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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Bentley happy to be in Connecticut

It is a day that Alex Bentley will not soon forget.

First came the call from her agent delivering the stunning news that she was a part of a three-team trade resulting in Kara Lawson landing in Washington, Matee Ajavon being dealt to Atlanta and Bentley going from Atlanta to Connecticut after a promising rookie season.

The story could have stopped there except that Bentley happened to be playing for the powerhouse Recife team in Brazil where her teammates happened to include Erika de Souza and Tiffany Hayes who happened to be two of her closest friends during her rookie season with the Dream.

"I found out in Brazil. I got a call from my agent," Bentley said. "Honestly I was really surprised but Atlanta has a new coaching staff, you never know what is going to happen. You know the WNBA is a business just like any other one and it is understandable and I am very excited to be in Connecticut."

So what was the reaction of the players who were expecting to play with her in Atlanta this season?

"They were like 'no, this can't be happening' just like I was because I am going to miss Erika de Souza, Tiffany Hayes and the rest of my teammates from Atlanta but it is a business and you have to keep it moving," Bentley said.

Bentley had a bit of an up and down rookie season. She scored in double figures in her second regular-season game and had a five-game stretch when she went 10 of 10 from 3-point range. However, she did not score more than 10 points in back to back games until the final two contests of the regular season. In the playoffs she averaged 4 points in the first seven games before erupting for 18 points in the final games of the WNBA championship series. While disappointed that Atlanta's quest for the franchise's first WNBA title ended by being swept by Minnesota, the memories of that impressive final game served as motivation throughout the offseason.

Bentley had eight games with at least five assists as a rookie and did not commit a turnover until her sixth regular-season game. Just four times during the regular season and once in the playoffs did she had more turnovers than assists so she certainly has the ability to run a pro team. Sun coach Anne Donovan also said that her presence coupled with the return of Katie Douglas will make Connecticut a much improved defensive team on the perimeter. However, scoring in double figures four times in seven regular-season games in September also shows that Bentley can be more than just a pass-first point guard.

"I have a lot that I am capable of doing, I just have to be put in the right situation and I think Connecticut is right for me," Bentley said..

"Connecticut is a great organization, my teammates are really cool. I am jumping into this situation and it is all looking good."

Of course I asked Bentley for her thoughts on Hayes, the former UConn star who she played with in Atlanta and Brazil.

"Tiffany's great, she is a great teammate on and off the court," Bentley said. "She brings a lot of energy to your team when you are playing with her and she brings a lot of energy off the court. That is my girl."

Bentley and her teammates will take part in an open practice at Goodwin College in East Hartford on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

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