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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Edwards can't wait to get to UConn

As the final seconds ticked off the clock and Blair Academy improved to 8-2 win Saturday's 57-36 win over Mount St. Dominic Academy, I walked onto the court at Shabazz High in Newark, N.J. with the intention of introducing myself to Blair Academy coach Quint Clarke. However, I never got that far.

I had emailed Clarke last week to verify that date and time of today's game because I was going to use my trip to Rutgers as a chance to catch up with Blair Academy senior guard and UConn signee Sadie Edwards.

Edwards obviously knew I was coming because I was stepped onto the court she came right up to me and introduced herself. As we walked off the court to find a quiet place to conduct the interview she asked me "do you get to go to all the UConn games?" I told her that I did and she said "what a cool job."

Obviously Edwards is pretty fired up about heading to UConn.

"It still feeling unreal," Edwards said. "I am going to college and I am going to Connecticut. I grew up watching Connecticut and the great teams that they have had in the past. I have always been a fan and I have always admired the coaches and players that come through the program. They are not just great players but great people so to be a part  of it is really going to be a blessing."

"I like watching them play every time they are on TV," Edwards said. "It gives me chills, I can't wait to get up there. I know I am going to learn a ton, I know I am going to have a lot of fun and I know it is going to be a great experience. I met Gabby and Courtney on my visit. I haven't met Kia yet but I can't wait to meet her, she is a great player and I think it will be a ton of fun playing with them

"It is an incredible feeling, I think Connecticut has the best fans in the world. I was watching their game against Duke and of course Cameron Indoor, they are known for the Cameron Crazies and it is really loud in there but even through that you can hear the Connecticut fans cheering and that is pretty special. You go all around the United States and Connecticut has such loyal fan base that travels and there are fans all over the country and it is an incredible vibe, an incredible feeling to be around people who really love to support the team.

Edwards is excited to be a part of one of the nation's top recruiting classes as she will be joined by fellow incoming freshmen Courtney Ekmark, Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams.

"I think we are kind of similar," Edwards said. "I think we all bring things to the table that may be the same or may be different but I think that we will work together. He (UConn coach Geno Auriemma) always does his best getting his teams to gel and getting the teams to play well together, letting everybody play to their strengths so I will definitely work very nicely.

"They are doing really well. I know Courtney is not playing but Gabby is doing very well and I am glad for her coming off that injury, it is nice to see that she is playing extremely well. I am glad everybody is playing well, that sends a message that we have a really good recruiting class and I think Coach will get the most out of us and help us get to be the best we can be."

Edwards sprained her ankle in a recent game against Potter's House and missed her third straight game although she thinks she will be able to return when Blair Academy plays Lawrenceville on Wednesday. It was impressive seeing how Edwards acted like an assistant coach rather than pouting because she was unable to play. After pretty much every timeout she would gather the five players around her and give them last second advice.

"It is not the most fun to sit out and not be able to play," Edwards said. "Obviously I want to be out there but I think I still try to take as much away rm the game as possible by watching, I think I learn a lot. I learned a lot about my teammates so I think it will help me and I will come back better.

"Even though I am not on the floor I can still try to help my team as much as I can from being on the sideline. I think my teammates listen to me and we try to listen to each other as much as we can so it is very important for me to engage with them as much as I can even though I can't play."

Edwards has made tremendous improvement being a point guard since her freshman season at Mercy High School and she is looking to constantly improve as a player.

"I think I have gotten better with being able to do more," Edwards said, "I think at the beginning of the season, our of our best inside players (Batouly Camara) was hurt so I had to rebound the ball a lot more and now I have become so much a better rebounder and I have learned to just do whatever the coach needs me to do which I definitely think will help me next year."

While it was not easy for Edwards to leave home to first play at Nazareth High in Brooklyn and then the last two seasons at Blair Academy, she knows it made her a better player.

"It has helped me. While I am out here we play against some of the best teams on the East coast so being able to run my team and control the tempo of the game in those situations, being able to score when I need to, being able to get my teammates the ball it definitely is a challenge because we play against very good teams.

"I think what helped me is learning how to be effective being on a team with really good players. When I played in Connecticut I always had the ball in my hands, I was very ball dominant. I have a bigger job of getting them the ball and running the team. If you can be good on a team when everybody else is good, that is how you know you are good so I think that definitely helped me."
Edwards said she is hoping to make it to the Rutgers game on Sunday and she should be able to be in attendance at the American Athletic Conference tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena and perhaps even the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament which UConn will host.

Camara really impressed me and somebody is going to get themselves a pretty talented 6-foot-2 forward who worked hard inside but also showed the ability to step out and hit from the perimeter. Blair Academy freshman Andra Espinoza-Hunter (a former teammate of UConn freshman guard Saniya Chong who is making a run at breaking Bria Hartley's unofficial record for most UConn games attended by the high school player) hit six 3-pointers in the game.

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