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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Former UConn standout Faris getting her chance

With each step Kelly Faris made towards the Connecticut Sun bench, the roar from the 8,049 in attendance at Mohegan Sun Arena only increased in its intensity.

The former UConn standout had four points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal in 18 minutes as she started for the ninth time this season and the 12th time in the three seasons since Faris was drafted by the Sun in the first round of the 2013 WNBA Draft.

One of the fans yelled out "I'll be back" as Faris received congratulations in the closing moments of the Sun's 86-75 victory. The question is whether Faris will be a part of the roster during the 2016 season.

If Allison Hightower and Kelsey Griffin had not been sidelined for the season, Faris might have been considered to be a longshot to make this year's roster. Hightower will be back and the Sun is expected to have Griffin back in the fold as well. The Sun will also have a lottery pick in the 2016 draft. Connecticut will have the third best chance to earn the No. 1 pick and could finish no worse than fourth. Obviously, the Sun hierarchy will be crossing all of their toes and fingers at the Sept. 24 draft lottery with the hopes that it will get the No. 1 overall pick and add UConn star Breanna Stewart to a young roster. However, landing either South Carolina's Tiffany Mitchell or UConn's Moriah Jefferson wouldn't be a bad consolation prize. Sun coach Anne Donovan said that this is stronger draft than this year's so even if Connecticut is awarded the No. 4 pick, it is a player that could make an impact.

Faris, who has drawn rave reviews for her work ethic and team-first attitude during her three seasons, wasn't about to weigh herself down with possible contingency plans. When Faris checked out with 1:37 to play, there's a chance it was her final act as a member of the Sun but rest assured that if given the opportunity, she will be at the 2016 training camp, she will be in there fighting for loose balls and locking up defensively on whoever happens to be lined up across from her. If that isn't the case, Faris will move on with her life knowing she gave it everything she had.

"Honestly I never thought about it that way," Faris said. "It is too much to find of sit there and think about. It is one game at a time, one day at a time and that is kind of how I am approaching it.

"It has been great, I get to play in front of the same fans I played in front of for four years. We have the best fans out there, they are always out there to support us no matter what. It has been good to get out in the community as well given that this is my home away from home."

Faris was a healthy scratch in two of the Sun's first 10 games. Faris played at least 20 minutes just once in the first 19 games of the season but with Elizabeth Williams and Alex Bentley missed the final 13 and 9 games of the season respectively and Alyssa Thomas missed 10 straight games before playing in the final two contests, Faris' playing time increased down the stretch. After the final 10 games of the season she averaged 5.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game while playing 26.6 minutes per game.

"Injuries are very a good thing, they are always unfortunate and you never wish them on anybody but for my case, it has given me an opportunity to get on the court and get some reps in, be able to play some basketball," Faris said. "Every time I go out there, I try to figure out what it is I need to do. It might change from game to game but I just try to bring whatever I can to help the team win. I definitely have taken on a different mindset offensively, I try not to pass up as many shots as
I usually would, try to make better decisions. I am never satisfied and there is always room to improve."

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