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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Freshman year been a trying one for UConn's Ekmark

Courtney Ekmark has 53 points, 39 rebounds
and 19 assists in 26 games as freshman at UConn
This was not how Courtney Ekmark was expecting her freshman season to go.

The highly-touted 6-foot guard from Phoenix figured to add another perimeter shooter to the UConn lineup. However. after recording three rebounds, two assists and three steals in 19 minutes in a season-opening win over UC Davis, any hope Ekmark had of immediately building on that performance were slowed when she was sidelined due to a stress reaction in her right foot.

It was a month and a half before she would appear in another game. But even she was able to get back on the court, the sweet-shooting Ekmark struggled to find the range both in practice and in games. She was 2 for 3 from 3-point range in a Jan. 7 win over Tulsa and 2 for 2 in a Feb. 23 win over Tulane but in the other games she was 5 for 30 from 3-point range before hitting a trey in Saturday's win over Texas.

"Getting the injury was unfortunate and unlucky but it has been an awesome experience here so far," Ekmark said. "

"Everybody has days when their shots aren't falling so it is important to do other things to help the team to win, do different stuff on the court that can help the team get better. The good news that the shots start coming back, you will be doing all the other stuff as well."

It has been a special season for the other two remaining freshmen.

Kia Nurse's 108 assists is the eighth most by a freshman in UConn history and she needs eight points to move into 10th place on the single season freshman scoring list. Williams has been an instant producer off the bench as her 217 rebounds is the ninth best total for a UConn freshman.

"I am really happy for them because they both work hard," Ekmark said. "Gabby and Kia deserve it and they are doing really well."

LOADING UP THE NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
There's been plenty of attention focused on the blowout wins by the Huskies this season.
While there's not much UConn can do about the 18 American Athletic Conference games it plays each season, there has been an attempt to beef up the non-conference schedule as much as possible.
While not all of the contracts have been signed, UConn is in negotiations or have finalized deals to play seven of the top 15 teams which advanced to the regional semifinals in either the 2015-16 or 2016-17 seasons or both seasons in some instances.
UConn recently signed a home and home deal with Texas which will start during the '16-17 with a game at Mohegan Sun Arena. That same season will be the back end of the home and home with a Florida State team which came up just short in its bid to qualify for the Final Four. Deals with Notre Dame, Stanford and South Carolina have previously been reported. UConn is expected to begin playing Louisville in a non-conference series, perhaps as early as the 2016-17 season while there have been talks with Arizona State about playing as well.

TUCK THRILLED FOR FORMER TEAMMATEThere's no question that while the prospects of a Tennessee/UConn game doesn't have the same pull as it did during the glory days of the rivalry between the rivals, a matchup between the Lady Vols and Huskies in this year's national semifinals would certainly create a buzz.
Perhaps nobody would be more excited to see that happen than UConn redshirt sophomore forward Morgan Tuck, who played with Tennessee senior guard Ariel Massengale at Bolingbrook (Ill.) High School.
Massengale played a major role as Tennessee rallied from 17 points down to beat Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 setting up a regional final with Maryland.
"I was really happy for her that she could do that in a game like that," Tuck said. "It is her last year, she has a little bit left of college and for her to be such an impact playing her best basketball and I am really happy for her.
"Playing with her for as long as I can remember, that is the kind of player that she is. She wants to be in that pressure situation because she wants to be the one to make the plays that is going to help them win."

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