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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Could UConn product be among Connecticut Sun's final cuts

Could former UConn stars Kelly Faris (34) or Kalana Greene (32)
be the final perimeter player cut by the Connecticut Sun this week?
Yesterday I made the trip down to Uncasvulle to get some stuff for the Connecticut Sun season preview. While I was there I took the time to pick the brain of Sun coach Anne Donovan of not only when the final cuts will be made but also what positions she is looking to make the necessary personnel decisions.

"We'll end up with seven guards/perimeter players and five posts," Donovan said. "It has been a little bit difficult because I still don't know where Bone (fits) she is going to be on the team, that is not a question but just how it is going to fit."

That led to the next question and that is whether she considers rookie Alyssa Thomas to be a perimeter player or a post.

"I told her from the beginning that you are going to be a perimeter (player) but what it has turned into is I want her on the floor so if that means a 3 (small forward) or a 4 (power forward), she tends to find her minutes," Donovan said. "She has really figured out how to play both spots, she does what she does whether it is post up a smaller guard or battle (inside), she can handle herself in the post and rebounding she is an asset no matter where she is."

After speaking with her, it looks as if one post player and one guard has to be let go. Obviously No. 1 overall pick Chiney Ogwumike and Kelsey Griffin, the only player to start every game for the Sun last season, will make the team and Donovan already stated that Bone (the last player to report to training camp) will make the team. That leaves two spots being fought for by the trio of Yelena Leuchanka (who practiced with the team for the first time on Saturday) and former first-round picks Kayla Pedersen and Kelly Cain.

"Yelena just came in today, Kelsey comes in tonight so we are probably going to go to the very end to figure out that last cut," Donovan said on Saturday. "It is going to be tough, Kelley Cain has made a great case for herself, Kayla Pedersen has come back and been a completely different player this year. It has been great, it makes for a really competitive camp."

As for the guards, Katie Douglas, Allison Hightower, Thomas and Alex Bentley won't be going anywhere. Renee Montgomery also figures to be on the final roster so that would leave three players vying for two spots with former UConn stars Kalana Greene and Kelly Faris joining Danielle McCray in the fight to make the team. I don't want to read too much into how the minutes were allotted in the two preseason games but McCray was the first of the trio summoned off the bench in Thursday's preseason finale. McCray and Greene both got playing time in the first half while Faris did not check into the game until 8:41 left in the game In the first exhibition game Faris was the first of the three to check into the game so perhaps it was simply the case of the coaching staff needing a longer look at McCray (who did not play last season) in the final preseason game rather than her being ahead of Faris in the pecking order.

It's not going to be an easy task for Donovan and her staff, especially when it comes time to cut loose one of the perimeter players. Greene played in all but one regular season for the Sun over the last three seasons after being acquired during a draft-day trade in 2011. She started 95 of the Sun's 102 games over the last three seasons. McCray played 62 regular-season games for the Sun during the 2011 and 2012 seasons and with 54 3-pointers and a 36.7 3-point percentage, she has proven to be the best perimeter shooter of the trio. Faris was showing tremendous growth during her rookie season before she was one of the many Sun players who had her 2013 season shortened due to injury. Faris displayed an ability to be a defensive stopper on the perimeter and she was the first draft pick of the post-Mike Thibault era with the Sun.

It is going to be interesting.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish they would waive Montgomery since she is so in inconsistent and tends to attempt plays like Lindsay Whalen, who she is not!

6:02 PM 

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