Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, September 29, 2017

UConn alums continue to make WNBA history

Another day and some more WNBA history for some of UConn's greatest players.

Tina Charles and Maya Moore earned All-WNBA first team honors for the third season in a row marking the fifth straight time that at least one former Husky earned All-WNBA first team recognition, a WNBA record. Also, this is the 16th season in a row that at least one UConn grad earned first team All-WNBA recognition which is twice as long as the previous record.

Wait, there's more. With Diana Taurasi earning second-team honors, she ties Lisa Leslie and Tamika Catchings for the most selections in WNBA history.

 Charles finished third in the league in scoring with an average of 19.7 points per game and her average of 9.4 rebounds per game ranked fourth. Moore, who has her Minnesota Lynx team in the WNBA championship series for the sixth time in her seven-year career, averaged 17.3 points, 5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

There was at least one University of Southern California alum on the WNBA first team in each of the first eight years in the league while Tennessee had a seven-year run with at least one first-team honoree from 2008-14.

Taurasi was named to the second team for the third time in her career. It was the 12th time she was selected to either the first or second squad tying the WNBA record first set by Lisa Leslie and then tied by Tamika Catchings.

Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun was named to the second team after setting the WNBA regular-season record with 403 rebounds. It was the first All-WNBA selection for Jones, who just finished her second season in the league.

The members of the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx are sort of busy trying to win the WNBA title so players invited from those two teams who were invited to the Dawn Staley's first national team training won't be taking part. So that takes Moore out of the mix and now comes word that Tina Charles is dealing with injury and won't be there either. Still, there will be nine current or former UConn products set to take part in the training camp.

Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and  Taurasi headline the list of expected attendees. Stefanie Dolson, Tiffany Hayes, Kiah Stokes and Morgan Tuck will be there while current UConn stars Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson are among fifth active college players among the 20 players who will be at the three-day camp.

I caught up with Tuck and Taurasi before the Connecticut Sun/Phoenix Mercury playoff game so I could ask them about not on their participation in the national camp but also what that could mean for college players like Collier and Samuelson.

"Once you have been away from USA Basketball for a little bit like I have been, you kind of don't think about it," Tuck said. "I am really excited, this is where you want to be when you in the USA (program) when you were younger

"It is great for them. It is really exciting, I am excited I get to be on the court with Pheesa and Lou again and play with them. I am sure with them, just like me I am sure they are nervous but they deserve to be there."

Taurasi still recalls being the new kid on the block in terms of the USA national team pool

"I had the opportunity to do it, get on the court with Hall of Famers and I learned a lot just by watching it and being around. USA Basketball is a program, it certainly is about doing things that have been set for a while now . It will be good for them to get that early and see it, show what they can do, it is a great opportunity for the young kids to put their foot in the door.

"As a kid, you go out there and show some respect, then you go out and play as hard as you can and show what you can give to the program. It is a balancing act but at the end of the day, you have to go out there and compete, play hard."

Count Taurasi among those in the women's basketball world impressed by the jumps Collier and Samuelson made from their freshmen to sophomore seasons.

"They played great," Taurasi said. "Lou probably made the biggest stride from freshman year to sophomore year that I have seen in a long time in college basketball, that is about confidence, attitude and being confident in what you are doing on the court. Napheesa is so versatile in so many ways, she has this calm presence about her on the court, they've had a great sophomore year but they have to keep going."

Friday, September 22, 2017

Top post prospect Collier decommits from UConn

The UConn women's basketball team's incoming recruiting class took a significant hit today when top post prospect Charli Collier announced that she was decommitting from UConn and would be headed to Texas.

Collier announced her decision via her Twitter account.

"I feel like this is the best decision for me personally and everything is for a reason," Collier said in her Twitter post. "This recruiting process has taught me so much about listening to my heart and at the end of the day, I have to do what is the best for me."
The 6-foot-5 Collier averaged 23.8 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocked shots per game as a junior at Barbers Hill High School and she enters her senior season with 2,274 points, 933 rebounds, 134 assists, 165 steals and 247 blocked shots in her high school career.

UConn is still very much in the running for Christyn Williams, a 5-foot-11 gurard out of Central Arkansas Christian School who is considered to be the best player in the Class of 2018. The Huskies haven't been aggressively pursuing many posts in next year's class with Collier, the No. 2 rated player in the class according to ESPN, already committed. However, UConn did make the list of finalists for top five national recruit Olivia Nelson-Ododa, a 6-foot-4 post out of Winder-Barrow High School in Georgia.

UConn is set to return Napheesa Collier (no relation), Azura Stevens, Batouly Camara on the 2018-19 team while 6-3 Katie Lou Samuelson and 6-1 Megan Walker can be used inside as well but certainly Charli Collier was an important piece for the Huskies moving forward.

The Class of 2019 is loaded with elite frontcourt players with 6-2 Samantha Brunelle and 6-4 Aliyah Boston having already taken unofficial visits to UConn.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Another remarkable UConn streak continues

Maya Moore had a game-high 21 points and five assists as the Minnesota Lynx defeated the Washington Mystics 81-70 to complete a three-game sweep of the WNBA semifinal series.

With the victory, this will be the 15th year in a row that at least one UConn alum will take part in the WNBA championship series as Moore and Renee Montgomery will look to lead Minnesota fourth time since 2011 which just happens to be when Moore entered the league. UConn's all-time leading scorer will be playing in the WNBA championship series for the sixth time in her seven WNBA seasons. Already third in WNBA history in playoff points scored, Moore averaged 19 points, 4 rebounds and 4.7 assists in the three games against Washington.

Minnesota will play defending champion Los Angeles in the best of five game series as the Sparks wrapped up a three-game sweep with a thrilling two-point win against Phoenix. UConn legend Diana Taurasi tied the game late with a 3-pointer before Candace Parker won it with a driving layup.

Here's the breakdown of UConn products playing in the WNBA finals
2016: Los Angeles def. Minnesota (Renee Montgomery, Maya Moore)
2015: Minnesota (Kalana Greene, Asjha Jones, Renee Montgomery, Maya Moore) def. Indiana
2014: Phoenix (Diana Taurasi) def. Chicago
2013: Minnesota (Maya Moore) def, Atlanta (Tiffany Hayes)
2012: Indiana def. Minnesota (Maya Moore)
2011: Minnesota (Maya Moore, Charde Houston) def. Atlanta
2010: Seattle (Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Svetlana Abrosimova) def. Atlanta
2009: Phoenix (Diana Taurasi, Ketia Swanier) def. Indiana (Jessica Moore)
2008: Detroit (Kelly Schumacher) def. San Antonio
2007: Phoenix (Diana Taurasi, Kelly Schumacher) def. Detroit (Swin Cash)
2006: Detroit (Swin Cash) def. Sacramento
2005: Sacramento def. Connecticut (Nykesha Sales, Asjha Jones)
2004: Seattle (Bird) def. Connecticut (Nykesha Sales, Asjha Jones)
2003: Detroit (Swin Cash) def. Los Angeles
2000: Houston (Jen Rizzotti) def. New York
1999: Houston (Jen Rizzotti, Kara Wolters) def. New York (Rebecca Lobo-injured and did not play)
1997: Houston def. New York (Rebecca Lobo)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

UConn's schedule is out

The opponents and some of the tip-off times have been known for quite some time but here is the entire regular-season schedule which was just released

The Huskies will also play a pair of preseason games, hosting Fort Hays at the XL Center on Nov. 1 and defending Division II national champion Ashland on Nov. 5 at Gampel Pavilion.

Nov. 12 vs. Stanford (Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio), 1:30 p.m. ESPN
Nov. 17 California (Gampel), 7 p.m. SNY
Nov. 19 vs. Maryland (XL Center), 1:30 p.m. ESPN
Nov. 21 at UCLA, 10:30 p.m. ESPNUNov. 25 vs. Michigan State (at Eugene, Oregon), 3 p.m.
Nov. 28 at Nevada, 9 p.m. CBS SN
Dec. 3 Notre Dame (XL Center), 4 p.m. ESPN
Dec. 8 at DePaul FS1
Dec. 19 vs. Oklahoma (Mohegan Sun Arena), 7 p.m. CBS Sports Network
Dec. 22 vs. Duquesne (Mattamy Athletic Centre), 7 p.m. SNY
Dec. 31 Memphis (XL Center), 1:30 p.m. SNY
Jan. 3 at East Carolina, 7 p.m. SNY
Jan, 6 at South Florida, 7 p.m. SNY
Jan. 9 UCF (Gampel), 7 p.m. SNY
Jan. 13 at Houston, 3 p.m. SNY
Jan. 15 at Texas, 7 p.m. ESPN2
Jan. 18 Tulsa (Gampel), 7 p.m. SNY
Jan. 21 at Temple, 1 p.m. ESPN2
Jan. 24 at Memphis SNY
Jan. 27 Tulane (Gampel), noon SNY
Feb. 1 at South Carolina, 7 p.m. ESPN
Feb. 4 Cincinnati (XL Center), 1 p.m. SNY
Feb. 7 at UCF SNY
Feb. 10 Wichita State (XL Center), 1 p.m. SNY
Feb. 12 Louisville (Gampel), 7 p.m. ESPN
Feb. 18 Temple (XL Center), 2 p.m. CBS Sports Network
Feb. 21 at Tulane, 8 p.m. SNY
Feb. 24 at SMU SNY
Feb. 26 South Florida (Gampel), 7 p.m. ESPN2

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Collier, Samuelson among 11 UConn products invited to U.S. national team training camp

Eleven current or former UConn stars are among 30 players with invitations to the USA Basketball Senior Women's National Team training camp that opens later this month in Santa Barbara, Calif.

UConn All-Americans Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson join South Carolina's A'ja Wilson, Louisville's Asia Durr and Kelsey Mitchell of Ohio State as the only current collegiate players on the list.

Samuelson has won five gold and one bronze medal with USA Basketball while Collier has been a part of three gold-medal winning teams.

Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart and Diana Taurasi as the UConn alumns who were part of the gold-medal winning 2016 U.S. Olympic team while Stefanie Dolson, Tiffany Hayes, Kiah Stokes and Morgan Tuck are other former Huskies who could take part in the Sept. 30-Oct. 2 training camp, the first run by new U.S. national team coach Dawn Staley.

The list of participants will be impacted by which WNBA teams advance on in the playoffs as 16 of the players are members of the six teams still in contention for the WNBA title. Defending WNBA champion Los Angeles has five players, Minnesota four, Phoenix three. Connecticut and New York two each and Washington one. Two teams will be eliminated on Sunday freeing up more of the invitees to take part in the camp.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

UConn's non-conference schedule is out

UConn has released its non-conference schedule.

There's not much news here as the dates and opponents have already been reported but a few times and some TV information is now known.

The full schedule is expected to be released later on this week

Sunday, Nov. 12 vs.Stanford, 1:30 p.m. ESPN (at Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio)
Friday, Nov. 17 vs. Cal, time, site TV TBA
Sun., Nov. 19    vs.Maryland, 1:30 p.m.    site, TV TBA
Tue., Nov. 21    at UCLA    (Pauley Pavilion), 10:30 p.m. ESPNU   
Sat., Nov. 25    vs.Michigan State (Mathew Knight Arena, Eugene, Ore.)    time, site, TV
Tue., Nov. 28    at Nevada (Lawlor Events Center, Reno, Nev.)    time, TV TBA   
Sun., Dec. 3    vs. Notre Dame 4 p.m. ESPN
Fri., Dec. 8    at DePaul (WinTrust Arena) time, TV TBA   
Tue., Dec. 19    vs. Oklahoma (Mohegan Sun Arena) time, TV TBA
Fri., Dec. 22    vs. Duquesne (Mattamy Athletic Centre, Toronto, Ontario) 7 p.m.   
Mon., Jan. 15    at Texas (Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas) 7 p.m. ESPN 2
Thu., Feb. 1    at South Carolina (Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, S.C.) ESPN time TBA
Mon., Feb. 12    vs. Louisville    7 p.m.    site TBA ESPN 2