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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pickup games allows UConn freshmen Collier, Samuelson to learn on the job

After Tuesday's pickup game inside the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center I mentioned to freshman Napheesa Collier that reigning national player of the year Breanna Stewart blocked her shot. Collier was quick to correct me saying that Stewart swatted her shot away twice.

During her brilliant high school career as well as during her successful stints with USA Basketball, it's safe to say that Collier didn't have her shot blocked on a regular basis. However since arriving at UConn she has been getting a basketball education from her veteran teammates.

"Everybody is going to be taller than me so I might as well get used to playing against people who block my shot now," Collier said. "I am used to being the tallest player and it is not going to be like that in college."

Or as fellow freshman Katie Lou Samuelson said, "There are no Breanna Stewarts or Morgan Tucks when I was playing in high school I can say that so I think this is really good for me because of the higher level, I am excited for it and I am ready to keep doing it."

With De'Janae Boykin, the third member of the freshman class, not taking part in the pickup games yet there has been plenty of attention paid to Collier and Samuelson.

"D's out right now so it kind of sucks that she is missing the early part but Katie Lou and Pheese, they are doing a great job," Tuck said. "They both play pretty hard which is why I think they are meshing right now so they need to focus on keeping that going. I think by trying to learn as much as possible. I work with Pheese more because she is more of an undersized post/wing kind of player and she is just eager to learn. Katie Lou, she is working a lot with Mo and Stewie so they just want to learn and do whatever they can to help us to make their mark on the team."

One thing that isn't being asked of Collier and Samuelson is to replace the graduated Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Kiah Stokes. Things are going to be done a little differently without Mosqueda-Lewis, the NCAA's career 3-point leader, and Stokes, who is looking more and more like the WNBA Rookie of the Year with each passing day.

"I think this team is going to be different from last year's team," Samuelson said. "The coaches aren't really putting pressure on me that 'you need to do this.' They are saying that we need to get the most out of you and see what you can do for us."

Collier agrees with Samuelson.

"I don't know if there is pressure necessarily but you want to do well so you push yourself harder than you did before in new environment," Collier said.

SCHEDULE UPDATED WITH TIMES
The last couple of start times have been announced so now all the tip times are out for the upcoming season

Nov. 2 - vs. Lubbock Christian (exhibition) - XL Center - 7 p.m.
Nov. 8 - vs. Vanguard (exhibition) - Gampel - 2 p.m.
Nov. 16 - at Ohio State - Value City Arena - 5:30 p.m. ESPN2
Nov. 23 - vs. Kansas State - XL Center - 7 p.m. SNY
Nov. 28 - vs. Nebraska - XL Center -  1 p.m. SNY
Nov. 30 - at UT-Chattanooga - McKenzie Arena, 6:30 p.m. SNY
Dec. 2 - at DePaul - McGrath Arena - 7:30 p.m. FOX Sports
Dec. 5 - vs. Notre Dame - Gampel - 5:15 p.m. ESPN
Dec. 9 - at Colgate - Cotterell Court - 7 p.m. SNY
Dec. 11 - vs. Florida State - Mohegan Sun Arena - 6 p.m. ESPN2
Dec. 21 - vs. LSU - XL Center - 7 p.m. SNY
Dec. 28 - vs. Maryland - Madison Square Garden - 8:30 p.m. ESPN2
Dec. 30 - at Cincinnati - Fifth Third Arena - 7 p.m. SNY
Jan. 6 - vs. Tulsa - XL Center - 7 p.m. SNY
Jan. 8 - at Houston - Hofheinz Pavilion - 9 p.m. ESPN2
Jan. 10 - at South Florida - Sun Dome - 5 p.m. ESPN/ESPN2
Jan. 13 - at Memphis - Roane Fieldhouse - 6 p.m. SNY
Jan. 16 - vs. Temple - Gampel - 6 p.m. CBS SN
Jan. 20 - vs. Central Florida - XL Center - 7 p.m. SNY
Jan. 23 - at SMU - Moody Coliseum - 3 p.m. SNY
Jan. 27 - at Tulsa - Reynolds Center - 8 p.m. SNY
Jan. 30 - vs. Memphis - XL Center - noon SNY
Feb. 3 - at Tulane - Devlin Fieldhouse - 8 p.m. SNY
Feb. 6 - vs. East Carolina - Gampel - 1 p.m. SNY
Feb. 8 - at South Carolina - Colonial Life Arena - 7 p.m. ESPN2
Feb. 14 - at Temple - McGonigle Hall - noon ESPN2
Feb. 17 - vs. Cincinnati - Gampel - 7 p.m. SNY
Feb. 20 - at East Carolina - Minges Coliseum - 6 p.m. CBS SN
Feb. 24 - vs. SMU - Gampel - 7 p.m. SNY
Feb. 27 - vs. Tulane - Gampel - 1 p.m. SNY
Feb. 29 - vs. South Florida - Gampel - 7 p.m. ESPN2

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