Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Reserve roles still work in progress at UConn

Geno Auriemma is not a huge fan of uncertainty. His players have learned over the years that if he doesn't know what you are going to bring to the table when you come into the game, chances are that you playing time is going to be hard to come by.

The Hall of Fame coach has a nice vibe about his starting five of Moriah Jefferson, Kia Nurse, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck and knows that Kiah Stokes will rebound, play solid defense and block shots when called upon. After that, however, he isn't quite sure what to expect.

That was never more evident that in yesterday's St. John's game when Saniya Chong played just six minutes (only the second time this season she failed to play at least 10 minutes) and the freshman duo of Courtney Ekmark and Gabby Williams did not check into the game for the first time until 1:48 remained on the clock.

After the 70-54 win over the Red Storm Auriemma was asked if he liked where the bench was after they combined for a season-low two points.

"I like it where it is," Auriemma deadpanned. "If it was anywhere else they wouldn't be able to see the game. I am just not crazy with who is sitting there. You know what they are, I can't even describe it. They are hard to figure out.

When Kiah Stokes comes into the game, she is going to play good defense, she is going to rebound the ball and block shots. We tend to go crazy on the offensive end with the things she does and doesn't do but we know what she is going to do and it is like that every day. The other guys I still don't know from day to day what they are going to do. It is one of those 'I want to play them but I don't know what I am going to get so I play them a little bit.'"

One problem is that on paper the list of games between now and a Feb. 9 game against No. 1 South Carolina figure to be more like the recent 89-38 win at East Carolina rather than yesterday's competitive contest at the Maggie Dixon Classic. So if the reserve players light it up when they come into a 30 or 40-point game is that an indication that they have turned the corner? Ultimately, the emergence of players like Chong, Ekmark and Williams won't be fully known until the Huskies face a team that has push back and make the Huskies work.

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