Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Impressive second half leads UConn to Gulf Coast Showcase title

The first sign that things were just a little different with the UConn women's basketball team came when the normally mild-mannered Kiah Stokes stared down a Green Bay player after she recorded one of her three blocked shots.

The Huskies, as dominant as they are, don't always show a ton of emotions especially when leading by 25 points in the second half. However, feeling like teammate Breanna Stewart didn't get a fair shake when called for a foul as she was sent flying into the scorer's table, seemed to inspire her teammates. It also earned Stewart's coach Geno Auriemma his first technical foul of the season.

"We came in at halftime and talked, I said to those guys I used to coach a team like that 25 years ago," Auriemma said referring to his first Final Four team at UConn. "They are not afraid of anybody. They don't care that you are a first-team All-American, they don't care that you are Breanna Stewart, they don't care you are Kaleena Lewis. It is not who they are, it is not who their culture is. When that call against Stewie, I think that just kind of put our guys over the edge. There was a little attitude we had in the second half. It was good to see because we don't usually find ourselves in that situation."
Stewart took the worst of the collision with the scorer's table and it warmed her spirit to see Auriemma come to her defense.
"I saw the ball and I thought 'go get the ball' and we kind of ran into each other and I seemed to take the hit on the scorer's table," Stewart said. "I didn't know what that call is but once they called it on me, everybody was in an uproar. People they wanted to stick up for me.
"We knew this was going to be a dog fight and nothing was going to be easy. When somebody sticks their neck out for you like that and gets a technical, it is good to see. We knew just to take it to another notch Kiah (Stokes) had some great blocks and hyped everybody up."
Moriah Jeferson had a career-high 19 points to lead UConn (5-1), Breanna Stewart had 17 points and nine rebounds and tournament MVP Kia Nurse had all 16 of her points in the first half.

"We just turned it up on defense," Jefferson said. "We knew they were going to guard Stewie and Kaleena (Mosqueda-Lewis) the way they did and I wanted to open it up. Me and Kia Nurse did a good job getting into the lane and getting shots."
Mosqueda-Lewis had 13 points while Gabby Williams added 10 points.
UConn was barely challenged in its first two games rolling by College of Charleston and Vanderbilt as the Huskies went  undefeated in its 20th straight regular-season tournament.
 The three-day tournament was the final game action before the Huskies prepare to travel to meet No. 2 Notre Dame on Saturday.

Mosqueda-Lewis joined Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore as the only UConn players to make at least 300 career 3-pointers.

Mosqueda-Lewis, who set the program single-season record with 118 3-pointers, needs 18 treys to break Taurasi's UConn mark.

UConn's Nurse, Tuck bring confidence, aggressiveness to court

The more I see Kia Nurse on the basketball court the more she reminds me of one current UConn player - Morgan Tuck.

Obviously they have different skill sets but just the flat line emotional approach that both Nurse and Tuck bring to the Huskies is eerily similar.

"Kia Nurse is really coming into her own, she is getting confident on the court and being more and more aggressive, that is what we need," UConn junior forward Breanna Stewart said. "They (Nurse and Tuck) are two people who have great basketball IQs, you can tell they are very calm, They don't let themselves get rattled too often."

In the tournament Tuck is averaging 15.5 points (going 12 of 17 from the field) while Nurse is averaging 13.5 points (on 12 of 19 shooting), five rebounds and 5.5 assists per game.

Nurse admits she does try to bring the same calm demeanor to the court as Tuck.

"Morgan is a great decision maker, she is always in the right place at the right time and it is definitely a great asset to have," Nurse said.

Nurse and Tuck are both expected to make their fourth straight starts for UConn and based on what UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said after last night's win over Vanderbilt, it doesn't appear as if they will be coming out of the starting lineup in the immediate future.

"I can't say enough about Morgan Tuck and Kia Nurse, since those two guys have been in the lineup it has been a different feel, they were so aggressive and they make something happen every time they touch the ball and there is no substitute for that," Auriemma said.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis needs two 3-pointers to join Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore as the only UConn players with 300 career treys while Kiah Stokes needs four blocked shots to become the sixth Husky with 200 in her career.

Green Bay final challenge for UConn at Gulf Coast Showcase

No disrespect to the three other teams on the opposite side of the bracket but UConn coach Geno Auriemma fully expected to see Green Bay be the opponent in tonight's Gulf Coast Showcase title game.

Auriemma still has memories or maybe nightmares of meeting the extremely well coached Phoenix in the second round of the 2007 NCAA tournament. Even with the game being in Hartford, Auriemma's Huskies were trailing 40-38 at halftime before emerging with a 94-70 victory.

After wins over Georgia Tech and Arizona State, head coach Kevin Borseth brings his Green Bay team in to face the Huskies.

"Wisconsin Green Bay is a midwest version of Villanova," Auriemma said after UConn secured a spot in the final with a win over Vanderbilt. "I would have loved to have seen them play each other out here. We have been playing Villanova for 30 years and they are one of the most unique teams in the country to play. Green Bay has a lot of those qualities. They won the two games they won here for a reason. They are really good, they beat an ACC team and bear a Pac-12 team. I think a lot of people might be surprised but nobody on our staff is surprised that they won. I expected them to win because I just know how good they are. I know how well coached they are and I know how difficult it is to play against them because it is a unique style that not very many people have so it is not something you can see, that you can prepare for a lot.

"I am excited about it because I want my players to be challenged and they are going to be challenged. I am looking forward to it. I don't know if I will be watching the game that much, I will be watching Kevin more than I will be watching the game, he is pretty entertaining over there so that is another characteristic they have in common with Villanova. both of those guys (Borseth and Villanova coach Harry Perretta) are in the Hall of Fame for wins and other stuff."

Villanova and College of Charleston meet in the seventh-place game at noon, Minnesota and Georgia Tech face off at 2:30, the third-place game will feature Vanderbilt and Arizona State at 6 p.m. followed by the championship game at 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Supporting cast stepping up for UConn

Things had a chance to get interesting. Breanna Stewart was whistled for fouls No. 2 and 3 just 61 seconds apart. The reigning national player of the year would spend the final 6:07 of the half on the bench.

Vanderbilt, which fell behind 17-4 in the early stages, was only down 16 points when Stewart made her way to the sidelines. It was now or never for the Commodores.

Christa Reed, who led Vanderbilt with 17 points, hit a jumper on the ensuing possession and then it was time for Kia Nurse and Morgan Tuck to take over.

Nurse had UConn's next five points while Tuck scored eight points in a span of 2:12 as the Huskies extended the lead to 30 points.

"She does a lot for us," Nurse said of Stewart. "She gets us open and we have to give back to her."

With Stewart on the bench UConn scored 22 of the next 30 points. Eight of those points came from Morgan Tuck on aggressive drives to the hoop resulting in a pair of three-point plays, Nurse had seven points during that run.
"I can't say enough about Morgan Tuck and Kia Nurse, since those two guys have been in the (starting) lineup it has been a different feel," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "They were so aggressive and they make something happen every time they touch the ball and there is no substitute for that.
"It was really good today. We got a lot accomplished today. We did a lot of things defensively I wanted us to do. We got a lot of people involved offensively and having Stewie get in foul trouble and not be able to play a lot of minutes and still score the way we did, I think that is good."
Stewart's first foul knocked Vanderbilt's leading scorer Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau out of the game. Stewart was trying to keep the Vanderbilt freshman from outletting the ball to a teammate when her hand caught Caron-Goudreau in the eye. She was screaming in pain and didn't open her eyes as she was helped off the court. She did not return to the game and early reports was that she had a scratch in her left eye.
"I felt bad," Stewart said. "I think anytime you are on the court, injuries are always something that happen but you never want to be a part of it, you don't want to be the one who caused the injury or see somebody get hurt."
Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said that Caron-Goudreau was unable to open her eye so there is no way of knowing the severity of the injury.
It only added to an intense environment perhaps aided by a report in the Hartford Courant that Vanderbilt was the school which reported UConn coach Geno Auriemma for making a congratulatory call to Little League baseball star Mo'ne' Davis. Although UConn was not recruiting Davis and basketball was not the purpose of the call, the NCAA ruled that UConn was guilty of a secondary violation. Sources said that UConn has not been notified which school filed the complaint.
Auriemma said he would be surprised if Vanderbilt was the school to file the complaint.
"Believe, my team has no idea about any of that stuff," Auriemma said. "I have a hard time believing that is who that was but if it was them, I really don't care one way or the other. We have a lot of friends over there, maybe they did and maybe they didn't. That really doesn't play into any of that, I don't think they know anything of that stuff. Does she still play now that she is on TV?"
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis moved by current assistant coach Shea Ralph and into 14th place on UConn's career scoring list when she hit a 3-pointer with 10:23 left in the first half.
UConn will play for its 20th consecutive in season tournament title. The last time the Huskies lost a game in a regular-season tournament came in 1992 with a 57-37 loss to Vanderbilt in the Hilton Head Super Shootout.
Green Bay rallied from a nine-point deficit in the second half to defeat Arizona State 63-57 in the other semifinal. Mehryn Kraker had 19 points, shooting 9 of 12 from the field, to lead four players in double figures.

UConn's Williams adjusting to life in the post

Those fans wandering into Germain Arena to check out the nine-time national champion UConn women's basketball team play for the first time might assume that freshman Gabby Williams has been years working on posting up in the lane.

However, the reality is that before arriving in Storrs Williams played primarily on the perimeter and was rarely asked to work in the low post. Obviously she is a quick learner because there may not be a player on the nation's No. 3 ranked team who asks for the ball more emphatically in the blocks than Williams.

"I am starting to feel a lot more comfortable," said Williams, who had seven points and six rebounds in 17 minutes in Friday's 85-24 win over the College of Charleston. "There is a lot of stuff that I am still learning but I am trying to find my rhythm. I want to make sure I am not just taking up minutes when I am out there, I want to be productive and make something happen. I think getting more comfortable but getting more out of my comfort zone, making sure I do something that will help. I want to make sure I am proving myself for these three games.

"I never really had to post up and if I did, it wasn't very hard. I had to really focus on getting low, pushing up with my legs. I am excited about it. I think it will add versatility to my game, it is excited to be developed down there."

One of Williams' highlights came when she was on the receiving end of a feed from fellow freshman Kia Nurse on a 2 on 1 break.

"It is fun," Williams said. "I can't ask for a better teammate, a better person to have the next four years with. She is already so experienced so I am learning from her."

Williams' older teammates have been impressed with how well she has adapted to her new role.

"I think she is really picking up, she is willing to learn and she wants to learn," UConn sophomore forward Morgan Tuck said. "She wants to do whatever she can for the team and Coach wants her to be in the post so I think she has done a great job of working hard."


UConn wins sloppy Gulf Coast Showcase opener

The way last night's game against the College of Charleston got started it seemed as if the members of the UConn women's basketball team thought they were still basking in the hot Florida sun.

After spending three days at a gorgeous resort in the Naples area, it was time to get to work for the Huskies. Then, on the first three possessions of the game UConn turned it over. By halftime UConn has matched its season high with 13 turnovers and the 23 committed by the Huskies were the most in a non-overtime game since the 26 turnovers in a Feb. 26, 2011 win over Georgetown.

"I think we were really anxious and it came across as us going way too fast," said sophomore forward Morgan Tuck, one of three Huskies with four turnovers in the 85-24 win. "I think that happens some times when you have time between games and we want to go out there and prove ourselves as a team. I think we got little caught up in that but I think we will settle down."

Seven different players had multiple turnovers and the only players not to commit one were walk-ons Tierney Lawlor and Briana Pulido.

"I don't like turnovers and I don't like dumb turnovers like we had today," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "When you play quickly like we were trying to play today, sometimes that happens. I can't explain it. I am not a big fan of good turnovers much less bad turnovers and we had a bunch of those today. Maybe it was the weather (referencing the frigid conditions inside Germain Arena), we haven't been in the Great Alaska Shootout in a long time so maybe it was the weather."

Auriemma will certainly address the carelessness with his team but he won't harp it so much that they are afraid to make plays n an attempt to cut down on turnovers.

"Talking about turnovers with their team, it is a fine line," Auriemma said. "If you are afraid to turn the ball over then you are afraid to take chances on making a pass that is wide open because you don't want to turn over. It has been my experience that early in the season is when turnovers are a problem especially the fact that Kia (Nurse) is a freshman, Tuck didn't play a lot last year so you've got two guys handling the ball a lot. I don't think we are going to turn it over 23 times tomorrow. It is a little bit of both, a teaching moment and sometimes you just have to move on."

The competition level will go up when the Huskies face Vanderbilt, a team just missing being ranked in the Associated Press top 25 poll.

"I have seen them play a lot, not this year, but over the years and I think Melanie Balcomb the head coach does as good a job as anybody we play against," Auriemma said. "Her teams look the same every year. They are very disciplined, they run their stuff, they are big, they know exactly what they want to do . They are very methodical in that way. Minnesota had a chance, they had the ball, they cut it to five and Vanderbilt got it back to 15. She has done a great job with this group. They lost two really good players from last year's team. We know one of them, she (Jasmine Lister) is on our staff as a graduate assistant. She is playing a lot of young guys so they are going to get a lot better. I hope they don't get better in the next 24 hours. It is not going to be as easy as it was today."

One thing to look for tonight is more than 10 shots from reigning national player of the year Breanna Stewart.

"I want her to get a lot of shots," Auriemma said. "I am not happy when she goes long stretches without touching the ball. It seemed like there were stretched when she didn't touch the ball for whatever reason.  We have to do a better job of getting her more touches, I am not saying she has to touch it every single possession but I thought there were times when she could have got it and wasn't really where she wanted to be to get it and there were times when she was open and we didn't get her the ball. It wasn't well coordinated today between her and some of our younger guys.

"It is always good when you win, you score a lot of points and your leading scorer doesn't have a lot of points. Hopefully that is a good sign for our other guys, that is what good teams are made of."

No player seems to have responded in a more positive fashion since the Stanford game than Tuck.

"In the Stanford game that was problem, we wee relying on Stewie to score all the points and for her to save us," Tuck said. "I think everybody realizes we have to step up, we have to help. Stewie is going to get her points. It is good for the team to build confidence that if they are double or triple teaming Stewie we can start hitting shots as well."

Friday, November 28, 2014

UConn's Mosqueda-Lewis returns in style

Dealing with a cough, stuffy nose and sore throat in the days following the loss to Stanford wasn't the toughest thing for Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis to contend with. No, it was the inability to wash away some of the disappointment after one of the worst performances of her collegiate career.

She was unable to practice for more than a week, missed Sunday's game against Creighton before finally feeling well enough to get back on the court. She returned to practice on Tuesday and in her first game action since the Stanford loss she had a game-high 21 points, a career high five steals to go with eight rebounds and four assists (a number which should have been around six or seven if not for some missed layups by her teammates) in an 85-24 win over College of Charleston in the opening round of the Gulf Coast Showcase.

"I was glad I came out and glad I impacted the game in a lot of different ways," said Mosqueda-Lewis, who moved into third place on UConn's career list for 3-pointers.
"It is something that is going to help my team more. My team needs me to do more than just be a shooter, I need to contribute in a lot of ways. It is something I want.
While Mosqueda-Lewis hit five 3-pointers in a game for the 18th time in her career and posted her 25th 20-point game, UConn coach Geno Auriemma was pleased with seeing her contribute in more ways than just hitting shots from the perimeter.
"It is a great step forward to get that much done," Auriemma said. "It was a good first day back, it is a good sign
"I was probably more impressed with things she did off the ball."

Mosqueda-Lewis could be seen coughing occasionally during the Nov. 17 loss to Stanford but it wasn't until after the game when the full brunt of the illness began to set in.
She returned to practice on Tuesday and was able to practice without restriction for the rest of the week.
"I was really anxious," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "After coming off a (game) like that (against Stanford) you want to come in and work on new things, just kind of get yourself in a different kind of a rhythm.
"It is definitely not something that anybody wants as a team or as a player. I want to make an impact. I am excited to have games where I can get out and work on some things."

College of Charleston was within five points after an Erin Hall 3-pointer with 16:37 left to play.

If there was a negative it was the season-high 23 turnovers.

"I don't like turnovers and I don't like dumb turnovers like we had today," Auriemma said. "When you play quickly like we were trying to play today, sometimes that happens. I can't explain it. I am not a big fan of good turnovers much less bad turnovers and we had a bunch of those today. Maybe it was the weather (referring to a chilly Germain Arena), we haven't been in the Great Alaska Shootout in a long time so maybe it was the weather."

Thursday, November 27, 2014

UConn's Tuck still trying to find her game

When she was on the court in her first two seasons at UConn Morgan Tuck was close to automatic whenever she got into the lane.

However, as she continues to shake the rust off after being limited to just eight games in an injury-shortened 2013-14 season, Tuck was be uncharacteristically off target when going in for layups in the first three games.

"Tuck never gets in trouble because she is not not being aggressive," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Morgan gets in trouble because she wants to win, she wants to play well so bad that she is 100 miles an hour so when Morgan Tuck misses a layup, it is because she is in a hurry. Maybe she is in a hurry to get a bunch of stuff done that she couldn't get done last year."

Tuck agreed with Auriemma that she does seem to be in a hurry.

"I know sometimes I get too into the moment and go 'all right, just turn and make a hook shot,'" Tuck said. "I think he is definitely right, I have to slow myself down a lot of the times ."

The good news is that Tuck is off to a strong start. It is easy to forget the many dimensions of her game until she is back on the court. There is no questioning that she has an on-court chemistry with Breanna Stewart which can be traced to the fact that they have known each other since they were 14.

Tuck drew praise from Auriemma for the screens she set against Creighton and she has the ability to score inside and out which helps ease some of the pressure that Stewart deals with from opposing teams.

"Having Morgan in the lineup, you saw what it does for Stewie just having another play in the lineup that can stretch the defense a little bit, that can pass the ball, you get somebody in there with Stewie that is going to make a couple of 3s, get people out of the lane and feed the post a little bit."


UConn signee Samuelson starts senior year in style

UConn signee Katie Lou Samuelson made it 2 for 2 with her second 30-point game in as many games in the Palisades Beach Invitational.

Samuelson had 31 points, nine assists and five steals as Mater Dei opened the season with 96-35 win over Long Beach Milikan on Tuesday and then she had 33 points in Wednesday's 74-32 win over Palisades. There are no games today so players can enjoy Thanksgiving. Mater Dei meets Oak Christian in Friday's semifinals.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Reunion time for UConn graduate assistant Jasmine Lister

As the UConn women's basketball traveling party made their way to the Naples/Fort Myers area there was little thought given to the opponent on the second day of the Gulf Coast Showcase.
The Huskies know better than to run before they walk so their focus was on the College of Charleston, who third-ranked UConn will play on Friday at 8:30 p.m. at Germain Arena.

However, for graduate assistant Jasmine Lister it isn't hard to hear the exuberance in her voice when she ponders the possibility of a second-round matchup with Vanderbilt.

Lister graduated last year after scoring 1,618 points and contributing 591 assists for Vanderbilt teams which played in the NCAA tournament in each of her four seasons including a game in Storrs against UConn in 2013.

"It would be very surreal," Lister said, "It would be weird because I will be on the other side and I won't be playing so it will be different."

Lister has gotten into the habit of checking the Vanderbilt box scores and she speaks occasionally with her former teammates and coaches.

"It will be nice to see how they are doing and see the new dynamic of the team," Lister said. "I definitely keep up and follow different things, keep up with them and talk to the . I get to hear who stands out and now see who stands out and how everybody is doing."

Lister has nothing but positive memories of her time. So what does she take from her time with the Commodores?

"How competitive every game was every time I played in that Vanderbilt jersey whether it is home or away everybody always came and gave their best, we had to stay on our toes and nobody was going to lay down for us," Lister said.

UConn has had graduate assistants in the past but normally it has been a former UConn player filling to role and seeing if they want to pursue a coaching career.

Lister has a former UConn star to thank for her opportunity.

"I played in the Seattle Storm training camp and I played with Sue Bird for a few days," Lister said. "After I got released CD (UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey) actually called her and said 'we have this GA open and do you have anybody in mind?' Sue said 'hey, there is this girl I played with in training camp and I don't know if she is planning to play overseas but here you go.' CD reached out to my coaches, they reached to me and said are you interested. It is crazy how perfect timing it was."

When she was cut by Seattle her agent worked on getting her a chance to play overseas but Lister put those plans on hold when the UConn opportunity presented itself.

"I didn't want to say no to this because I do want to get into coaching down the road maybe not this soon but this is a perfect opportunity where I can learn from the best coaching staff in the country and this is the best situation ever," said Lister, who works with UConn's guards and also helps organize UConn's male practice players and managers during practice.

"It is amazing," Lister said. "They are so (focused on) attention to detail, focused on every little thing and I try to pay attention that they pay attention to so I can see what they see and how they broke down a specific play."
Lister thought she wanted to get into coaching and now that she has been able to work alongside Hall of Famer Geno Auriemma and his staff, she definitely has been bitten by the coaching bug.
However, she has not turned her back on a professional playing career.

"If the opportunity presents itself I might (play overseas)," Lister said. "I want to play in the WNBA next year and that is a possibility as well I have to stay in shape and be ready for anything."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UConn's Mosqueda-Lewis, Stewart named to Wade Trophy watch list

Another day and another national award watch list appearance for the UConn duo of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart.

A day after they joined teammate Moriah Jefferson among 30 players named to the Wooden Award watch list, the duo joined 23 other players on the Wade Trophy list.

Former Hillhouse High star Bria Holmes, a junior guard at West Virginia, is also on the list.

UConn's Nurse toughness comes from brother

UConn coach Geno Auriemma has referenced the toughness of freshman Kia Nurse on more than one occasion.

When Nurse ponders where that competitiveness was developed she doesn't have to look very far. He older brother Darnell is a rugged defenseman who is a former No. 1 pick by the NHL's Edmonton Oilers and there were countless competitions between the two of them growing up.

"He is somebody who always pushed me," Kia Nurse said. "There is a sibling rivalry when you are younger you want your parent's attention, he always pushed me, he always told me how proud he was of me, told me to work harder so he has been a great influence."

Darnell Nurse made the Oilers out of training camp. After being a healthy scratch in the first two games of the season he made his NHL debut against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Nurse played 18:04 on Oct. 14 and saw 15:55 of ice time the next night against Phoenix.

The Oilers had nine games to decide to keep Nurse or send him back to Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League. The decision was made for Nurse to return to the OHL. He wasted little time making his presence felt as he had a point in his first 12 games including a four game goal-scoring streak. Both of those came to an end when he was held without a point in Sunday's 3-1 win over Kingston. Still, in 13 games he is tied for the team lead among defenseman (despite missing 10 games while he was with the Oilers) with 15 points.

"I am proud of him no matter what, he is doing a good job," Nurse said. "He is living his life, I am living mine but we keep in contact and it is great."

Monday, November 24, 2014

3 UConn players on Wooden Award watch list

UConn senior forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, junior forward Breanna Stewart and junior guard Moriah Jefferson were among 30 players named to the Wooden Award preseason watch list.

Former Hillhouse High star Bria Holmes, a junior at West Virginia, was also on the list.

Here is the complete list
 Name    School    Conference    Ht.    Yr.    Pos.
Jillian Alleyne    Oregon    Pac-12    6-3    Jr.    F
Rachel Banham    Minnesota    Big Ten    5-9    Sr.    G
Brittany Boyd    California    Pac-12    5-9    Sr.    G
Crystal Bradford    Central Michigan    MAC    6-0    Sr.    G
Lexie Brown    Maryland 
    Big Ten    5-9    So.    G
Nina Davis    Baylor    Big 12    5-11    So.    F
Kaela Davis    Georgia Tech    ACC    6-2    So.    G
Nneka Enemkpali    Texas 
    Big 12    6-1    Sr.    F
Bashaara Graves    Tennessee    SEC    6-2    Jr.    F
Reshanda Gray    California    Pac-12    6-3    Sr.    F
Allisha Gray    North Carolina    ACC    6-0    So.    G
Dearica Hamby    Wake Forest    ACC    6-3    Sr.    F
Sara Hammond    Louisville    ACC    6-2    Sr.    F
Isabelle Harrison    Tennessee    SEC    6-3    Sr.    C
Bria Holmes    West Virginia    Big 12    6-1    Jr.    G
Brittany Hrynko    DePaul    Big East    5-8    Sr.    G
Moriah Jefferson    UConn    The American    5-7    Jr.    G
Samantha Logic    Iowa    Big Ten    5-9    Sr.    G
Jewell Loyd    Notre Dame    ACC    5-10    Jr.    G
Tiffany Mitchell    South Carolina    SEC    5-9    Jr.    G
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis    UConn    The American    5-11    Sr.    F
Amber Orrange    Stanford    Pac-12    5-7    Sr.    G
Kelsey Plum    Washington    Pac-12    5-8    So.    G
Aerial Powers    Michigan State    Big Ten    6-0    So.    F
Breanna Stewart    UConn    The American    6-4    Jr.    F
Rachel Theriot    Nebraska    Big Ten    6-0    Jr.    G
Courtney Walker    Texas A&M    SEC    5-8    Jr.    G
Aleighsa Welch    South Carolina    SEC    6-0    Sr.    F
Elizabeth Williams    Duke    ACC    6-3    Sr.    C/F
Courtney Williams    USF    The American    5-8    Jr.    G

Sunday, November 23, 2014

UConn freshmen deliver in blowout win

Breanna Stewart has reached such a level at UConn that a game when she goes 10 for 10 from the field is hardly worthy of huge headlines.

We already knew that Stewart is a dynamic offensive player and she certainly showed that during Sunday's 96-60 win over Creighton finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Rebecca Lobo, who was 11 for 11 in a Dec. 23, 1994 win over Iona, is the only Husky to attempt more shots without missing than Stewart. However, after she hit baskets 26 seconds apart, she was 8 of 8 from the floor with 18:08 left to play. She spent the most of her time on the floor looking to get her younger teammates more involved in the action.

"It is wonderful playing with her," said UConn freshman Kia Nurse, who had 22 points in her first career start. " For her to hit 10 for 10, she is a great shooter so that doesn't blow my mind, To have her on the team, she makes us all better. She is a great teammate, she is a great leader and she works as hard as anybody. I think she helps us with our confidence."

Nurse joined a list including Sue Bird, Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi as the only UConn players to go perfect from 3-point range while attempting at least four treys.

"There are a lot of people who question that I am a good cook because I never cook a thing so it is hard to know if I am a good cook," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Kia Nurse, watching the Canadian national team play, it was hard to see if she was a good 3-point shooter because she was never allowed to shoot the ball. We have encouraged her to find her offense. There are days in practice when she does when she doesn't miss and other days when ... I am not ready to say she is a great 3-point shooter but she is better than people think, no question about it."

Nurse also drew the defensive assignment on Creighton's Marissa Janning, the Big East's preseason player of the year. Janning had a team-high 15 points but was just 6 of 21 from the field.
"It motivated me and I knew I had to get this assignment right just because of how I felt about myself in the last game," Nurse said. "It was definitely a big motivation. I am glad I had the challenge and I am probably going to have more challenges in the future."

Nurse was among the UConn players who took the loss to Stanford the hardest according to Auriemma.
"I watched the game film on the plane and saw where I definitely could have been better," Nurse said. "I talked to the older players, the veterans and told them exactly how I felt. I think it is taking it as motivation and that I can make a difference."

While Nurse didn't think she played well against Stanford, Williams didn't play at all and she understands why.

"It was a wakeup call for me," Williams said. "I haven't given the coaches any reason to trust me more. I really needed to step it up in practice, working hard in practice made it easy to have fun out
there. I definitely saw where I could help but I also knew why I didn't play at the same time. I think it is effort, not picking and choosing when to go hard, just keep going on every play, keep going, keep talking, keep being a good teammate."

Before the game it came out that Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis' flu-like symptoms would keep her out of the game. Auriemma said Mosqueda-Lewis will make the trip to Florida for the upcoming Gulf Coast Showcase but it remains to be seen if she has recovered well enough for her to return to the court. Auriemma said it is merely the flu and not a return of the mononucleosis

Also, freshman Courtney Ekmark is out 4-6 weeks with a stress reaction in her right foot.

"Just in the last couple of weeks she has been complaining about it," Auriemma said."Last night we got the MRI back, she has a stress reaction and it is the usual."

Nurse is Ekmark's roommate and said she is taking the news hard.

"She is a workhorse, she is in the gym all the time and to have an injury, especially this early it can be a little bit of a confidence buster," Nurse said. "I know she is going to keep doing what she is doing in practice, making sure she is bringing energy and maybe this will be a learning experience."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Class is in session after UConn's loss to Stanford

Perhaps the only thing worse than experiencing the bitter taste of defeat is sitting there and watching the replay of Monday's loss to Stanford over and over again.

Such is the life of a UConn women's basketball player.

UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma wasn't as disturbed that the Huskies lost on the road to a very good Stanford team but it was the manner in which the Huskies let a 10-point second-half lead evaporate.

With nearly a week between games there was plenty of time to break down the tape and then work on fixing the flaws exposed by the Cardinal.

"The young guys, they don't know what to make of it but the older guys I think are a little disappointed more with what we didn't do (as opposed to) some of the things we did do that defy explanation in some cases," Auriemma said. "We talk a lot of about when you win, it rally masks a lot of things that maybe we don't do well. When you shoot well it masks sometimes that your offense is not that good because if you make shots, it makes the offense look good."

The players, especially the five upperclassmen, knew the replay of the game was not going to be pretty and they were right.
"I am not saying it is ever good to lose but it is better to lose now than in the tournament," UConn senior center Kiah Stokes said. "It is a good test for us because we don't want to go through the season thinking we are really good and when we get tested later on, that is what happens. It is better that we got it out of the way now rather than later because we can work on it and focus on it. If we would have won the game, the feeling would have been different that 'this is a great play to help us win' now it is 'those are the plays that help us lose.' I saw a lot of things I could have done better and there were so many things we could have done. Film can only go so far to make sure we fixed it."

The players would love to see a team the caliber of Stanford coming into Gampel Pavilion. However, tomorrow's game against Creighton is the first of four straight against unranked opponents.

Still, the UConn players know a strong performance can wash away some of the bad taste left by the loss to Stanford.

"I watched the game, I learned from it and I can build on it," UConn junior guard Moriah Jefferson said. "It helped a lot. There's a lot of stuff that you feel in the game but you don't know what it looks like until you watch it. Looking back, it is something you don't ever want to see again so that is motivation to make sure I am pushing myself and my team as hard as I can.

"I am ready to get back on the court and show the type of team that we are because that team was obviously not the type of team that we are . We know that, we will learn from it and you will see a completely different team on Sunday."

Friday, November 21, 2014

Nurse moving into starting lineup for UConn

Considering how much UConn struggled defensively in Monday's loss to Stanford it was hardly a surprise to see the Huskies working on nothing but defense in the 40 or so minutes we were able to watch practice.

"We are not as good of a defensive team and that bothers me and we are not as good of an offensive team," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said.

If the UConn players were not aware of their defensive shortcomings before, they are now.

"Defensively, we didn't stick to the scout that the coaches gave us," UConn sophomore forward Morgan Tuck said. "We really need to focus on what the coaches are saying and actually executing."
When the Huskies return to the court on Sunday against Creighton, the desire to become a better defensive team will also result in a change in the starting lineup as Auriemma said he intends to start freshman Kia Nurse at shooting guard and will bring Saniya Chong off the bench. Nurse is a much better defensive player than Chong and Auriemma is confident Chong will thrive coming off the bench just as she did as a starter.

Auriemma admitted that Morgan Tuck, who has he said has been practicing as well as anybody in the last three weeks, could eventually find herself starting as well.

"I would probably in the last three weeks Tuck has been at a whole other level, she is playing great right now," Auriemma said. "We are going to find a way to start her down the road too, she is playing great."

Tuck wasn't wearing a brace on her surgically-repaired right knee but she said it was more of a case of its being so hot inside the practice facility than her proceeding without a knee brace.
Other than Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis missing practice as she continues to fight the flu, there's not much else to report off today's practice.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

UConn commit Dangerfield's team No. 1 in national rankings

USA Today released its first high school poll of the season and the No. 1 team is Blackman High out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee which is led by UConn commit and junior point guard Crystal Dangerfield.

Dangerfield had 11 assists as Blackman opened the season with a 67-57 win over Southwest DeKalb.

UConn signee Katie Lou Samuelson's Mater Dei squad checks in at No. 3. Mater Dei kicks off the 2014-15 season by playing Long Beach Jordan HS in the Palisades Beach Invitational.

Bridgeport to host 2016 & 2017 regionals

The NCAA announced the regional sites for the women's basketball Division I tournaments from 2016-2018.

Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport will host regionals in 2016 and 2017 with Albany getting the regional closest to UConn in 2018.

Lexington, Kentucky was the only city to receive regionals for all three years.

Bridgeport hosted regionals in 2006 and 2013 and subregionals in 2008 and 2012. UConn was sent to Bridgeport each time and the only loss came to Duke in the 2006 regional final.

With the NCAA going back to having the top 16 seeds hosting the first and second rounds, the Huskies likely won't have to play a game outside of Connecticut to reach the 2016 and 2017 Final Fours. The 2016 regionals will run from Mar. 25-28 with the dates of the 2017 regionals being Mar. 24-27.

Here's the list
2016: Bridgeport, Dallas, Lexington, Sioux Falls
2017: Bridgeport, Lexington, Oklahoma City, Stockton
2018: Albany, Kansas City, Lexington, Spokane

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

UConn signees Boykin, Collier, Samuelson on USA Today Preseason All-American team

USA Today posted its preseason All-American team and UConn incoming freshmen De'Jane Boykin, Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson as well as UConn commit Crystal Dangerfield are among the 15 players on the team.

Jaelyn Brown, Natalie Chou, Lauren Cox and Joyner Holmes, who are all on UConn's recruiting radar, also made the team.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thoughts after UConn's loss to Stanford

I know there are UConn fans despondent right now because the Huskies return home with a loss, albeit a hard-fought one. But for me, this was a lot of fun very reminiscent of some of the classic UConn-Tennessee games.

In men's basketball if the No. 1 team went on the road and lost in overtime to the No. 6 team, a program perennially in the Final Four, it would barely cause a raised eyebrow. However, with the methodical way UConn dismantles even top 10 teams both at home and on the road the expectation is that the Huskies were going to win this game by 25.

The best thing about this game is that more lessons will be learned than in 20 of the 104-55 games the Huskies are sure to play this season. Each player will be able to look at what transpired and see what could have been done better. The ones who didn't make an appearance need to practice in such a fashion that they become rotation players in the upcoming big games.

If there were three stars like in hockey I would go:
1. Tara VanDerveer whose defensive game plan was brilliant of shadowing Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis with Karlie Samuelson, who had the length to contest her shots, and then allow the frontcourt players in the game to collapse on Breanna Stewart whenever she got the ball in the lane.
2. Lili Thompson. The sophomore guard was spectacular. She had 24 points but it felt more like 44. She made so many key plays and fearlessly attacked the rim.
3. Karlie Samuelson. The sophomore didn't start but played 40 minutes. Her line of eight points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal may not blow anybody away but I wouldn't have thought she could have checked Mosqueda-Lewis as well as she did. Of course some of that falls onto Mosqueda-Lewis for allowing herself to be slowed down as much as she was.

There was a lot made of Chiney Ogwumike's graduation forcing Stanford players to have different roles. However, the departures of Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley were clearly felt by the Huskies. Other than Stewart and Mosqueda-Lewis, every other UConn player has a different role this season. Moriah Jefferson and Kiah Stokes are now being asked to be more of offensive threats than they were a season ago when it didn't matter whether they made a shot. Morgan Tuck missed the second half of the season due to her knee issues while Saniya Chong was rarely used in the games against ranked opponents in the second half of last season.

Chong did what she could to become a secondary scorer as she finished with a career-high 20 points, Tuck had it going late in the second half and in overtime before she fouled out and Nurse had some nice moments as well. But the reality is that when UConn needed shots to take some of the pressure off of Stewart, they weren't being made.

"They had a really great game plan which I am sure everybody else is going to copy, put three guys on Stewie and let everybody else shoot," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Nobody else wanted to make a shot except Saniya (Chong)."

Even with six of the seven UConn players who got into the game missing more shots than they made, UConn was in position to snap Stanford's 27-game home winning streak.
Mosqueda-Lewis, who tied a program record by sinking 10 3-pointers in a season-opening win over UC Davis on Friday, got free to hit her second and final trey to put the Huskies up by seven with 3:37 to play. The Huskies would make just one more field goal in rest of the second half to give Stanford a chance to steal the game.
Tuck grabbed the missed front end of a 1 and 1 by Jefferson to draw a foul and she made both free throws to put the Huskies up by three with 11.8 seconds left. On the ensuing possession UConn was so concerned about keeping Bonnie Samuelson from taking a 3 that they left Amber Orrange open. Orrange's 3-pointer was dead, solid perfect to force overtime.
"We ran a play for Bonnie, when she got the ball everybody kind of snuck over to her," Orrange said. "I was surprisingly calm when I took the shot."
On the other side of things, UConn Geno Auriemma immediately questioned his decision not to commit a foul which would have prevented Stanford from tying the game.
"Don't remind me of that," Auriemma said. "That is just inexcusable. I keep going back and forth, should I, should I and so far I haven't made the right decision very often. The kid makes a really, really tough shot."

The reality is that Orrange had a wide open 3 and I would think that in the chaos of everything that happened he was thinking about Orrange's tough runner in the lane in overtime and not the game-tying 3.
Three times in overtime UConn (1-1) had a three-point lead. But once Morgan Tuck fouled out with 3:23 left to play, the Huskies lost one of the performers making the most impact late in the second half and in overtime.
It didn't help matters that Stewart attempted just one shot in overtime. The only shot UConn made in the final 2 1/2 minutes was a layup by Chong when a 3-pointer was needed.
The game ended with seniors Mosqueda-Lewis and Stokes in the backcourt and Mosqueda-Lewis not even attempting a desperation heave at the buzzer.
"I am frustrated because there are things you wish you could have done better," said Stewart, who had 23 points and 10 rebounds. "My free throws were awful. After the coaches came in we talking about and pointed out that things have to change. This is not going to be one of those Connecticut teams as super successful if we don't change what we are doing now."
It should be noted that while UConn has won five national championships with perfect records, four other times there have been losses the Huskies suffered that have toughened them up. Time will tell if that is what happens with this group.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Stanford/UConn series has staying power

The list of prominent non-conference that have come and gone is a rather distinguished list.

The more dominant the UConn women's basketball team is the more difficult it is to get teams to sign up to play the Huskies. Some of it has to do with the realization that the Huskies are going to win and other times the opposing coach will get their feathers ruffled by outspoken UConn coach Geno Auriemma.

Through it all, however, the one constant is the UConn/Stanford series. This will be the sixth straight regular season that the Huskies and Cardinal will square off and seventh time in the last eight seasons. There are no plans to pull the plug on the series any time in the near future.

"I have never heard anybody say 'oh we have to rethink (the series) after this one,'" Auriemma said. "I think it is just 'hey we enjoy doing it. ' I think it benefits both sides. Things are kind of cyclical, there was a time when we played Stanford and we knew we couldn't beat them. We wanted to play them anyway. Then there was a time when we knew we were as good as them and we wanted to play them. There have been years when we knew we were better than them and it goes back to where we had won 90 in a row and they have beaten us. We recruit a lot of the same players, I think it is good for us, good for women's basketball and I hope it is good for them."

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer relishes the challenges of playing the best teams in the country and has always been that way during her Hall of Fame career. She also seems somewhat immune to Auriemma's caustic barbs that often alienate some other high-profile coaches.

"It might be that we are on the west coast, it is hard to fight with somebody 3,000 miles away," VanDerveer said. "We are not in the same conference, for the most part we don't recruit the same kids. I respect the job that Geno has done. The job that he does that I think benefits women's basketball the most is how he has female assistants and how he doesn't a great job of mentoring them, helping them get other jobs. You guys know him, he can get under people's skin, either I have a thick skin or I am oblivious but I like Geno and I basically say 'I am not fighting with you.' We always get along. I think we respect each other. I don't look for fights with people. I feel like life is too short and I don't have that much tread on my tire to be into individual battles. I am really about us leaders of women's basketball whether it is myself, Geno, (Notre Dame coach) Muffet (McGraw), (Baylor coach) Kim (Mulkey) whoever, we really need to stick together and get women's basketball better, we need more fans in the stands, we need to do things that create more enthusiasm."

Stanford also faces No. 4 Tennessee, No. 10 Texas and No. 11 North Carolina during the non-conference portion of the schedule while UConn has non-league showdowns with No. 2 South Carolina, No. 3 North Carolina and No. 7 Duke.

"That is the goal," Auriemma said. "If you are in the situation we are in and you don't play those games it is kind of disrespectful. You have fans who wants to see you compete against those people. We are always complaining in women's basketball that we don't get the respect that some other sports get, we don't get the recognition that the game deserves but all of a sudden you ask these big-time coaches why aren't you playing the kind of schedule you should be playing? They don't have a really legitimate answer for that. When you are at the level that Stanford is at, that Connecticut is at, you have to play that kind of schedule. You owe it to your players when you recruit them. You can't receive high-level players, you can't recruit high school all-americans and then say we are afraid to play so and so, so and so and so and so. Why don't you tell them that ahead of time and then they probably wouldn't go there."

Both Auriemma and VanDerveer know that national championships are not determined in November. Stanford and UConn have both reached the Final Four the same season that they lost a regular-season game in this season.

"Playing really good teams is good for the staff, it is good for our players," VanDerveer said. "They have great players and have a great team. They are a very well coached team and it just helps you get better. If you play a team, you win by 30 or 35 and kids don't box out it is hard to get their attention. If you don't box out against UConn they are going to get an O (offensive) board."

The live blog for tonight's UConn/Stanford game is now active so feel free to check it out.


No introductions needed for UConn and Stanford backcourt stars

Just in case people haven't been paying attention to the staggering amount of elite guards to come out of the DFW Elite AAU program, tonight's UConn/Stanford game will be reminder that as many top-flight backcourt phenoms come out of that part of the country.

UConn's starting point guard Moriah Jefferson hails from Glenn Heights, Texas while Stanford's high-scoring guard tandem of Lili Thompson and Amber Orrange are from Mansfield and Houston respectively.

"I played with both of them in the same AAU program and during the summer we have practices together so I know them well," Jefferson said.

"They are both really good players. I think they both bring something different to the table. Amber has always been really good getting to the rim and now she is knocking down open shots."

In a season-opening win over Boston College Thompson was 3 of 4 from 3-point range as she had a game-high 26 points. Orrange only attempted five shots as she finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

They both certainly know what Jefferson is capable of.
"She is a great guard," Orrange said. "She is a great defensive player so we have to take care of the ball when she is around the ball.

"She is competitive, she wants to win and wants to do whatever dirty work it takes for her team to win. She may not be the focal point of their offense but she does what they need her to do well."

The last time UConn and Stanford met in Maples Pavilion Jefferson played just four minutes and missed her only field-goal attempt in a 61-35 UConn win. Orrange played 29 minutes, missed all six of her shots, had no assists and four turnovers.

"It was just a learning experience," Orrange said. "You don't like the feeling of losing on your home court especially that way but I think we really learned from it."

Post players pile up assists in UConn's opener

When Stefanie Dolson walked off the court for the final time the UConn women's basketball program was bidding adieu to one of the best passing post players to ever play. UConn coach Geno Auriemma admitted that he was curious how the Huskies were going to replace that aspect of Dolson's game.

While it is dangerous to make too much out of a 59-point win over UC Davis on opening night, it should be noted that of the three players tying for the team lead with seven assists on Friday night two of them were forwards.

Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck not only had a career-high seven assists each but three of those 14 assists were either of the Stewart to Tuck or Tuck to Stewart variety.

"We have known each other for a very long time so I am sure that helps our connection on the court a lot," Tuck said. "A part of Stef's game that we really miss is her passing. I think everybody is trying to put in an effort to make up what we are missing from her."

Here is the breakdown of the assists
Moriah Jefferson 7 assists: 3 to Stewart, 3 to Mosqueda-Lewis, 1 to Chong
Breanna Stewart 7 assists: 2 to Mosqueda-Lewis, 1 each to Chong, Jefferson, Nurse, Stokes and Tuck
Morgan Tuck 7 assists: 2 each to Mosqueda-Lewis, Stewart, Williams, 1 to Chong
Saniya Chong 2 assists: 1 each to Jefferson and Mosqueda-Lewis
Courtney Ekmark 2 assists: 1 each to Chong and Tuck
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis 2 assists: 1 each to Nurse and Stewart
Kia Nurse 2 assists: 1 each to Mosqueda-Lewis and Williams

Speaking of Tuck, she downplayed the importance of her wearing a brace on her knee against UC Davis. She has been fitted with a few different braces and finally found one that fits the best.

"I prefer to not wear the brace but our trainer (Rosemary Ragle) thinks it is something I should do," Tuck said.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

UConn signee Samuelson getting support from sisters

Bonnie Samuelson has heard the chatter about her youngster sister and how Katie Lou was destined to follow Bonnie and middle sister Karlie to Stanford.

While Stanford supporters were hoping the family ties would result in Katie Lou becoming the third Samuelson sister to suit up for Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer, she opted for a different path. Katie Lou Samuelson, rated as the No. 1 player in the current high school senior class by most recruiting databases, signed her national letter of intent with UConn on Wednesday. Nobody was happier for Katie Lou than her two older sisters that she found the perfect school.

"We knew she was being recruited by them and recruited here and a lot of other places," Bonnie Samuelson said. "She is her own person and she has what she wants to do. I am going to support her in whatever she does in her life and that has always how it is been. Karlie and I are really happy for her. She got to sign her letter and she was very excited about that day at Mater Dei so that is pretty cool.

"We are very supportive of her and proud of her. I know when Jos (Josyln Tinkle) played her sister at Gonzaga her whole family did the whole half and half shirts so maybe they will do something (when Stanford and UConn play in the next two seasons).

"I think she is maturing well. It is awesome to see how great of a person she has become and how much her game has evolved. I barely get to see her because I have been up here for four years but every time I go home and see her she has just gotten better and better. One and one games are much more competitive than they used to be and she is taller than me too.

The younger Samuelson is expected to make the trip to Stanford to check out tomorrow's game.

For Bonnie Samuelson, there will be another familiar face as UConn senior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is a player she used to play with and against growing up.

"I am really excited to play against her tomorrow, it is going to be a really fun game," Samuelson said. "We know she is a phenomenal shooter and we have to contest her shot, try to limit her touches. We are going to do our best, we have been scouting the past couple of days and we are looking forward to putting up a good fight."

California trip extra special for UConn's Gabby Williams

Getting to play her first two games with the nine-time national champion UConn women's basketball team just a couple of hours from her Sparks, Nevada home was going to be extra special for freshman Gabby Williams. However, there was an added bonus when Williams played in Friday's UC Davis game.

"I got to see my sister pregnant for the first time because I have been gone so I got to see her belly and I got really emotional," Williams said after UConn's practice on Sunday at the Stanford practice facility.

Williams estimated that she had 30 friends and family members at the UC Davis  and some of her former coaches are planning to be at Maples Pavilion tomorrow when the Huskies play Stanford.

"It was really nice, I hadn't seen them in so long and even had some friends from high school who made the trip," Williams said.

Williams has been to Maples Arena before including the Dec. 29, 2012 game when UConn ended Stanford's 82-game home winning streak with a 61-35 victory.

"I have been in this (arena) a few times to see," Williams said. "I have seen UConn and Stanford play so it will be cool to be on the court. A couple of old coaches are coming too so it will be good to see them and I will have a lot of family coming too. It is just exciting to be here for the experience instead of just watching it."

So what did she enjoy the most about the way UConn played?

"It was awesome how well they moved the ball, just how disciplined they were, all the high energy they had from the bench and I knew I wanted to be a part of this program," Williams said.

Williams had six points, three rebounds and a steal in 13 minutes in Friday's 102-43 win over UC Davis as all four freshmen made their UConn debuts.

"Most of it was coming in and finding out what I could do, even if we are already winning what could I do to make sure I did something, can I say that I did something great," Williams said.

One experience Williams doesn't want to go through again is realizing she failed to pack both a left and right sneaker. That is what happened when she arrived at the XL Center for the final exhibition game against Post University and it resulted in her not getting into the game until the second half.

"I just grabbed the white shoes and assumed they were in there and they weren't. I think I had a heart attack when I unzipped my bag and I was in a state of panic," Williams said. "That will never happen again."

Saturday, November 15, 2014

UConn's streak at 19 and counting

There are few sure things in the sports world but the UConn women's basketball team winning its first game of the season is about as close to a gimme as you're going to get.

The last time the Huskies lost their first regular-season game came in 1995 with Louisiana Tech emerged with an 83-81 overtime victory in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Last night's 102-43 win over UC Davis is the 19th straight victory in season openers and each one of them are by at least 11 points. The victory moved the Huskies into a tie for the longest active winning streak with Notre Dame and Iowa State. However, the tie doesn't figure to last for long since Iowa State plays USC Upstate on Sunday.

Here's the list
Team Win streak (2014-15 home opener)Iowa State 19 (plays USC Upstate Sunday)
Connecticut 19 (UC Davis 102-43)
Notre Dame 19 (UMass Lowell 105-51)
Miami 18 (Oakland 66-53)
Oregon State 17 (Portland 87-65)
Florida State 16 (UAB 92-62)
Colorado 14 (plays North Dakota on Saturday)
North Carolina 14 (Howard 83-49)
Iowa 14 (plays Marquette Tuesday)
Stanford 14 (Boston College 96-63)
Purdue 13 (Ball State 66-60)
NC State 12 (Tennessee State 84-55)
Savannah State 11 (Columbia College 106-60)
Tulane 11 (Mississippi Valley State 87-47)
Duke 10 (plays Alabama on Sunday)

UConn thrived off electric atmosphere at UC Davis

The number of records that the UConn women's basketball program has set over the last 20 years simply are too numerous to list. However, last night's win at UC Davis, was a reminder of the glory days when the Huskies would set attendance records seemingly whenever they would go on the road.

Geno Auriemma didn't pull out his favorite line of "the circus is in town" which he has used countless times when describing the atmosphere when the Huskies hit the road. He was clearly thrilled to be a part of the largest women's basketball crowd in the history of The Pavilion, a building that opened in 1977.

"I heard the public-address announcer talk about this is the largest crowd they have ever had in here for a women's game," Auriemma said. "You know how I feel when we walk into the building and that is the case. I think that is great for women's basketball, it is great for the home team. I always wish they would play really, really well so a lot of people will come back. We enjoy being in that environment. The hardest thing is to walk into the gym and there are 300 people in the gym, you feel like you'd rather be in a gym practicing. But when you walk into a gym like this, the energy level is there and it is exciting to know what it going on, it gets our juices flowing too."

Both teams were clearly fired up at the outset. In the opening 3:38 the teams combined to make six 3-pointers in the opening 3:32. Seven of the first eight shots attempted were 3-pointers and seven of them found the bottom of the basket. Had the teams kept up the frenetic early pace the final score would have been 213-142.

The Huskies continued to connect from downtown tying a program record with 18 made 3-pointers with Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis making a record-tying 10 of them.

"When a team like UC Davis is playing like they did you just try to take advantage of those open shots you get," Mosqueda-Lewis said.

"It is fun when it is going to be competitive and they (UC Davis) aren't going to give up."

Mosqueda-Lewis led the way with 30 points but had plenty of help as Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, Morgan Tuck and Kiah Stokes teamed with Mosqueda-Lewis for 75 points, 23 rebounds, 23 assists, seven steals and five blocks. All of those totals topped the output for the entire UC Davis team.
"It is not anything new to them so I would have been disappointed if those five had not handled themselves as I thought they should and they did," Auriemma said. "Given all that they have been though in their careers at Connecticut, I would think they would relish an opportunity like this."

Another key performer in the game was freshman Kia Nurse. UC Davis was 3 of 6 from the field with no turnovers in the first 4:08. During the first 4:42 that Nurse was in the game the Aggies committed four turnovers and were 2 of 8 from the field.

"She is a pretty aggressive kid and she doesn't hesitate," Auriemma said of Nurse. "She is a little bit older (basketball wise) than a lot of freshmen, she has more experience than most normal freshmen and she gives us something coming off the bench. I was not happy with Saniya in the beginning of the game. It is like everybody that Saniya goes near makes an open 3 because they are open and by the time she gets there the ball is already gone. We knew that once Kia got into the game for us that things would change defensively and they did and then Saniya got a lot better. It is funny how that works as the game went on defensively. Kia is different, she is not like most freshman, the kid has something special in her."

Mosqueda-Lewis lights it up for UConn

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis wasn't quite sure what to expect as she played a game in her native California for just the second time during her brilliant collegiate career. She was certainly not anticipating a performance for the ages.

Mosqueda-Lewis tied Maya Moore's single-game UConn mark with 10 3-pointers and the Huskies matched the team mark with 18 3-pointers. Both records were set in a 2009 game against Syracuse.

"We definitely haven't been shooting in practice," said Mosqueda-Lewis, who moved into fourth place on UConn's career 3-point list. "When one person misses it kind of turns into a snowball effect and I think it also has to do with good shooters like Stewie (Breanna Stewart) and me taking responsibility after we miss a couple, we have to make one."

The starting backcourt of Saniya Chong and Moriah Jefferson combined to go 7 of 8 from 3-point range while Stewart made the Huskies' other trey.

However, the star of the night was Mosqueda-Lewis who had close to 25 family members and friends in the stands directly behind the UConn bench. Many of them were wearing blue t-shirts with the No. 23 on them and a few signs could be seen from her most loyal of supporters.

"It was special to do it in front of my family and friends," said Mosqueda-Lewis, who finished with 30 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists.

What exactly did Mosqueda-Lewis do?
"She put on a show for everyone," Stewart said.

UC Davis played a zone knowing it couldn't match up inside with the Huskies' post duo of Stewart and Kiah Stokes. The result was  giving up plenty of open looks on the perimeter.

"If they miss a couple of those shots, we can keep it interesting for a while," UC Davis coach Jennifer Gross said. "I thought we were playing well and we were down 12. They kept pushing that margin out just a little bit more. The problem is you miss one or two shots and they are still missing them. it is really pick your poison, there were kids who we were challenging to shot and we were packing it in the paint a little bit more. They stepped up and make every one. We went into the game knowing Kaleena could shoot the but yet she continued to get open looks."

In Auriemma's eyes the most impressive aspect of Mosqueda-Lewis' game wasn't the 10 made 3-pointers but that she came out with an aggressive mentality on offense.

"K is as good a shooter as I have ever seen at any level," Auriemma said. "I get disappointed when she doesn't make open shots and I get disapopinted when she passes up open shots because I just think when you are that gifted, that skilled, you should be looking to do what she did tonight. She was looking for those opportunities.

"I think as you get older you automatically become a better shooter you mentally don't understand what goes into being a good shooter. You mentally let it go, you don't even know why it is going in or not going in. When it is not going in when you are a freshman, you begin to pout like Kaleena did at times because it is such a big part of who you are. When it doesn't go in you start to mentally, you get out of your comfort zone. As you get older and when you become a senior you don't let one miss affect you, what you did is you build on makes so when those first three go in, the next five are going to go in."


Friday, November 14, 2014

Live blog for UConn/UC Davis game

The live blog for tonight's season opener against UC Davis is now up and running.

UConn looking for its 19th straight win in season openers

Reminder that no TV for UConn opener

As I mentioned a few days ago, tonight's season opener will be the only UConn women's basketball game not on television.

The game is available on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. As a DirecTV subscriber, I know you can't get ESPN3 on DirecTV unless you happen to be on a college campus. I received an email earlier today from a reader who reached out to Frontier Communications (which took over AT&T U-verse in 26 states including Connecticut) and he was told that ESPN3 is not available and there is no timetable for adding it in Connecticut.

Below is the list of cable and satellite companies carrying ESPN3 from the ESPN site. If you don't see your provider on this list or haven't tried to watch events on ESPN3 before, I would suggest calling them to verify that they don't offer ESPN3.

ESPN3 Participating Providers 

3 Rivers Communications Website:
Access Cable Television, Inc.
Access Montana
Acme Communications
Advanced Communications Technology Website:
Alameda Power & Telcom Website:
Algona Municipal Utilities Website:
All West Communications
Allen's TV Cable dba ATVCi Website:
Alliance Communications
ALLO Communications
Alpine Communications Website:
Alyrica Networks, Inc Website:
American Broadband Website:
Antietam Cable Television, Inc. Website:
Ardmore Telephone Website:
Arkwest Communications
Armstrong Website:
Arrowhead Website:
Arthur Mutual Website:
Ashland Home Net
AT&T U-verse Website:
ATC Website:
ATC Broadband
ATC Communications
Athena Broadband Website:
Atlantic Broadband Website:
Atlantic Telephone Membership Corporation (ATMC) Website:
Ayersville Website:

Baja Broadband Website:
Baldwin Telecom, Inc.
Barbourville Utility Commission Website:
Bardstown Cable Internet (BISI) Website:
Bardstown Cable TV
Bay Country Communications Website:
Bay Creek Communications
Beaver Valley Cable
BEK TV Website:
Bernard Communications Website:
Big Bend Telecom Website:
BitWise Communications, Inc. Website:
BLTV Website:
Blue Ridge Communications Website:
Brandenburg Telephone Co.Website:
Bright House Networks Website:
Bristol Tennessee Essential Services Website:
BroadbandCTI, LLC Website:
BTC Communications
BTC dba Western Iowa  Website:
Bulloch Telephone Cooperative Website:
Burlington Telecom Website:
Butler-Bremer Communications
BVU Optinet Website:

C Spire
Cable ONE Website:
Cable Services Inc.
Cable Systems of Nevada Website:
Cable TV of East Alabama
Cable TV of Stanton
CallUtah LLC dba SumoFiberWebsite:
Cam-Tel Company
Cambria Connected Website:
Cameron Communications Website:
Canby Telcom Website:
CapRock Tv
Carnegie Cable
CAS Cable Website:
Cascade Link LLC Website:
Catalina Cable TV Company Website:
Cavalier IPTV LLC
Mid-Atlantic : (800) 683-3944(VA, MD, PA, DE, NJ, DC customers)
 Midwest: (800) 374-5364 (MI, OH business customers)
 Southeast: (888) 432-4855 (AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, TN customers)
CC Communications Website:
CDE Lightband Website:
Cedar Falls Utilities Website:
Celect Communications, LLC
Celect-Bloomer Telephone Area
Celect-Bruce Telephone Area
Celect-Citizens Connected Area
Celect-Elmwood Spring Valley Area
Celect-West WI Telephone Area
Cencom Inc. Website:
CentraCom Website:
Central Cellular, LLC, dba COTC Connections Website:
CenturyLink Prism  Website:
Charter  Website:
Chatmoss Cablevision
Chesnee Communications Website:
Chippewa Valley Cable
Cim-Tel Cable, LLC.
Cincinnati Bell, Inc.  Website:
Citizens Cablevision - Floyd, VA
Citizens Cablevision, Inc.
Citizens Mutual Website:
Citizens Telecom
Citizens Telephone Cooperative Website:
Citizens Telephone Corporation
City of Auburn Website:
City of Monroe Website:
City of Sallisaw  Website:
City of Wilson Website:
Clarence Telephone and Cedar Communications
Clariti Media Website:
Clinton Cable Inc.
CML Telephone Cooperative Association
CNS Website:
Coaxial Cable TV
Colo Telephone Company
Columbia Power & Water Systems
Columbus Datacentric Website:
Columbus Telephone
Comcast XFINITY  Website:
Community Communications Company
CoMPAS Cable Website:
Comporium Website:
Comspan Communications Website:
Consolidated Website:
Consolidated Cable Vision, Inc. Website:
Consolidated Communications  Website:
Conway Corporation
Copper Valley Solutions Website:
Cordova Telephone Cooperative Website:
Cox  Website:
Craigville Telephone Co., Inc. Website:
Crestview Cable Communications
Cross TV
Crosslake Communications
CRST Telephone Authority
Phone: (605)964-2600
CST Communications  Website:
CT Communications Network
CTC - Brainerd MN  Website:
CTC Telecom Website:
Cunningham Telephone & Cable
Cybernet1, Inc Website:

Website: Dakota Central Telecommunications
Darien Communications Website:
Davis Communications Website:
Delcambre Telephone Co Website:
Delta Telephone Company
Digital Agent, LLC Website:
Direct Communications Cable Website:
Direct Communications Cedar Valley, LLC Website:
DISH  Website:
Dixie-Net, Inc. Website:
Dubois Telephone Exchange Website:
Duo County Telecom

Eagle Communications
Eagle Valley Telephone Website:
East Arkansas Cable TV
Elauwit Networks Website:
ElbertonNET Website:
Emery Telcom Video LLC
Endeavor Communications
Enhanced Telecommunications Corporation
EPB Fiber Optics
EPB Smarnet
EPlus Broadband  Website:
Etex Communications

Falcon Broadband Website:
Farmers Mutual (Stanton, IA)  Website:
Farmers Mutual Telephone Co. Website:
Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative Website:
Farmers Telephone Cooperative Website:
Fayetteville Public Utilities
Felton Telephone Company Website:
FiberNet Monticello Website:
Fibersphere Communications Website:
Fidelity Communications
Flint River Communications
Foothills Website:
Frankfort Plant Board Website: www.fewpb.comt
Franklin Telephone Company
Phone: 866-931-5256
Fulton Telephone Company Website:

GardenValley Website: Website:
GBT Communications, Inc.
GCEC Telecom Website:
GCI Website:
Giant Communications
Giles-Craig Communications Inc. Website:
Glandorf Website:
Glasgow Electric Plant Board
Glenwood Telecommunications LLC. Website:
Glenwood Telephone Company Website:
GLW Broadband
Golden West Cablevision Website:
Google Fiber  Website:
Grafton Technologies, Inc. Website:
Grand Mound Communications Website:
Grand River Mutual Telephone Corporation Website:
Grande Communications
Phone: 1-877-6 GRANDE
Great Plains Communications
Green Hills Communications, Inc. Website:
Green Mountain Access Website:
Greenlight Dunnellon Communications Website:
GTC Video Website:
Guam Cablevision, LLC Website:
GulfPines Communications, LLC
Telephone: (662) 401-3275
Gumlog Broadband
Website: www.gumlog.netHardyNet

Hargray Website:
Harlan Municipal Utilities
Hart Communications, Inc. Website:
Hawaiian Telcom
Hayneville Holdings Website:
Heart of Iowa Communications Cooperative
HEMC Broadband Website:
Hiawatha Broadband Communications
Phone: (507) 474 4000
Hickory Telephone Company
High Speed Utah Website:
Highland Communication Services
Hinton CATV Co.
Home Communications, Inc. Website:
Home Telephone Company (Minnesota) Website:
HomeTel Entertainment, Inc.
Hood Canal Communications
Hope - Prescott Cable TV
Horizon Cable TV, Inc.
Horry Telephone Cooperative, Inc. Website:
Hotwire Communications Website:
HTC Communications Co.
HTC Communications, Inc. - IA
Huxley Communications

IGL TeleConnect Website:
ImOn Communications
InfoStructure Website:
Inland Networks
Innovative Cable TV St Croix
Innovative Cable TV St Thomas-St John
Inside Connect Cable
Phone: 469-417-0314
 Insight in Columbus, Ohio does not have access to ESPN3.
Integra Telecom - Prior Lake, MN Website:
Intermountain Website:
Internet Nebraska
Interstate Telecommunications Coop
Iowa Network Services
Phone: 515-830-0110 or 1-800-CALL-INS
 Only Kalona Cooperative Telephone and Clear Lake Telephone (aka Northland Communications) customers have access
Irvine Community Television, Inc. Website:

Kalida Telephone Company, Inc.
Kalona Cooperative Telephone Company
KanOkla Communications Website:
Knology Website:
KPU Telecommunications
Kraus Cable TV Website:
Kuhn Communications Inc.

La Porte City Telephone Company Website:
Laurel Highland Total Communications
Laurens Municipal Power & Communications Website:
Liberty Cablevision
Phone: 787-355-3535  Website:
Limestone Cable / Bracken Cable
LISCO Website:
LocalTel Communications
Logan Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Longview - Kilgore Cable TV
Loretel Communications Website:
Loretto Website:
Lost Nation-Elwood Telephone Co.
LR Communications Website:
Lumos Networks
LUS Fiber Website:
Lycom Communications, Inc. Website:

Madison Communications
Madison County Cable Inc.
Magazine Website:
Mahaska Communication Group Website:
Manning Municipal Communications Website:
Marco Island Cable, Inc. Website:
Master Vision Broadband Website:
Matanuska Telephone Association, Inc. Website:
McClure Telephone Company  Website:
McDonald Country Internet Service, Inc.
Phone: (417)-529-8450  Website:
MCTV Mediacom  Website:
Merrimac Communications Ltd.
Message Express Internet Website:
MI Connection Website:
Mid-Hudson Cable
Mid-Plains Website:
Mid-Rivers Communications
Midcontinent Communications  Website:
Midstate Communications
Milford Communications
Minerva Valley Telephone Co Website:
Mobius Communications Co. Website:
Monon Telephone Co. Inc. Website:
Morris Broadband  Website:
Moundville Telephone Co., Inc. Website:
Mountain Rural Telephone Coop. Website:
MTA Communications, LLC
MTC Cable
Phone: 845-586-3311  Website:
MTC Technologies
MTCO Communications Website:
MTE Communications Website:
Mulberry Telephone Company
Murray Electric System Website:
Muscatine Power and Water

Nebraska Central Telecom, Inc.
Nelson Cable Inc Website:
Nelson Telephone Cooperative
Nemont Communications Inc Website:
New Hope Telephone Cooperative  Website:
New Paris Telephone's Quality Cablevision Website:
New River Valley Unwired Website:
New Visions Powerline Communications, Inc Website:
New Wave  Website:
Newbreak Management Co. LLC dba Newbreak Communications
Newroads Telecom Website:
NewWave Communications  Website:
NineStar Connect
Nortex Communications
North Central Telephone Cooperative
North State Communications Website:
Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company Website:
Northern Telephone Cooperative, Inc. Website:
Northland Communications
Northwest Communications
Norwood Light Broadband
NPG Cable, Inc.
Nsight Telservices
NTELOS Media Inc.
Phone: 1-877-4 NTELOS or 1-800-262-2200  Website:
Nyecom Teleservices, Inc. Website:

Omintel Communications Website:
OneNet Website:
OneSource Communications
Opelika Power Services  Website:
OpenBand Multimedia
Optilink Website:
Optimum  Website:
Oregon Telephone Corporation Website:
OTEC Communication Company
otelco Website:

Palmetto Website:
Park Region Telephone & Otter Tail Telcom
Paul Bunyan Communications
PAXIO Inc. Website:
PBT Communications Website:
PEAK Website:
Pembroke Telephone Company
People's Telecom Website:
Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative
Phone: 713-272-4600  Website:
Phonoscope Cable
Pine Belt Cellular Inc. Website:
Pine Bluff Cable TV
Pineland Telephone Cooperative, Inc. Website:
Pinpoint Communications
Pioneer Website:
Pioneer Communications
Pioneer DTV
Plant Telenet Website:
Plantation Cablevision, Inc. Website:
Planters Telephone Cooperative Website:
Plateau Telecommunications Website:
Porchlight Website:
Pottawatomie Telephone Co.
Prairie Grove Telephone Company Website:
Premier Communications Website:
PRTCommunications LLC. Website:
Public Service Data Inc. Website:
Puerto Rico Telephone Company, Inc. Website:

QX Networking & Design Website:

Rainbow Communications Website:
Rainier Connect
Randolph Telephone Website:
RC Technologies Corporation Website:
RCN  Website:
Red River Rural Telephone Association Website:
Reds TV & Cable, Inc. Website:
Reedsburg Utility Commission
Reserve Long Distance Telephone Co, Inc Website:
Reserve Telecommunications
Resort TV Cable
Ripley Cable Website:
Ritter Communications Website:
River Valley Telecommunications Coop
RMA Broadband & Cable TV
road9 Website:
Rock Port Cablevision
RT Communications Website:
RTC Communication Corp
Rural Telephone Company Website:
Russellville EPB Website:

Salem Communications
San Bruno Municipal Cable TV Website:
Sandhill Website:
SCI Broadband-Savage Communications Inc.
Scott County Telephone Coop Website:
Scottsboro Electric Power Board Website:
Service Electric Cable TV & Communications  Website:
Service Electric Cablevision
Service One Cable TV dba Clear Choice
Shawano Website:
Shen Heights
Phone: 570-462-1911  Website:
Shentel Website:
Sherwood Mutual Telephone Association, Inc.
Silver Star Communications
Sjoberg's Inc. Website:
SKT  Website:
SkyBest TV
Slic Network Solutions Website:
Smithville Website:
South Central Rural Telephone Cooperative
South Central Wireless Website:
South Holt Cablevision
South Plains Telephone Cooperative Website:
South Slope Cooperative Communications
Southwest Arkansas Telephone Cooperative, Inc Website:
Spencer Municipal Utilities
Phone: 712-580-5800  Website:
Spruce Knob Seneca Rocks Telephone Website:
SRT Communications, Inc. Website:
St Joseph Cablevision
Stratuswave Communications Website:
Suddenlink  Website:
Suite 224
Website: /
Summit Broadband Website:
Sumner Cable TV
SureWest Broadband  Website:
SureWest Kansas Communications Website:
Sweetwater Cable Television Co
Swiftel Communications Website:

Tahlequah Cable TV
TCT West, Inc.
TEC Website:
Tel-Star Cablevision, Inc Website:
Tele-Media Company
Teleguam Website:
Thacker-Grisgsby Communications Website:
The Community Agency
The Ringgold Telephone Company, Inc Website:
The Walt Disney Company
Time Warner Cable Website:
Topsham Communications, LLC Website:
Town of Pineville (dba PTC) Website:
Trenton Telephone Company Website:
Tri County Communications Cooperative
Tri-County Telephone Website:
TriCounty Telecom Website:
Troy Cablevision, Inc.  Website:
Tullahoma Website:
Tullahoma Utilities Board
TV Cable Company of Andalusia, Inc. Website:
TV Service, Inc Website:
TVC, Inc. Website:
Twin Valley

Union Telephone Company
United Communications Website:
United Telephone Mutual Aid Corp Website:
US Sonet
USA Communications
USA Communications/Shellsburg, IA

Valley Telecommunications
Valparaiso Website:
Valparaiso Broadband
Venture Communications Cooperative, Inc.
Verizon FiOS  Website:
Vernon Communications
Vicksburg Video
VIKING Broadband, Inc. Website:
Vision Communications
Vol First/BLTV
Volcano Vision, Inc.
vtx Website:
Vyve Broadband

Wabash Mutual Telephone Company
Wadsnet Internet Service Website:
Waitsfield Cable
Waldron Communication Company  Website:
Walnut Communications
Wave Broadband
Waycross Cable Company, Inc Website:
Webster-Calhoun Cooperative Telephone Association Website:
WEHCO dba Cablelynx Website:
West Alabama TV Cable Company, Inc. Website:
West Carolina Communications
West Central Telephone Association
West River Cooperative Telephone Company
Western Broadband Website:
Western Iowa Networks
Western Iowa Telephone Association Website:
Whidbey Telecom Website:
White County Cable TV
WideOpenWest Finance, LLC Website:
Wilkes Telecommunications Website:
Wilkes Telephone & Electric Company Website:
Wilson Communications
Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association
Wire Tele-View Corp Website:
WOW!  Website:
WTC Communications, Inc Inc Website:
Wyandotte Municipal Services Website:

Yadkin Website:
Yadtel Telecom  Website:
Yelcot Video Group, Inc. Website:

Zito Media
Zona Communications Website: