Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

UConn stressing quality over quantity

In a perfect world the UConn women's basketball team would not have gone into the season with nine full scholarship players and certainly wouldn't be facing a pair of bruising ranked teams on the road with seven healthy full scholarship players.

However, the combination of having three of the five-member senior class transfer out and some swings and misses on the recruiting trail leaves UConn with a perilously thin roster at the current time.

With Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis out indefinitely with an elbow injury and Morgan Tuck expected to miss 4-6 weeks following knee surgery, the Huskies are pressing forward. They did not request a postponement of either Friday's game against Maryland or Sunday's contest vs. Penn State.

"(With) 13-14-15 (players) not one kid gets hurt ever," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "It all part of the game, it is all part of sports. You have to be able to deal with things like this that happen. Sometimes these things happen in March after you've had a whole year and all of sudden the most important time of the year you are scrambling to try to put it together. The fact that it is November, we have some time to get our bearings with this group. I don't think there will be any fundraisers for us around the country, there won't be any telethons or 'Race for the Huskies' to raise scholarship money or people loaning us players. I think people think we will be OK."

UConn does still have three players on the major preseason award watch lists in seniors Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley and sophomore Breanna Stewart. Add in Moriah Jefferson, Kiah Stokes, Brianna Banks and Saniya Chong and that is a seven-player rotation that most programs would be delighted to go into a game with.

This is probably the worst time to have a shorthanded team considering the increase emphasis on calling fouls for the away from the ball contact that restricts freedom of movement. If a couple of Huskies get into foul trouble this weekend things could get pretty interesting.

"I think it is really important, we can't have Stewie (Stewart) in foul trouble like she was against Stanford and it just about being smart," Hartley said. "I think Coach (Auriemma)  put an extra emphasis on defense, if a guy beats you, get out of the way so somebody can help you and just work on recovery because with the new foul rules, you don't want to get those ticky-tack fouls. We want to have our good players on the floor for as long as we can, we are not at as full strength as we would have like but as full strength as we can be.

"I think we will stick to our original game plan because we still have really versatile players. I think it changes how many people we can keep fresh but I think we are a team that works really hard, we are going to be in good shape and we are not going to complain about being tired."

Former UConn guard Maria Conlon is one of the directors for the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven Youth Basketball League which begins next month for players in grades 2-7.

Conlon played for three national championship teams at UConn in the early 2000s and also had a stint as an assistant coach at Southern Connecticut State under Joe Frager, who coached Conlon at Seymour High School.

For additional information, please contact Allan Greenberg at (203) 387-2522 x252 or Debra Kirschner at (203) 387-2522 x253.  Register online at

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