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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Hartley starting to get her mojo back

The shot was off the mark but might have been the most encouraging sign of the recently-completed road trip.

Bria Hartley wasn't exactly open when she hoisted up an elbow jumper but it was the type of shot that when she is at her best, she is known to not only attempt but make more times than not.

Since opening up December going 15 of 22 in wins over Ohio State and UC Davis, Hartley has struggled to find the range and in recent games she hesitated a bit when given the opportunity to look for her own shot.

It was more of the same early on in Saturday's win at Memphis. She had two turnovers and one missed jumper in the first 6:25. After a short stint on the bench she came back in and promptly missed three 3-pointers in a wild sequence in which the Huskies missed five straight shots in one trip down the floor. She would miss another jumper before one of her athletic dashes up the court resulted in Hartley being awarded a pair of free throws. Hartley would make her last four shots of the half including a 3-pointer to shake out of her recent offensive slump.

Hartley was perplexed by her recent shooting woes. She was connecting as frequently in practice as she did before going 5 for 5 from 3-point range against UC Davis but when she missed her first three 3-pointers against Memphis, she was 3 for 17 from beyond the arc in the last four games.

"I feel like I am shooting really well in practice," Hartley said. "I feel like I make them in practice and miss them in the game so I wanted to switch it a little."

Hartley was also involved in one of the more bizarre plays of the season and she scrambled after the ball in the backcourt. She was able to dribble the ball while on the court to avoid being whistled for a traveling violation. She got up and got the ball back but didn't cross midcourt quickly enough and was called for a 10-second violation. Perhaps even more unusual is that UConn promptly went on a 15-0 run at the end of the half after that call.

"It was probably a coincidence," Hartley said. "It was an unfortunate (scenario) when we were all falling around and I didn't know it was 10 seconds, I probably could have hustled it a little bit."

UConn coach Geno Auriemma asked official Bill Titus, who made the call, if the Huskies had possession of the ball for the entire 10 seconds. Auriemma said that Titus looked at the play at halftime and could not make a determination whether the correct call had been made.


HIGH PRAISE FOR LAWLOR
It took all of 19 seconds for freshman walk-on guard Tierney Lawlor to drain a 3-pointer after coming into the game. It was was fifth time in the last six games that the former Ansonia High three-sport star had a 3-pointer. She has seven 3-pointers in nine games which is one more than Sue Bird had in eight games during her injury shortened freshman season. Future WNBA guard Ketia Swanier had seven treys as a freshman, current assistant coach Shea Ralph also had seven 3s as a freshman.

Perhaps the people surprised the least by Lawlor's shot-making prowess are her teammates.

"If she keeps coming in and hitting a 3 every time, people need to start putting her on the scouting report," Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis said.

"It is not surprise for us, it is something she does every day in practice so if you can do it every day in practice it is not going to be a shock if you do it in a game. She is somebody who is really hard working so whenever she gets in , we definitely make an effort to make sure she gets a shot."


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