Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A little rest does wonders for UConn

Geno Auriemma has a knack for knowing when the push his team to the limit and when to back off a little bit.

With the way the Huskies barely had to break a sweat during games, especially in the American Athletic Conference portion of their schedule, he really turned up the pressure in practice. However, realizing that it is a long journey from the first official practice in mid October to the national championship game next month, Auriemma gave the Huskies three basketball-free days after the conclusion of the AAC tournament.

"It was good for our team, especially playing three games in three days in a row is kind of tough on your body at this point in the season," UConn senior forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis said. "We definitely needed a break mentally and physically."

UConn won't play on back to back days for the rest of the season. The first and second round games will be played on Saturday and Monday and the Albany Regional is also on a Saturday/Monday schedule with the Final Four  featuring Sunday semifinals and a Tuesday championship game.
"Three days off and then we got back into the gym," UConn junior guard Moriah Jefferson said. "It lets your body recover. You play three games in a row, you start trying to get fast break points and your legs start to feel the after affects of that.

"I think for the most part practices have been really good, we have done a lot better within these couple of practices. We know we are far from perfect. We have to go back and look at that, see the things we were doing wrong and fix them."

Perhaps no player needed a couple of days off more than freshman guard Kia Nurse.

She had multiple training camps with the Canadian national team heading into the FIBA World Championship for Women where Nurse was a starting guard during Canada's surprising run to a fifth place finish. When she got back to campus, she had plenty of catching up to do especially academically. Then it was straight into the grind of a long season.

Nurse played a season low 14 minutes in the AAC title game and it was the only time this season that she failed to score. Perhaps three days away followed by scaled back practices will be just what Nurse needs to return to playing like she did when she was inserted into the starting lineup before the third game of the season.

"A couple days off here and there, unwinding, kind of getting back into the (cycle) of rejuvenation and it just makes practice better and we are ready to go," Nurse said. "We are just focusing on what we are good at right now, perfecting that and making sure that is going really well."

At this time of the year the amount of national attention the UConn basketball programs get tends to increase.

Right on cue, Sports Illustrated did a 48-photo slideshow featuring a familiar face at Gampel Pavilion. However, it wasn't a member of either the men's or women's basketball team but cheerleader Kristi Pratt who was honored as SI's Cheerleader of the Week.

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