Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Banks makes most of opportunity for UConn

While no team wants to deal with injuries, especially this early in a season. However, if there is a benefit from All-American Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis being out indefinitely due to an elbow injury and Morgan Tuck expected to be out of action for 4-6, it does open up playing time for other players.

Kiah Stokes had strong second-half performances in wins over Stanford and Maryland, Moriah Jefferson had a brilliant performance in Friday's victory over Maryland and perhaps even more encouraging was the showing of Brianna Banks last night.

Banks looked pretty good in the two exhibition games but played 15 ineffective minutes in the first two games of the season.

Banks showed some of the form she played at as a sophomore before her season-ending knee injury in the 72-55 victory over Maryland.

Banks' numbers (9 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist in 25 minutes) don't tell the story of the impact she had in the game.

"When you come to Connecticut and you play in this particular program there are certain expectations and you have to try to reach those expectations and sometimes it is on your terms and sometimes things are forced upon you," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Moriah Jefferson, Brianna Banks they were phenomenal. As good as Kiah was on Monday against Stanford that is how good Moriah and Brianna Banks were.

"I remember (when Bria Hartley was a freshman), Tiffany Hayes, Caroline Doty, Kely Faris, Maya, we had all of these guys and a couple of them couldn't practice and Bria got so many repetitions with the ball in her hands and it did wonders for her, she turned into a completely different player. Sometimes when the door opens for somebody, Brianna got more minutes than if Kaleena was playing or Morgan Tuck (was able to play) so sometimes when those things happen you get a lot of minutes and you have to play through mistakes because we can't afford to take you out, you get the opportunity to do a lot of great things."

There was a scary moment when Banks suffered a lower-body injury. After her teammates came over to check her out, she jogged gingerly down the other end of the floor hoping that she would stay in the game. It didn't work as Stefanie Dolson replaced Banks with 1:29 left in the first half.. Banks checked into the game just 1:45 into the second half  When she quickly drew an offensive foul and had an assist on a Dolson basket  it was pretty clear she was OK.

"It didn't look bad," Auriemma said, "I think I saw what happened. Rosemary (Ragle, UConn's athletic trainer) told me she was fine."


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