough just from my conditioning point of view so I feel like I was a little hesitant but I felt like the team did a great job on their energy and getting me the ball. I knew this was a game we had to win and I was fired up."

Among the eight games Martin missed this season was a 91-44 loss to UConn on Feb. 10. Thanks to the win over Marquette, she will get a chance to play against the Huskies one last time.

"The reason I came to DePaul was to play the best," Martin said. "They are really talented and I am excited as Coach (Doug Bruno) said for our team to go out and compete."

UConn Class of 2014 recruiting target Kathryn Westbeld had 13 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three steals to lead her Fairmont squad to a 58-46 win over Centerville to avenge her team's only loss of the season (which was also one of two games UConn coach Geno Auriemma saw her play) and clinch a spot in the Division I Final Four in Ohio.

Now Westbeld and Fairmont will face Notre Dame out of Toledo in the state semifinals Friday at Ohio State.

Southern Methodist, which will be joining the yet to be named conference UConn will be a part of next season, earned the top seed in the Conference USA Tournament while Tulane, which will join the conference built around the Big East football schools for the 2014-15 season, is seeded third and will also receive a first-round bye.

Houston and Central Florida, two other schools joining forces with UConn beginning in the 2013-14 season, open play in the Conference USA Tournament on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Memphis, the No. 7 seed, wraps up day one in the tournament by facing Southern Mississippi.


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