Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Geno encouraged by first two days of training camp

When Geno Auriemma headed out to Las Vegas for the first training camp since he was named the U.S. senior national team coach through the 2016 Olympics, he wasn't sure what to expect.

With two of the three practices in the books, Auriemma has been pleasantly surprised with what he has seen especially with the six active college players taking part in the training camp.

"We've got a bunch of college players here and today I thought they did a good job," Auriemma said. "They are competitive and they don't take a step back and they were very impressive. I was proud of the way they all handled themselves.

"It was a huge difference between yesterday and today. I thought yesterday was pretty good but today was great. We learned a lot about these kids in one day. It was competitive and played started to assert themselves a little more and the fact that there are some former Olympians not being here has given a lot of the young guys a chance to showcase who they are."

I asked Auriemma how his three players (Stefanie Dolson, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart) looked over the last two days.

"I think they have come in and tried to do all the things they are good at," Auriemma said. "They have come out and not tried to be something that they are not but also haven't faded into the woodwork like 'we are only in college so we are just here to stand and watch.' They have done all the things they are good at. We have given the committee say 'we are glad you invited us.'"

Today was the first chance I had to ask Auriemma about Bria Hartley's decision to stay home and pass on taking part in the training camp because of a minor tweak in her left ankle, the same ankle which caused her so many issues last season when she ignored the pain and continued to practice on the tender ankle.

"Bria was incredibly disappointed and she still wanted to come," Auriemma said. "I think it was important to stay (at UConn) do some rehab. It was just a minor tweak and in a couple of days (he told her) you will be back at 100 percent. I know how competitive you are and if you go out there you are going to go out there and go harder than she needed to go. A few years ago she would have gone out there and tried to push, even last year and look what happened. This year she was much more mature about it, she understands and she will get another opportunity."

Auriemma has been energized in leading this camp even if players from Atlanta and Minnesota couldn't attend because they are playing in the WNBA championship series.

"It's been great being around them, it has been great having court coaches with us." Auriemma said. "For me basketball season is coming up. It gives you a real head start and it kind of gets your juices flowing. I am excited about it. I think it has been a great two days."

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