Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Butler putting the work in at UConn

After sitting out a season due to NCAA transfer rules and then missing the first 10 games of the season after she injured her left thumb during the preseason, Natalie Butler finally made her debut at UConn.

Butler played 23 minutes in wins over Cincinnati and Tulsa. She was 7 of 11 from the field as she contributed 15 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots. I wrote about Butler in my advance for today's Houston game which included part of my interview with assistant coach Marisa Moseley, who along with associate head coach Chris Dailey works with the post players at UConn. Here's more of what Moseley had to say about Butler.

"She has done a great job if you think about how difficult it is coming off a year and a half without playing and I was just happy for her to go out, be really confident, make her first basket and continue her momentum from there.

"Her mindset is really good right now, she is motivated to get better. She came here for the right reasons, she wants to get better. You come off the Big East Rookie of the Year and then you have to sit an entire year and then more with the injury so that was kind of ill-timed but I think it makes you even hungrier. She just has an incredible work ethic. She wants to get better and since she has gotten here, she has gotten better. She is a really unselfish player so sometimes she is looking to make plays for somebody else instead of going in there, burying somebody and get two points but every day we are chipping away from that and she is getting much better.

"She has great touch around the basket and she also had great touch outside. Generally at Connecticut our post players have to be able to hit a 15-footer and by their senior year we want them to be able to hit 3s consistent from 17 feet so to be able to have a big kid who can step out and can stretch the floor for us and be a good passer, we are going to continue to develop those skills."

I asked Moseley to discuss the difference between practicing during a redshirt season and during a season when you are a part of the playing rotation.

"You get a lot less reps offensively (as a redshirt) so you are more just working on defense and conditioning, trying to learn our system but we can't put you out there because that means you are taking away from somebody who actually can play. Now she can be on the Blue (starting) team, get those reps, she can feel comfortable playing with all different combinations of players so I think that makes a huge difference."

I mentioned UConn incoming freshman Molly Bent's partnership with Special Olympics at Tabor Academy before but with the event set to start on Sunday, I thought I would include a link to a story on how and why Bent got involved.

Since somebody asked me about this on a previous blog post, I thought I would pass on that Sunday's 5 p.m. game will be televised on ESPN. It is listed as a ESPN/ESPN2 game on both the UConn and South Florida websites and looking at the grid it was not included during the Sunday 5-7 p.m. slot on either station. However, I received a text back from UConn women's basketball sports information director Pat McKenna saying that the game is on ESPN. Currently on ESPN there is a five-hour block of the 2015 CrossFit Games so people who want to watch that would be advised to tune in from 2-5.

Also, on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m., SNY will debut the "UConn '95: Birth of a Dynasty" documentary. SNY held a screening of the show for the media before the Tulsa game and while I will have more on it as we get closer to the documentary's airing, I would strongly suggest checking it out.

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