Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Senior guards go way back in UConn/Duke rivalry

It's not uncommon to see parents vigorously cheering on the UConn women's basketball team. It's rare to look up in the stands and not see at least one of Kiah Stokes parents as well as family members of current Huskies Bria Hartley and Breanna Stewart, among others taking in the action.

However, in UConn's trip to Pacific back during 2010-11 season, Hartley had a couple of familiar faces who made the trip to see her play. Yes, they were family members just not her own. It was the parents of Duke point guard Chelsea Gray who came out to show support to one of their daughter's best friends.

"It is cool to have friends like that on different teams," Hartley said. "They are a really good people."

So just how did Hartley, a New York native, and a California kid like Gray get to become such wonderful friends?

"Was it the McDonald's game in AAU, it's hard to remember," Hartley said. "I remember the  Nike skills (camp) when we were sophomores in high school and we have kind of become friends from there, me and her bonded the most and at the WBCA game too.

"You can't always talk to her all the time during the season because we are busy but we have managed to keep in touch throughout our four years so that  is really nice."

Duke could sell out Cameron Indoor Stadium for the 16th time for a women's basketball game but due to the break between academic semesters, don't expect to see the stands filled with exuberant Duke students bringing the Cameron Crazies aspect of a Duke home game to the women's contest tomorrow night.

"We are not going to have any students, this place has cleared out," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said on a Saturday conference call. "You go from youthful to older for sure but I don't think that is significant. Both teams have played in a lot of hostile environments so I don't think that is a factor."

UConn's veteran players have great memories of a previous trip to face Duke on the road.

"Playing in that arena is tough especially being the away team, you have the student section and it is right next to the court, they are always yelling things are you, the benches are right on the court as well," UConn junior guard/forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis said. "The Duke fans are relentless, they are always going to be yelling at you, chanting things and it is a great atmosphere for basketball."

Here's the take of senior center Stefanie Dolson.

"The gym is small. I remember we started off really well so it got us momentum. We have to make sure we are ready for anything this year and playing at Duke it is going to be hard so Bria and I have to make sure the girls are ready."

Dolson took a visit to the Duke campus during the recruiting process and has fond memories of that journey.

"I loved the campus, it was beautiful. I visited with the coach, she was great, nice but for me it was just too far and that is why I chose not to go."



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