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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Chris Dailey dishes on Bria Hartley's unselfishness

Thanks to the folks associated with the Channel 3 Kids Camp for allowing me to take in today's Women Raising Awareness Philanthropically Luncheon I have a chance to update the good works of former UConn star Tina Charles.

I am working on a story schedule to run in tomorrow's edition of the Register about Charles being the annual event's honoree. UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey was there as the keynote speaker and the part of her 30-minute speech which was of the most interest to me came when she said junior guard Bria Hartley volunteered to come off the bench for the NCAA tournament during a meeting that Hartley and the rest of UConn's guards had with head coach Geno Auriemma.

I knew that Hartley accepted the role but was not aware that she was the one who actually volunteered to come off the bench.

I thought people might be interested in what Dailey had to say about Hartley's decision which Dailey believes was pivotal in the Huskies run to an eighth national title.


"I guess you guys know Geno and know his personality, there is no real roundabout way of him saying anything," Dailey said. "We had some real direct conversations with our players and the conversation that he talks about which I think was one of the turning points for us was he met with our guards for probably an hour or hour and a half and talked  with them about what we needed moving forward and how important their pay was going to be on whether we were going to have a chance to win a national championship. He had to get the guards to see what he saw and that we needed to have more from our guards and we needed to bring more off the bench and in doing that he had to ask Bria Hartley, actually she volunteered, to volunteer to come off the bench.

"Bria Hartley last year was an All-American as a sophomore when we went to the Final Four. There is was in this meeting, she had a difficult year because of injury, she didn't play the same way, she struggled and was up and down the whole year. In this meeting she volunteered to come off the bench and be that person that we need to give us more offense off the bench. I couldn't have been happier for Bria (after the national title game) because I think that says everything you need to know about her. She wants to win a national championship and she knew that was what she had to do, that was the role she had to fill and she was a big part of why we won the game. People like to point out Breanna Stewart and how she played but I am telling you that if Bria Hartley doesn't accept that role and doesn't realize that 'hey I want to win a national championship and this is my best chance to do it with my teammates and my teammates need' then we don't win the national championship this year regardless of how Breanna Stewart played. I was happiest for Bria. She is our most confident, most competitive (player). We were standing in the runway (the day before the national semifinal) and I looked at her and said 'this could be our last practice.' She said 'it won't be.' I said 'are you guaranteeing that?' She said 'yes.' I said 'all right.' I knew for three days that there was no way we were going to lose to Notre Dame because of the way our kids approached it and the way Bria approached it and the way people accepted their roles."

After heaping incredible praise on Hartley, she did the same for another veteran Husky - little-used senior forward/center Heather Buck. Dailey said she had a heart to heart with Buck before it was announced that she would return for her fifth season and needed an assurance that Buck would be able to handle a role similar to the one she had in her first three seasons. Buck said she was and other than one time early in preseason camp when Dailey had to remind Buck of the talk that they had, Dailey couldn't have been more impressed with the way Buck acted as the good and supportive teammate even though her minutes were limited. Dailey said one of the highlights for her in the title game was the steal and layup by Buck.

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3 Comments:

Blogger MikeMC said...

These are the stories that I love to read, regardless of the time of year because it details the character of the players that make up the great UCONN teams. Fans on the local blogs were brutal at times in their criticism of Kelly, Caroline, and Bria if they had a poor game. The players never deserve that and little do the fans know what is going on behind the scenes. Everyone suffered a little as Bria suffered during her up and down season. Thanks to Chris Dailey for putting it all in perspective and providing insight into the real Bria Hartley.

7:48 PM 
Blogger James Kerwin said...

Bria, poor Bira---that darn 3 on 3 games event. It cost her All American and almost cost UConn their 8 NC. She played good, not great, during the NCAA tourney. Against ND 10 turnovers all charged to Bria.

CD can say Stewart didn't win the ND game--true. But with out BS no victory.
Buck played her role well--got her 5th year for playing that role. Liked the layup in the NC.

I've looked back at old games from Kelly's freshman year--she was really really good.
Doty was too during Kelly's Frosh year.
With Bria as a 2 guard and MoJo as the point with Chong and Sam taking turns at 2 Uconn will have another great year. With Stewie and Steff, dead eyed KML, Banks, Stokes,
It will be a tough team to beat.

7:09 PM 
Anonymous Joe said...

It also brought a smile to my face when Heather Buck got her steal and layup during the championship game. Nice moment.

9:06 AM 

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