Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

New summer practice rules won't alter UConn's routine

One of the tweaks in an attempt to improve the quality of the women's basketball game, the NCAA will allow coaches to conduct individual workouts during the summer as they permitted once school starts for a few years.

While many programs will take advantage of the summer months to get a head start on the 2013-14 season, don't expect UConn to follow suit.

Earlier this month UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey gave her thoughts on the subject after playing in the Travelers Championship Celebrity Pro-Am.

"I think it could backfire," Dailey said. "I like them to listen to us and it is a long year (even) if you start from September to April, I think the break is good for both but I think it is a fine balance."

With five of UConn's returning players playing in either the World University Games and FIBA U19 World Championship for Women and two more recovering from injuries, there aren't too many players for UConn coaches to work with even if they wanted to start before September but even if that were the case, it's pretty clear that UConn is just fine allowing its players to use to summer to recharge their batteries and the individual workouts can wait until September.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Geno Auriemma, Tina Charles nominated for ESPYs

ESPY award nominations were announced earlier today and UConn head coach Geno Auriemma is up for the Best Coach/Manager and Tina Charles is a candidate for the Best WNBA Player.

Auriemma is one of five nominees as the other candidates are Bruce Arians, who led the Indianapolis Colts to the NFL playoffs as an interim head coach, John Dankowski, who led the Duke men's lacrosse team to its second national title in the last four years, Rick Pitino, who coached the Louisville men's basketball team to the national title and Erik Spoelstra, who led the Miami Heat to a second straight NBA title.

Charles, the 2012 WNBA Most Valuable Player, is joined as nominees by Tamika Catchings of Indiana, Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry, Candace Parker of Los Angeles and Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen.

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Kiah Stokes back on the court

UConn rising junior forward/center Kiah Stokes is taking advantage of her time back home in Iowa to work on her game.

According to a story in today's Daily Iowan, Stokes had 17 points and 15 rebounds playing in the Game Time League, a summer league based in North Liberty, Iowa.

“Working out on your own is one thing, but playing good 5-on-5 is way different,” Stokes said. “I’m trying to get my confidence back, and ultimately get more minutes up at UConn, and you got to start somewhere.”

The league began play on June 20 and will hold its championship game on July 25. With so many UConn players taking part in USA Basketball competitions this summer, most of the Huskies decided to enroll in classes in May and then return to summer in late July which enables Stokes to play in the summer league to shake some of the rust off.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Trip down memory lane for Kayla Pedersen

Before Kayla Pedersen made her Connecticut Sun debut in Sunday's 78-77 loss to Atlanta, the newly-acquired forward spent a few minutes speaking with the media. Naturally, I couldn't help but ask the former Stanford All-American about her experiences squaring off against UConn.

Pedersen had some great memories to fall back on. As a freshman she hit a crucial 3-point with 2:18 left in the 2008 national semifinal to give the Cardinal a 74-66 lead in a game they would win 82-73 in the first of three straight meetings in the Final Four between the rivals. Then she had eight points and 11 rebounds in the historic 71-57 victory on Dec. 30, 2010 as Stanford snapped UConn's NCAA Division I basketball record 90-game winning streak.

"The rivalry was one of my favorites," Pedersen said. "We had two really competitive teams that really didn't like each other, I think. We were always playing against each other but I think we had such a respect. It was one of my favorite rivalries, one of my favorite Final Four games and we played them in December every year so those were some really good times."


Date announced for Penn State game

Penn State released its non-conference schedule and the Lady Lions will host UConn on Nov. 17 at a time to be announced..

It will the first time UConn plays Penn State as a true road team since losing 98-58 on Jan. 8, 1983 although UConn did beat Coppin State and Virginia Tech at a subregional held at the Bryce Jordan Center in 2006.

It's the third date for a game I've heard of so far as UConn will open the season by hosting Hartford and will play at Duke on Dec.17. It's looking like the Stanford game will be the second game of the season likely a couple days after the Hartford contest. Speaking of Hartford, Jen Rizzotti's Hawks will play at Penn State on Dec. 29.

Connecticut Sun draft picks shine at EuroBasket

The first two rounds are in the books at the EuroBasket Championships and three of the top 14 scorers are players who were drafted by the Connecticut Sun.

Johannah Leedham, a third-round pick of the Sun in 2010 who attending Connecticut's training camp and was one of the last players cut, finished ranked third in scoring with an average of 16.8 points, 7.5 rebounds,  a tournament-leading 4.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game although it wasn't enough to help Great Britain advance in the tournament. Despite finishing with the same 2-3 record as the Czech Republic, Great Britain lost the tiebreaker and was eliminated after pool play.

Alba Torrens, selected in the third round in 2009, is eighth in scoring with an average of 14.2 points per game as Spain went 6-0 in pool play to set up a showdown with the Czech Republic tomorrow in the quarterfinals..

Sandrine Gruda, taken by the Sun in the first round of the 2007 draft, averaged 12 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals as France went 6-0 in pool play and will meet Sweden in the quarterfinals.

The Sun still own the rights to Torrens and Gruda but Leedham, a former star at Cheshire Academy, is free to sign with any WNBA team.

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10-second backcourt rule officially in for upcoming season

The NCAA announced that the 10-second backcourt rule has been officially implemented for the upcoming season.

It has been a long fight for coaches to get the rule put in for the women's college game. In the past teams could waste as much of the 30-second shot clock in the backcourt as they wanted to. The belief is this could increase the tempo the game is played at.

There has been some tweaking of which plays can be reviewed with out of bounds possession calls now among those which can be looked at by officials.

Swin Cash to appear in ESPN's "Body" Issue

ESPN announced that former UConn star Swin Cash is one of 21 athletes who will appear in ESPN The Magazine's "The Body Issue" which hits the newsstands on July 12.

Cash, a member of two national championship teams at UConn, is in the midst of her 13th WNBA season as she is averaging 8.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2 assists per game for the Chicago Sky.

New York Mets pitchers Matt Harvey, a former Fitch High star, and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick are among the others who will appear in the fifth annual "The Body Issue."


Monday, June 24, 2013

Geno proud of former player's unselfish act

Geno Auriemma couldn't help but feel a little bit like a proud father when he heard about what former UConn guard Courtney Gaine was about to do to help out a friend in need,

Former UConn baseball player Mike Galati's liver was failing and doctors surmised that if he did not have a liver replacement, he might not be able to survive more than a year.

UConn baseball coach Jim Penders, a former teammate of Galati's, offered to donate part of his liver to help save Galati's life. However, Penders found out that he was not a match. As it turned out, another former UConn classmate was not only a match but willing to step forward.

Gaine, who played for Auriemma from 1995-1999, donated her liver to Galati.

"Mike was a great friend of ours, a great friend of the program and when I read about what Jim Penders was trying to do and have Courtney be in the position to help knowing that they have been good friends through college, it is a small world. It is funny how things evolve. I am thrilled for them and thrilled for Mike."


Geno Auriemma: Aaron Hernandez situation "is just sad"

Geno Auriemma spent some time with the media before the start of his annual golf tournament at the Hartford Golf Club and addressed a variety of topics, However, none were as timely as his reaction to the situation New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is involved in.

Hernandez was one of the players on the AAU team Auriemma coached and he always spoke very highly of Hernandez and was thrilled to see him emerge into an impact player in the NFL.

Auriemma admitted he doesn't have much contact with Hernandez these days but like so many around these parts, he is shocked that Hernandez's name has been linked to a homicide investigation.

"Anytime you see anybody that you know that you've had any kind of relationship go through a situation like he is in right now you can't helped but be shocked about it," Auriemma said.

"It is just sad, no matter how it comes out it is sad."

Auriemma has nothing but positive memories of coaching Hernandez and the rest of the team which included his son Michael.

"He was 16, when his dad was around all of the time, his mom was around all of the time, he was friends with all the guys on the team," Auriemma said. "For me it was easy but then again I didn't go home with him, I just saw him for a couple of hours a week when we were practicing and on the weekends when we had trips so it is not like I knew him like I knew my son

"The Aaron I knew was 16/17 and (now) Aaron is 24 - two entirely different people as anybody else would be."

Auriemma admitted that it is every coach's worst nightmare to have players deal with serious off the field issues.

"I guess that is one of the differences between pros and college," Auriemma said. "If you were coaching in college and one of your players was involved in a situation like that, the college coach would immediately be held responsible, you and your program would be almost as responsible as the individual who was involved in that situation but in the pros it is all on you. That is why it is so hard when you are coaching and you are responsible for bringing kids up to campus, you have 17 year old, 18 year old kids coming to campus for the next four years you don't really know them so anytime you are a coach and a player of yours gets involved in a situation ..."

Auriemma grew up as a fans of the Philadelphia Eagles but he has been at various events with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick over the years and has followed Hernandez's successful run in New England from a distance.

"I watch every game as much as I can," Auriemma said. "I think living up here, having him play the way he played and having the success he has had you can't help but feel good about it and feel good for him and be happy for him. You talk about a kid who was 16 years old and playing in these AAU tournaments, getting in a van and driving, doing dumb stuff as 15 and 16 year old kids do and you turn on the TV on day and he is headbutting Tom Brady after scoring a touchdown, that is not real life. How many times do you get watch an NFL player and say 'hey, I know that kid. He used to hang around the corner.' I think all of his friends, family, high school coaches, everybody I think everybody is like 'wow, I am really proud of him.'"


Pair of Huskies preparing for the World University Games

The U-16 squad just completed a run to the FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Woimen and now it is time for the college players to move to the forefront.

The 12-member U.S. squad competing in the World University Games  is converging on Colorado Springs, Colo. for final preparations before the team leaves for Russia.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Bria Hartley, fresh off leading UConn to its eighth national title, are among the headliners on the U.S. squad.

The team's first practice will be tomorrow and after six days of practices at the U.S. Olympic Training Center the team will depart for Kazan, Russia on July 1. The first game for the U.S. in on July 8 against Belarus. The game is set to tip at 8:30 p.m. in Kazan which if my math is right puts it at 4:30 a.m. on July 9 here on the East Coast.

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

UConn targets lead U.S. the U-16 title

UConn Class of 2015 recruiting targets Asia Durr and Katie Lou Samuelson certainly know how to deliver when championships are on the line.

As good as Durr and Samuelson were during the games leading up to Sunday's gold-medal game at the FIBA Americas U-16 Championship for Women, they were downright spectacular in the title game.

Durr, a 5-foot-11 guard from Douglasville, Ga., had 26 points, six rebounds, four assists and eight steals while Samuelson, a 6-foot-3 wing from Huntington Beach, Calif., finished with 24 points (going 8 of 8 from 3-point range), five rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot as the United States defeated Canada 82-48 to finish a dominating run to the championship. Another impressive effort was turned in my Lauren Cox. Cox, a 6-foot-4 forward from Flower Mound, Tex., narrowly missed a triple-double as she finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocked shots.

Durr, who was named the tournament's most valuable player, and Samuelson finished as the top two scorers in the tournament as Durr averaged 18.4 points per game and Samuelson averaged 16 points per contest. Durr was tied for the team lead with 10 assists, led the team with 16 steals, led the team in free-throws made (19) and attempted (25) while her 11 3-pointers was second only to the 18 made by Samuelson. Samuelson was 18 of 34 from 3-point range during the five games and also averaged 5.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.

Durr had a personal 12-0 run with the U.S. leading by a point early in the second half and her teammates helped turn it into a 22-0 outburst.

The U.S. outscored its opponents 463-138 in the five games it played at the tournament.

Durr set U.S. single-game records for points, steals and field-goal attempts while Samuelson's 8 for 8 performance from 3-point range is also a record. Here's what they had to say courtesy of the folks from USA Basketball.

Asia Durr (St. Pius X Catholic H.S./Douglasville, Ga.)
On tonight's game:
We knew Canada was a great team, and coach told us it was going to be a fight.
On the USA's second half:Coach told us to create turnovers and focus on our defense, and that's what we did.
On winning tournament MVP:I was shocked. The whole team played great throughout this tournament, and for them to call my name, it means a lot.
How does it feel to win a gold medal?It means so much to me. This is a new thing for me, and it's been a great experience.
What will you take away from this experience?The bond we made, meeting the girls and the coaches and just getting to know them.

Has this experience helped you become a better basketball player?I think this experience made me a better basketball player. Different coaches and new teammates, it taught me a lot.

Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei H.S./Huntington Beach, Calif.)
On tonight's game:
Canada played awesome. They were there to win. We knew coming out of halftime that if we didn't step up, they were going to take it. We just had to pick up our defense.
On her USA U16 record 8-of-8 3-point shooting:I've been shooting since i was really little. That's probably my main focus, shooting over and over again. Making 8-of-8, it's really nice that it paid off, especially in such a big game. It's really just a great feeling.
How does it feel to win a gold medal?It's awesome. It's unbelievable, nothing you could ever compare to. Something you've always dreamed of, and then when you finally reach it, it's just awesome.
Has this experience helped you become a better basketball player?I think this experience really taught me how to become more of a team player and really get everyone excited and involved. I'm going to take things back from here and try to incorporate it into my high school team, like how positive everyone is and how everyone works so hard.

Also here is what U.S. head coach Sue Phillips had to say about the record-setting efforts of Durr and Samuelson.

"Asia was a catalyst for us, both handling the basketball and defensively, and then finishing. She really sparked us. She scored a run of double figures at one point by herself. Pretty amazing."

"We talked about it at halftime. We said, 'Katie Lou's got the hot hand, find her.' I thought the team did a great job looking for her and getting her the basketball. She's an unbelievable shooter."

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Tiffany Hayes off and running in her second pro season

I'll have to admit to being a little unsure of how former UConn star Tiffany Hayes' second season in the WNBA was going to transpire.

Hayes was thriving under the guidance of veteran head coach Marynell Meadors but when Meadors was let go and assistant coach Fred Williams took over Hayes' minutes began to dwindle. Of course some of it had to do with perennial All-Star Angel McCoughtry returning to the court. However, I wondered if Hayes would be able to carve out quality playing time under Williams.

Looks like there was no cause for concern. Hayes is averaging nearly 24 minutes in the first seven games of the season and despite some shooting woes, her scoring average is up from 8.6 points as a rookie to 10.6 this season.

"It hasn't been that hard because whatever the team needs me to do I just do it," Hayes said before Sunday's game against the Connecticut Sun. "If it is more minutes, if it is less minutes whatever it is I go out there and do my best. I think my teammates have been helping me when I go out there.

"My decision making is a little bit better. It still needs to get better but it is something I have improved on from last year to this year."

Playing for an Eastern Conference team allows Hayes to make multiple trips back to Connecticut during the WNBA season but each time back is still special for her.

"This place has some of the best fans that  I have ever witnessed and every time I come here they show love so there is always love when I come back to Connecticut," Hayes said.

Hayes and a veteran Atlanta team headed into the game with the best record in the WNBA and after threatening to win the WNBA title on multiple occasions, could this be the year they earn that elusive first title.

"We are all excited about this year and we are all saying that this year could be something special for us," Hayes said. "We just have to keep it up playing great and be consistent with what we are doing."

Speaking of winning it all, Hayes experienced the thrill of being a member of a national championship team during her UConn days. She watched from afar as the Huskies ascended to the top of the women's basketball world by winning the program's eighth national title.

"I was able to catch a couple of games and I definitely did see the championship game and I was so proud of them," Hayes said. "I knew they could do it the whole season, it was just a matter of them coming together and at the end they pulled it together and won a championship so I am definitely happy for them

"It was kind of weird watching on TV and (thinking) 'I was just there last year.' I did my four years and then I was able to watch them do a job well done and I was definitely happy for all of them."

Hayes was especially thrilled to see former teammate Kelly Faris leave UConn with another national title.

"She deserves it, she is one of the hardest-working players  I ever played with so she is one who definitely deserved it a lot," Hayes said..

Hayes said she is uncertain where she will be playing overseas during the winter. Ticha Penicheiro recently became her agent and they are still working on a deal to get her to play overseas.

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

UConn recruiting targets go for the gold

UConn Class of 2015 recruiting target Katie Lou Samuelson was one of three players with 16 points and had three steals as the United States advanced to the FIBA Americas U-16 Championship for Women gold-medal game with an 101-29 win over Mexico.

Fellow UCinn recruiting target Asia Durr chipped in with 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and four steals.

Lauren Cox and Arike Ogunbowale also had 16 points for the U.S. Cox added eight rebounds and two blocks while Ogunbowale had four steals and Kalani Brown had 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.

The U.S. will face Canada in tomorrow's championship game.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Samuelson leads U.S. to emphatic win

UConn recruiting target Katie Lou Samuelson had 20 points, four 3-pointers and eight rebounds as the U.S. wrapped up the first round of the FIBA Americas U-16 Championship for Women with a 106-19 (yes you read that right) win over Costa Rica.

Fellow UConn Class of 2015 recruiting target Asia Durr added 12 points, two rebounds, two assists, three steals and a blocked shot.

After the round robin portion of the tournament Durr is the top scorer with an average of 18.3 points per game and is also averaging a tournament-best 4..3 3-pointers per game and is second in field-goal percentage (57.1). Samuelson ranks fifth in scoring (13.3) and is third in rebounding (7.3).

The U.S., which has qualified for the 2014 U-17 World Championships, will play Mexico in the semifinals on Saturday. Canada and Brazil will meet in the other semifinal with the gold-medal game set for Sunday.

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Milestone in each for Mike Thibault tonight

Former Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault can tie Van Chancellor's WNBA record for most regular-season victories if he leads the Washington Mystics to a victory over the Phoenix Mercury tonight.

Chancellor posted 211 victories with the Houston Comets from 1997-2006 (leading Houston to four straight WNBA titles) while Thibault has 210 career regular-season victories. Thibault recorded 206 of those victories with the Sun from 2003-12. Another footnote about tonight's game is a win would improve Washington's record to 5-2 and the Mystics won just five games during the entire 2012 season.


Unique offseason for national champions

A year ago after her round at the Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey raved about rising sophomore Brianna Banks' improvement on the court and more confident state of mind. There were no such proclamations when she spoke with Rich Elliott of the Connecticut Post and I after her round of golf on Wednesday.

"This has been a real odd year because normally the kids are in summer school in first session and that would be now but the three freshmen (Moriah Jefferson, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck) because they made USA Basketball took Maymester and the other guys because of USA Basketball are coming second semester. (Incoming freshman) Saniya Chong because she doesn't graduate until late June isn't coming until second session so we really don't have anybody on campus right now, everybody else will be around second session. It is weird, it is the first year it has been like this."

For UConn head coach Geno Auriemma this offseason has been pleasantly serene. Unlike the past few years where he would be bouncing around getting ready for national team training camps, he has no USA Basketball responsibilities. Much of his time has been spent bonding with his second grandson Andrew who was born a couple weeks back.

"It's been kind of quiet," Auriemma said. "Each one we win it gets less and less chaotic especially this year. Other some of the travel that I have done, some that I had to do and some I wanted to do, it has been pretty quiet because I don't have USA Basketball, recruiting starts July 6 so I am just kind of keeping a low profile until then."

Obviously when the July viewing period begins next month Auriemma and his staff will continue the pursuit of some big kids to add to the recruiting class headlined by verbal commitments Sadie Edwards, Courtney Ekmark and Gabby Williams.

A'ja Wilson, rated by many as the best player in the Class of 2014, is at the top of UConn's wish list but when I spoke to Wilson during the U-19 national team trials she said her intention was to take all of her official visits so don't look for any commitments from her in the immediate future. A new name is emerging as Lynee' Belton is very much on the Huskies' recruiting radar. In a Washington Post story written 2 1/2 weeks ago, it was reported that Belton has visited UConn and there is clearly plenty of interest in the 6-foot-2 forward who will be a senior at the Bullis School in Potomac, Md. UConn is still involved with other forwards including Kathryn Westbeld, Taylor Rooks and Lexi Gussert as well as wing Sierra Calhoun. With Chong, a 5-foot-9 guard, the only member of the incoming recruiting class and the only commitments in the Class of 2014 being perimeter players, obviously securing commitments from a couple of big kids is a priority for the Huskies.

UConn has made it clear that it would welcome walk-ons since it will only have nine scholarship players next season. Dailey said she hasn't heard much of possible non-scholarship students expressing an interest in trying out for the team.

"I am not sure," Dailey said. "I am not worried about it. We have enough practice players."

Dailey wasn't sure of the status of Becca Pope who was with the team for a few months last year after transferring from UConn-Avery Point. While she has a chance of taking part in drills with the team when she is enrolled at UConn, at the current time it is looking like Pope will not be a part of a program next season.

"Hopefuly we will have some other kids," Dailey said. "It is not an easy thing to do, we don't have a lot of Marci Czels or Colleen Healys running around who are able to do it."

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Durr, Samuelson continue to shine at U-16 tourney

UConn Class of 2015 recruiting target Asia Durr has scored more than
20 points in each of the United States team's first two victories.
There were reports that UConn Class of 2015 recruiting targets Asia Durr and Katie Lou Samuelson were feeling a little under the weather before the United States' second game in the FIBA Americas U-16 Championship for Women but you would never know it by taking a look at the box score.

Durr had a game-high 23 points (her second 20-point effort in as many games) to go with six rebounds, two assists and a steal while Samuelson had 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds in a 98-28 win over Argentina.

The U.S. wraps up pool play tomorrow against Costa Rica.

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Kayla Pedersen acquired by Connecticut Sun

The Connecticut Sun attempted to bolster its frontcourt by acquiring former first-round pick Kayla Pedersen from the Tulsa Shock in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2014 WNBA draft.

Pedersen, the seventh overall pick in 2011, has started 50 games over the last three seasons including five this season.

Pedersen, a 6-foot-4 forward who starred collegiately at Stanford, averaged a career-high 6.8 points as a rookie. This season she is averaging 4.1 points, 4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.9 blocks per game.

Pedersen had a season-high 10 points in a June 7 win against Seattle but in her last two games she failed to score in 26 minutes of action in losses to Minnesota and Phoenix. She did not play in today’s game against Chicago.

The Sun cut Ashley Walker who averaged 1.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in seven games for the Sun.

Kelly Schumacher returning to basketball

After three years away from basketball as she played professional beach volleyball, former UConn center Kelly Schumacher will be returning to the basketball court. Schumacher, a member of the Huskies' 2000 national championship team, signed with Rivas Ecopolis out of Madrid, Spain.

Schumacher was a first-round pick of the Indiana Fever in the 2001 WNBA draft and played in the WNBA for four different teams from 2001-2009.

Speaking of former Huskies, Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi put on quite a show last night.

Moore had 26 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and two steals to lead the Minnesota Lynx to an 80-69 win over the Phoenix Mercury. Taurasi had 28 points and three assists. Taurasi and Moore are running 1 and 2 in the WNBA scoring race. After averaging 14 points in Phoenix's first two games of the season Taurasi has scored at least 21 points in every game since as she leads the league with a 23.7 scoring average.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Asia Durr stars in U-16 opener

UConn Class of 2015 recruiting target Asia Durr scored as many points as the United States' first opponent in the FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Women in Cancun on Wednesday.

Durr had 20 points on 6 of 9 shooting in a 76-20 win over Brazil. Fellow UConn recruiting target had nine points, six rebounds and two steals as the U.S. improved to 1-0 in Group A.

Argentina, which opened with a 61-41 win over Costa Rica, will face the U.S. on Thursday before the United States wraps up pool play against Costa Rica on Friday.

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Geno dishes on "White Paper"

UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma is a past president of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and is passionate about generating more interest in the sport of basketball. So it should not come as a surprise that Auriemma had strong opinions about the recently released "White Page" by former WNBA Preisdent Val Ackerman which outlines suggestions for furthering the main stream appeal of women's basketball.

While most coaches in between taking part in a charity mini-golf event and teeing off in a celebrity pro-am at the Travelers Championship might give a 20-30 word response, Auriemma went on for nearly 10 minutes giving his take on the best way to grow the sport.

Auriemma is in favor of one of Ackerman's report's suggestion of moving the Final Four from its current Sunday-Tuesday format to a Friday-Sunday event.

"I definitely think the Final Four should be Friday-Sunday and it shouldn't be at the same place where the guys have theirs but same thing it makes no sense whatsoever in my mind,"  Auriemma said. "The Sunday-Tuesday thing might work for TV and worked for a little while but you will find that attendance isn't working because you don't want to take that much time out of work and it is unnatural you can't do that."

However, Ackerman mentioned the possibility of having the men's and women's Final Fours in the same location which is not something he is in favor of..

"I haven't read it all," Auriemma said. "I talked to Val a little bit but I am sure there are things that have been mentioned before or things we have talked about before. One of the problems we have in women's basketball is we have too many people have any opinion so nothing gets done and we want to poll all 365 coaches, all Division II schools all Division III schools to see what we should do so things gets done so until a group of people who have the best interest of the game get together and say this is what we are going to do then we are always going to be writing white papers and making suggestions, have meetings, have committees and have another focus group and we are going to be . Look at how long it took to get the 10-second rule and 20 years from now what is in the white paper will get acted upon unless people might say 'this is not in my best interest but it is in the best interest of the game.' If we could ever get to that point then a lot of things that are in that report, from what I am told, could actually benefit the game things that we as coaches have talked about.

"The one thing is maybe all 64 teams shouldn't play in the NCAA tournament as it is structured right now. Everybody made a big deal with the women's tournament that we have to be just like the men and at the same time don't compare us to the men. Make up your mind, this isn't men's basketball this is women's basketball. They play at neutral sites because they get a million dollars from television and we don't. It doesn't help us to be just like them so we need to figure out what that is. If it is 32 teams get a bye and the other 32 play their way in, it is still the NCAA tournament but in baseball you have regionals and super regionals and it works pretty well for them. Softball does it their way and it is time we stop trying to be like everybody else and like men's basketball and just do what is in our best interest.

"One of the things we suggested is having it at five sites, (DePaul coach) Doug Bruno and I talked about it a lot and let's do it like the BCS BCS championship series, you pick five cities and one year four of them host the regionals and the other hosts the Final Four, the following year four host the regionals and one hosts the Final Four. You go to the five cities who do the best job and give it to them and say it is yours until you say you can't have it until you bid on it and it is that guy, that guy and that guy and at the end of 10 years you are no further along. The people in baseball have created a tremendous scenario in Omaha, softball has created a fabulous scenario is Oklahoma City. We are the only ones who follow the men's around, the men get $80,000, we get $20,000 so why would we want to be like them and we are not. It is about time that we look out for our best interest, what the rules should be and what the style of play should be."

Auriemma is happy that there is dialogue about improving the game rather than those who believe all is right in the world of women's basketball.

"There are things that work and things that don't but at least we are talking about it," Auriemma said. "When I said 'lower the rims' people had a heart attack about it but the reason I said it is let's get people talking about what makes the game better. Let's stop people saying the game is great, the game is fabulous, we play on the ground, it is great, there is no dunking and it is pure. Really, what is so pure about every team shooting 38 percent from the floor? That's pure? That is pure misery if you are on the stands. You want to see games where people are successful. If you came out to the PGA Tour and everybody shot 85 do you think everybody would keep coming out of here? The game has to get better, the players have to get better, coaches have to get better It is a comprehensive thing, it is not one thing. If you go and saying everything is great, nothing is great. If I go to work every day and saying 'we are not good enough and we just won our eighth national championship then nobody is good enough. We are trying to get better so everybody else should try to get better. These are opinions that a lot of people have but again I keep going back to it is a lot of talk but very little action and maybe this will be a wake-up call for everybody.

"At the end of the day we have something that could be really, really good. We have a game that is fun to watch when it is played right. We have a game that can attract a certain audience when it is played right and when we need to nurture it, we need to grow it, we need to help it be as good as it could be."


Rizzotti reflects on Hall of Fame induction

Even a week and a half after  Jen Rizzotti's induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, the Hartford women's basketball coach and former UConn All-American guard is still trying to grasp the enormity of it all.

Rizzotti, the starting point guard on UConn's first national championship team, was shocked when she got the  call when she was informed that she would become the second UConn player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

"It was phenomenal, we had a great time and it was a weekend I could spend with my family reflect on my playing career and really just relax," Rizzotti said after playing her round at the Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am on Wednesday. "Even being in Tennessee I still had a good time and it was nice to be able to thank the people who have been such a big influence in my life

"I was really shocked, It wasn't something I was expecting, it wasn't like I was counting down to the year where I would be eligible or anything. It was so out of the blue and I think I was shocked at first, then a little overwhelmed and then really excited for it.

"They did a phenomenal job of making us feel special, keeping it relaxed and not ever getting to the point where we felt overwhelmed so they did a great job of making all of us feel unique and special."

Rizzotti 's acceptance speech drew plenty of laughs when she admitted she was having a great time even though she was in Knoxville, Tennessee. She also spent much of it thanking UConn coach Geno Auriemma, who was at the induction ceremony.

""Obviously he has meant so much to me in my career and I talked a lot about him in my speech because everything I have done since my decision to go to UConn has impacted my life in so many great ways," Rizzotti said.

Rizzotti joined Rebecca Lobo as the former Huskies to be inducted. More UConn stars will be inducted in the coming years.

"It won't be long until there is another string of them," Rizzotti said. "Obviously some of them have to start retiring but there are so many UConn players that came after that 1995 team that have impacted the game in so many ways so it will be fun over the years to watch and see more UConn players go in.

"I wouldn't say I ever forget it but it is not something that is on the forefront of my mind anymore. Most importantly when I think back to those days, I know the winning was exciting and we reminisce about our experiences, we reminisce about the times that he had off the court, the trips that we went on and when I have the chance to reconnect not just with Rebecca but with Kara (Wolters), Carla (Berube), Colleen (Healy) and Missy (Rose) because of this kind of event it kind of makes it worth it."

Ironically, Rizzotti's Hawks will open the 2013-14 season by playing at UConn on Nov. 9.

"I am excited," Rizzotti said. "We have some turnover, sometimes that is good and sometimes that is tough and in this case it will be a good thing to have a clean slate and see what we can build on. We will be a young team but I think we will be a team that will peak at the right time. The last couple of years we have played really well early in the season and then tapered off. I think this team might hit its bumps early in the season but I see this team peaking hopefully at the end of February and into March right when you want to."

Hartford will play in Miami's tournament, hosts Vanderbilt and opens up home and home series with Boston College and Penn State by playing both of them on the road. Then there is the showdown with UConn.

"We play Nov. 9. I will call it the preseason scrimmage and we will start the following week when we go to Loyola," Rizzotti said with a laugh.

Rizzotti played in the Pro-Am with UConn AD Warde Manuel and men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie while the pro was Jonas Blixt.

"To be able to play with the pro is exciting because I am just in awe of what they can do and as competitive of a person that I am, I would love to hit the ball down the middle of the fairway every time," Rizzotti said. "We had a really friendly pro today in Jonas Blixt who I will be rooting for over the weekend and to have a chance to play with Warde and Kevin was a lot of fun, they are both really good golfers and just easy to be around."

So how did she play?

"Up and down, typical of somebody who plays five or six times a year. I had a stretch of four or five pars and then a bunch of triple bogeys so (she finished) right around my handicap."

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Geno to appear on CBS Sports Network

Geno Auriemma will be interviewed by Jon Rothstein on the ONE2ONE show being aired on CBS Sports Network Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
To view a clip from the show, of Auriemma discussing the possibility of tying John Wooden’s record of 10 national championships, and the differences between the men’s and women’s game, click on the following link:


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chris Dailey, Geno Auriemma ready to tee off at Travelers

UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey and head coach Geno Auriemma will tee off 30 minutes apart tomorrow afternoon in the Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am.

Dailey is in the foursome headed by pro Ben Crane and she will be joined by James Naughton and Ray Lamontagne at 12:40 p.m. on the first tee. Auriemma follows three groups later at 1:10 p.m. along with former UConn men's basketball associate head coach George Blaney, John Green and pro John Rollins.

Former UConn star Jen Rizzotti, who was recently inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, is in a group including UConn AD Warde Manuel which goes off at 7:30 a.m.from the 10th tee.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Alba Torrens continues to impress; Russia eliminated

The teams of the three former Connecticut Sun draft picks all advanced to the second round at the EuroBasket Championships.

Alba Torrens led Spain to the Group B title by averaging 19.7 points (the second most during the first portion of the tournament) to go with 3.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Sandrine Gruda led France to the Group C title with a 3-0 record. Gruda averaged 9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1 steal and 0.7. blocks. Johannah Leedham's Great Britain team finished 2-1 in Group C with the only loss coming today to France. Leedham averaged 13 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in the three games.

The biggest news coming out of the first round is that perennial World Championship medal contender Russia failed to qualify for the second round after going 1-2 in Group B and therefore will not be eligible to play in the 2014 World Championships due to the first-round ouster.

There's a couple of days off before the second round of pool play begins on Thursday. Spain carries a 2-0 record into Group F play while France and Great Britain open play in Pool F with 2-0 and 1-1 records respectively.

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UConn coaches to speak at Travelers' Women's Day event

UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma and assistant coaches Marisa Moseley and Shea Ralph will be among the speakers at Wednesday's Women's Day Breakfast on Thursday.

Auriemma and associate head coach Chris Dailey will be participating in the Travelers' celebrity pro-am on Wednesday.

Diana Taurasi honored by WNBA

Former UConn star Diana Taurasi was named the WNBA's Western Conference Player of the Week after averaging 31.5 points per game  in wins over Los Angeles and Tulsa.

Taurasi had 34 points against the Sparks, her 35th career 30-point game, to go with six rebounds and seven assists. Two days later she had 29 points, nine rebounds and nine assists against Tulsa.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Huge game for former Connecticut Sun draft pick

I didn't see the game but former Connecticut Sun draft pick Alba Torrens put on quite a show in leading Spain to a 77-72 win over Russia on the first day of the EuroBasket Championships.

Torrens scored 30 points (shooting 10 of 20 from the field), drained four 3-pointers and had three rebounds and two blocked shots. While enticing European stars to come overseas can be a complicated proposition, with the Sun struggling to find consistent offensive production outside of Tina Charles and Kara Lawson, one would hope that every effort is being made to try to get Torrens and Sandrine Gruda to come to the U.S. after the European Championships.

Gruda had nine points, six rebounds and three steals to lead France to a 62-39 win over Latvia.

Leedham stars in EuroBasket opener

Former Cheshire Academy star Johannah Leedham, one of the final cuts by the Connecticut Sun during the preseason, scored six of her 12 points in the fourth quarter as Great Britain came from behind to defeat Serbia 76-68 on the first day of the EuroBasket championships.

Leedham finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, four steals and one blocked shot as Great Britain  improved to 1-0 in Group C. Great Britain faces Latvia tomorrow before wrapping up Group C play against France on Monday.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Six UConn grads on WNBA All-Star ballot

Tina Charles and Swin Cash are among six former UConn stars on the
WNBA's All-Star ballot which was announced on Thursday.
The WNBA released its ballot for next month's All-Star game (being played at Mohegan Sun Arena) with two guards and three front court players from each team being on the ballot.

Six of the 60 candidates played at UConn including reigning WNBA MVP Tina Charles of the Connecticut Sun, current WNBA scoring leader Maya of the Minnesota Lynx and five-time WNBA scoring champion Diana Taurasi. They are joined by the Connecticut Sun's Kalana Greene, Tiffany Hayes of the Atlanta Dream and two-time WNBA All-Star MVP Swin Cash of the Chicago Sky.

Other Connecticut Sun players on the ballot are Kara Lawson, Allison Hightower and Kelsey Griffin.

Balloting begins on Sunday with the starters for the Eastern and Western Conferences being announced on July 18 during a nationally-televised game between Phoenix and Los Angeles. The WNBA All-Star Game will be played on July 27 at 3:30 p.m.

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Breanna Stewart honored by hometown

The town of Cicero, N.Y. declared yesterday to be "Breanna Stewart Day" in honor of the accomplishments of the UConn phenom.

Stewart, a former star at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, was the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four as she led the Huskies to an eighth national title. Next up for Stewart is representing the U.S. at the FIBA U-19 World Championships.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Strong APR score for UConn

The women's basketball program was one of 20 UConn teams to score 970 or better (on a scale of 1,000) in the multi-year Academic Progress Rate and one of the 16 programs to score higher than 970 during the 2011-12 academic year.

The biggest news for UConn coming out of the APR report is that the men's basketball program is eligible for the 2014 NCAA tournament after being banned from 2013 tourney for poor APR scores.

Here are some of the highlights via an official release sent out by UConn

* The single-year score of 947 by the men’s basketball team in a season in which UConn played in the NCAA tournament, which followed a single-year score of 978 in which UConn won the NCAA national championship. UConn’s two-year score is 963.
* A multi-year score of 984 for the women's basketball team during a time period in which UConn won two national championships and played in the Final Four all four seasons.
* A multi-year score of 958 for the football team during a time period in which UConn played in bowl games in three seasons. The football team's score is 11 points higher than the average football score for all public institutions.
* A near-perfect multi-year score of 996 for the field hockey team in a period when the Huskies went to the NCAA tournament all four years and the national semifinal in 2011.
* A multi-year score of 985 for the men’s outdoor track and field team during a period when the Huskies won two Big East Championships.
* A multi-year score of 988 for the women’s indoor track and field during a time period when the Huskies won a Big East Championship.
* A perfect 1000 multi-year score for the men's cross country, women's tennis and men's golf teams and a perfect 1000 single-year score for the men’s cross country, field hockey, women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, softball, men’s tennis, men’s outdoor track and field and women’s tennis teams.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Connecticut Sun signs Castro Marques

The Connecticut Sun is banking on WNBA veteran Izi Castro Marques to provide the outside shooting while Renee Montgomery (high ankle sprain) and Tan White (broken finger) are sidelined.

The Sun announced that it has signed Castro Marques and waived Natasha Lacy as well as signing former Texas A&M star Sydney Carter as a replacement player.

Castro Marques, a 6-foot native of Brazil, has played 10 seasons with five WNBA teams. Her best years came with Atlanta when she averaged 14.4 points during the 2009 season and a career-high 16.9 points with the Dream in 2010. She also played in Seattle for three seasons under Connecticut Sun head coach Anne Donovan.

“I’m excited about having Izi join our roster," Donovan said in a statement. "She brings a wealth of experience and scoring punch to our perimeter game. With the injuries to Renee (Montgomery) and Tan (White), it was important that we replace that lost experience. Having coached her in Seattle, I’m familiar with her all-around skill set at both ends of the floor and she will strengthen our guard play.”

Castro Marques has scored 2,694 points in 278 career regular-season games while hitting 260 3-pointers over that span.

Lacy, who signed with the Sun as a free agent on February 21, played n three games for Connecticut this season. She averaged 2.3 points and five rebounds in those contests. She started in Friday's loss to Washington for Kara Lawson, who missed the game with a back issue. Lacy struggled offensively as she was 1 of 14 from the floor.

Carter, a 5-foot-6 guard, was selected in the third round of the 2012 WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky. Carter was in training camp with Atlanta and averaged 5 points and 2.5 rebounds in two preseason games.

The Sun return to action Wednesday playing at Indiana. Lawson has a chance to return to the lineup but Montgomery and White will continue to be sidelined.

Connecticut fan support helped Mohegan land bid

The people calling the shots for the American Athletic Conference are the same ones who were affiliated with the Big East in recent years so they were very aware of the UConn fan base's willingness to support the Huskies whether it is in the regular season or in the postseason conference tournament.

Naturally when the bids started coming in from facilities eager to host the inaugural American Athletic Conference women's basketball tournament, knowing that ticket sales would be brisk if it were held in the Nutmeg State ultimately resulted in Mohegan Sun securing the rights to host the 2014 event with the conference having the option to bring it back to Mohegan in 2015.

"The Connecticut fan base has been a fan base that has  supported the championships for years and years and years and we hope this chance in venue will provide some new options and opportunities for metrics that will include the hings that the fan base would like to see outside of the venue as well," American Athletic Conference associate commissioner Danielle Donehew said. "There are plenty of places for restaurants, shopping  and other entertainment around the games but we hope that the venue will fans from around our new membership will all want to go to. We hope it will be an event that we will continue to grow and provide a great championship experience. We are excited for our student-athletes to play in a WNBA venue and the Mohegan Sun Venue is a great size that we should be able to have a real strong attendance."

Rather than place the tournament at a permanent site as has been the case with the XL Center hosting the Big East women's basketball tournament for the last 10 years, the plan is to have the event at Mohegan for either one or two years and then open up the bidding for other venues.

"For this first decision and this first contract as The American we were strategic in placing our championship site inside our largest women's basketball fan base but as time goes on and as our new members are more comfortable in our conference family I would anticipate that we would have more venues throughout our footprint that are interested in hosting," Donehew said. "At this time this is the right decision for us as a conference family and our membership is excited about it."

The tournament will begin on Mar. 7 with the No. 7 seed playing the No. 10 seed and the teams seeded 8th and 9th squaring off. The top six seeds receive byes into the quarterfinals. The championship game is set for Mar. 10. Unlike the Big East which has had its title game on a Tuesday, The American conference final will be on a Monday.

UConn, which won 19 Big East regular-season titles, headlines the conference membership. Fellow former Big East teams Cincinnati, South Florida, Louisvile and Rutgers will also be in the league although Louisville leaves for the Atlantic Coast Conference and Rutgers moves to the Big Ten in 2014. Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, Southern Methodist are other conference members with East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa slated to join for the 2014-15 season. With 10 members for the 2013-14 season, each team will face the other nine schools at home and on the road during an 18-game regular-season schedule.

The XL Center, which hosted the Big East women’s tournament in each of the last 10 seasons, did not make the cut this time.

“The XL Center has been a wonderful host for us for the last 10 years and in nine of those 10 years we led the country in attendance,” Donehew said. “The folks at the XL Center and the city of Hartford have been wonderful partners for us over the years and we are extremely grateful for the support they have shown our event and the investment they have made in our event.”

There were Big East schools which raised concerns about playing a conference tournament in a casino but Donehew said there were no such concerns this time around. The fact that Mohegan Sun Arena has hosted high school and college tournaments likely eased some of the reservations about playing the tournament on the site of a casino.

“Certainly there have been a lot of great events there and obviously they are in the event business,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said in late April shortly after rumors began that Mohegan Sun Arena was the front runner to land the tournament. “There is no sports wagering at Mohegan and as far as the other aspects of the casino, if high school administrators are not worried about bringing high school athletes to play in the tournament,.. I am sure for a lot of people it is always going to be a concern and it is always going to be a question but I believe the fact that there has been both high school and college games played there I think that aspect at some point is going to go away.”

Donehew confirmed that the conference will play an 18-game schedule during the regular season with each team playing the other nine schools once at home and once on the road. Donehew is hopeful that the schedule will be released before Labor Day..

"I think this is an important step for our conference for our new direction at The American," Donehew said. "We are hoping that it is an event that the nation will watch and be interested in. This is an important day for women's basketball and for The American and we are excited that we have been able to take such a strong step and moving forward for our basketball product and look forward to all that we can build together with our existing members and our new members."


Mohegan Sun Arena to host American Athletic Conference women's tourney

One of the worst-kept secrets in recent memory became official when the American Athletic Conference announced that Mohegan Sun Arena has been awarded the hosting rights for the conference's first women's basketball postseason tournament.

The tournament will be played from March 7-10 with all 10 teams taking part in the event and the top six seeds receiving byes into the quarterfinals.  The semifinals will be televised on ESPNU, while the championship will be on ESPN or ESPN2. Big East teams accustomed to a Tuesday night final will need to adjust to the new schedule as the champion will be crowned on a Monday.

The agreement is for one year with the conference having the option to return to Mohegan for the 2015 tournament.

“We look forward to this partnership,” said American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco in a statement. “Mohegan Sun Arena offers our student-athletes, coaches and fans the best of many things –a world-class facility, a great destination and committed management. We feel that being at Mohegan Sun will enhance an already very successful women’s tournament experience.”

Former Big East teams UConn, Cincinnati, South Florida, Louisville and Rutgers will be joined by Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, SMU and Temple for the 2013-14 season. Louisville will leave for the ACC and Rutgers heads to the Big Ten after the season with East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa joining the league in 2014.

With 10 teams in the conference for the 2013-14 and the conference wanting to play an 18-game conference schedule each team will play the other team once at home and once on the road. With 11 teams expected for the 2014-15 season, a different scheduling format will need to be utilized.

There is a chance that the schedule for the upcoming season will be revealed before Labor Day which is a change from the time frame of when the Big East schedule tended to be released.

No firm date has been set for the release of tickets but it could be around November as has been the case in the past with the Big East.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Injuries mounting for Connecticut Sun

Even before the season began the injury bug was proving to have quite the appetite in the camp of the Connecticut Sun as veteran forward Asjha Jones made the decision to take the entire 2013 season off to recover from a variety of ailments and underrated wing Danielle McCray would also be sidelined for the entire season due to an injury she suffered playing overseas. However, that was just the tip of the iceberg.

If there was one image from last night's Sun/Washington Mystics game it was seeing Renee Montgomery, Kara Lawson and Tan White all in street clothes unable to play. Predictably, down the stretch the Sun struggled offensively without three of its best perimeter offensive players.

If you include Jones, McCray and Jessica Moore (who was not re-signed and promptly was picked up by Washington) the Sun played without players who accounted for 52 percent of the team's offense during the 2012 season and made 172 of the team's 199 3-pointers.

The good news is that Lawson's injury is considered to be day by day and there is a chance she will be back when the Sun return to action on Wednesday with a game at Indiana. However, Montgomery and White likely won't be back until next month.

Montgomery suffered a high ankle sprain during a gruesome-looking tumble to court late in a loss to Chicago while White broke the middle finger on her right hand during practice earlier this week. Both are expected to miss at least three weeks.

Montgomery has not watched replays of the injury nor is she planning to.

"I got hit on the screen and I went down and it was bad," Montgomery said before Friday's loss to the Mystics. "When he (Sun trainer Jeremy Norman) came out, I didn't know what was hurt and I just said 'my leg' but it was a bad fall. I never missed a game in junior high, high school, college or pros.. This is the first time I had to miss a game before." 

Montgomery realizes that the way that her leg bent backwards on the fall that she could have easily found herself on the sidelines for a much longer period than just three or four weeks.

"I feel blessed," Montgomery said. "I didn't go back and look at it but when it happened I knew it was bad. I could have been out the whole season the way the fall happened so I know I am blessed."

Right now Montgomery needs to stay off the injured ankle as much as possible. During games she will wear a walking boot but the rest of the time she will get around with the help of crutches.

White will be able to start doing cardio workouts in a couple of days. She is wearing a splint to protect her entire hand.

White said she was defending rookie Kelly Faris in practice and when Faris drove by, she swiped at the ball as she had done countless times during practices and games in her professional career. She missed the ball and made contact with Faris' arm. At first White thought she might have just jammed the finger but further examination the following day revealed that she had broken the finger. With her injury coming so soon after Montgomery went down left the Sun rather thin in perimeter options coming off the bench.

"It can happen on any team," White said. "It is not something that we planned to do intentionally but if you are playing the game these kinds of injuries come all the time. It is a bad situation to have both of us being out at the same time. It is what it is, mine is a short injury and hopefully I will recover and be back quickly.

"This is opportunity for everybody to step up because we need everybody to do a little extra and from here on until we get back and it is a great opportunity for these young players."

Faris is one of the young players who has impressed White especially with the way she played defensively against another former UConn star (Maya Moore) in the Sun's recent loss to Minnesota.

"She has responded well," White said. "At training camp she didn't get to play that much because she was injured but just to play such a tough team in Minnesota, she came out and showed defensively that she can be a stopper. I am excited to continue see her grow and have her put in a position where she can find a role here."

The Connecticut Sun donated ticket sales from the season-opening win against New York to the American Red Cross to aid those impacted by the deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma.

The Sun doesn't want to make it look like they were engaging in a publicity stunt so there will be no ceremony with a check being presented to officials from the Red Cross but I was told last night that approximately $16,000 was raised.

Montgomery didn't cross paths with fellow former UConn point guard Jen Rizzotti that much during her time with the Huskies but she still admitted to feeling a sense of pride that Rizzotti is becoming the second former UConn player to be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame later today.

"I don't know if it is the culture that UConn has created but even if you haven't had much contact with somebody who is a UConn alum you still have this mutual understanding of friendship and camaraderie so I am happy for her and proud she is going into the Hall of Fame." 

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Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Tan White injured in practice

The Connecticut Sun's depth at guard is going to be rested after Tan White broke one of her fingers in Tuesday's practice. White is expected to miss about three weeks.

With Renee Montgomery sidelined for that same period of time with a high ankle sprain, the Sun will be short two players for a while.

UConn/Duke game will be played on Dec. 17

Women's basketball fans won't need to wait very long for one of the most anticipated games of the 2013-14 season as UConn will travel to play Duke in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 17. The game will tip at 7 p.m. and be televised on ESPN2.

It's a very real possibility that the teams will be ranked first and second when they meet as UConn returns its top three scorers (Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Breanna Stewart and Stefanie Dolson) and returns players who accounted for more than 80 percent of the scoring and rebounding for a team which won the program's eighth national title. Duke will be returning its top seven scorers led by All-Americans Chelsea Gray and Elizabeth Williams.

Tickets will go on sale Tuesday, Oct. 15 at or by calling (919) 681-BLUE. For additional information, please visit

Monday, June 03, 2013

Sprained ankle to sideline Renee Montgomery for 3-4 weeks

The Connecticut Sun announced that guard Renee Montgomery is expected to miss the next three to four weeks due to a sprained ankle.

Montgomery injured her ankle in a loss to Chicago on Friday and missed Saturday's game against Minnesota. She underwent an MRI earlier today which confirmed that she had a sprained ankle.

Montgomery, a member of UConn's 2008-09 undefeated national championship team, hadn't missed a game in her first four seasons in the league. Montgomery has averaged 13 points per game in 104 career regular-season games with the Sun and averaged 9 points per game as a rookie with Minnesota in 2009.

The Sun return to action when it hosts Washington, coached by former Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault, on Friday.

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