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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

UConn recruiting targets, U-17 teammates square off

Right to the very end Natalie Chou and Lauren Cox were filling up the stat sheet.

Chou missed a 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds to play and Cox was able to beat the rest of the players down the court for a layup just before time expired in last night's Plano West/Flower Mound game featuring the two UConn recruiting targets and teammates on the U.S. squad which won the 2014 FIBA U-17 World Championship for Women.

Chou finished with 20 points, four rebounds and five assists in Plano West's 70-47 victory while Cox led Flower Mound with 22 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.

It's not every day that you go to a high school game and see two of the top projects in the Class of 2016 go head to head as Chou and Cox did on both ends of the court for much of the game in front of a nice crowd which included UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey.

I missed the early portion of the game because I made the mistake of heading to the first basketball court I saw at Flower Mound High School only to realize it was the one used for the JV game and by the time I walked around the corner to the larger arena, the game was midway through the first quarter.

The highlight had to come late in the second quarter. Cox came up with a steal but was falling out of bounds and had to blindly throw a pass to avoid losing possession. Plano West got the ball back and Chou (who had a couple of her shots blocked by Cox) made three straight post moves that would have made former Boston Celtics star Kevin McHale green with envy but could not shake off the pesky defense by Cox. After Plano West got the offensive rebound, Chou moved out to the perimeter and hit one of her three 3-pointers.

I found out the hard way that there were two entrances to the visiting locker room so I never got to speak to Chou but did chat with and understandably downtrodden Cox after the game.

Chou's role with Plano West not too much different from the one she played with the U-17 thanks to a strong supporting cast led by Harvard commit Sydney Skinner who had seven 3-pointers and 25 points in last night's win. However, Cox has to do a little bit of everything including being a press breaker for Flower Mound. When she was able to get position in the low post, she scored nearly every time but Flower Mound's inability to handle the Plano West press kept her from spending as much time as she would have liked within a shadow of the basket.

"I have to handle to ball more here," Cox said. "I am trying to be a leader. We are just working hard, we are trying to make a strong district run. We are just working hard in practice every day and get better."

With Plano West and Flower Mound both in the 6-6A district, Chou and Cox have squared off before but this was the first meeting since they played together on the U.S. U-17 squad.

"It is always fun playing against her. we played together so it is always fun going against her," Cox said. "It gives both of us a competition."

Cox seems to handling the pressure that goes with being the most sought after player in her class. When coaches come to see her play, Cox appreciates it but at this time the recruiting side of things is pretty low on her priority list.

"I just don't really pay attention, I wave at them after a game," Cox said. "It doesn't matter who is in the stands, it's all about what happens on the court.

"I have a list of 13 schools and I am not going to have a date where I am cutting it to this number."

I thought it was funny that Cox pulled out her phone to make sure she got all the schools currently on her list.

Here is the list in the order she gave them to me although she did say they are in no particular order.

UConn, Duke, Notre Dame, UCLA, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Oklahoma, Louisville, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and SMU

Cox said she has no idea when she will be committing.

With UConn and SMU, two of the teams on her list, playing tomorrow afternoon you would figure Cox will be at that game, right?

She coaches 12 year olds on the club volleyball team she used to play on and with a tournament this weekend, she isn't sure she can make it to Moody Coliseum on Sunday.

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