Sunday, December 31, 2006

Injury update:

Everyone is dressed to play for UConn. Brittany Hunter and Meghan Gardler are unlikely to see action. The real question is whether or not Tina Charles plays and if she does, how many minutes.

Honestly, with West Virginia on tap for Tuesday, I would just give the three of them an additional day of rest. Rust is always a concern, but this might be a good chance to play short handed and find ways to make the offense and defense click.
You wouldn't know it unless someone told you. The atmosphere at the Hartford Civic Center wouldn't suggest one of the more successful coaches in women's college basketball is on the verge of a major milestone.

A win against Sacred Heart gives UConn coach Genpo Auriemma 600 for his career. He would be the 17th coach to accomplish the feat.

Maybe because it is New Year's Eve. Maybe it is because the game is against Sacred Heart (It's no Tennessee).

Either way, I would like to think that by gametime, the HCC will be packed.

Friday, December 29, 2006

This is exactly the kind of game that should worry the UConn Huskies. They are short handed and they are playing a Hartford team that has nothing to lose.

It appears Tina Charles will play tonight, but how much and how effective remains to be seen.

This has all the makings of a classic trap game. Does that mean the Hawks should be expected to pull out the win? No. I still expect the Huskies to win by 30-plus.
More on Phillips...

“She’ll either be back at school or she won’t,” coach Geno Auriemma said Thursday. “But I would venture to say her basketball career at Connecticut is over.”

I think that says it all.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

According to Geno Auriemma, freshman center Kristen Phillips is all but done at UConn. More on this later...
Usually this time of year people are hit with the flu bug. The Huskies have been hit with the injury bug.

Adding to the injuries of Tina Charles (shoulder), Brittany Hunter (knee), Kaili McLaren (foot), the Huskies are now minus Meghan Gardler. Gardler, a freshman, sprained her right elbow will wrestling with friends over the team's Christmas break.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I'll be back in a few days, but in the meantime I want to wish you happy holidays!!!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It'll be interesting to see how many people are in attendance at the Civic Center for today's game. Based on the traffic around the arena, it will be a sparse crowd.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

On most nights, the buzz is about the game regardless of the opposition. Tonight is different. Not because there is some little-known connection between UConn and Colorado State. It's the almost hurry up and get the game over with feel around Gampel Pavilion tonight. Why would anyone want to get past the game? Because afterwards, coach Geno Auriemma and the 10 players to have been named First-Team All-Americans will be paid tribute through the new Huskies of Honor initiative.

Names like Tauarasi, Lobo, Bascom and Sales will be under one roof.

Exciting stuff, indeed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

We aren't halfway through the season, but so far it looks as if Charde Houston has put the struggles which haunted her in the past.

Talking to her today, she repeatedly said she was looking forward and that at some point, you have to leave the past in the past.

Her play as reflected the maturity she speaks with and I think she has made the team what it is. I don't know if the team would be 7-0 without her.

At Holy Cross, when the team played possibly its worst first half of the season, she was who kept the Huskies in the game.

The schedule is going to get a little tougher, with games against Tennessee, North Carolina and LSU among others. They should provide Houston with tests that may silence the skepticism. Until the tournament.
Mother Nature is fickle.

The Colorado State women's basketball team managed to get out of snow-ridden Colorado on a day where thousands found themselves stranded at Denver's airport. It would be a shame to have the Huskies of Honor presentation without them :)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sorry this is a few days late.

Let's talk about Georgetown.

First off, the media accommodations at McDonough Arena were a joke. I first arrived on campus at 2:30 and was told media credentials weren't going to be handed out until 6:30. Normally, writers arrive two-three hours prior to tip off, not one hour. I left and came back at 5 and was able to get my credential then.

After making my way to the "work room," I was astonished to find the working conditions in place for the media. According to my colleagues, the situation at Georgetown was much better a year ago. This year? How about rows of classroom style desks, no internet access and not so much as water to drink. We are told that after the game, we will be in an adjacent "work room" to talk with coach Geno Auriemma and select players. They claimed we can use their office connections to get online afterwards to file our stories.

Anyone who has seen their fair share of sports writers will tell you we aren't the most physically fit bunch. When you spend most of your time reading, researching, talking and watching games, we are more likely to work up an appetite than a sweat.

The host school is supposed to serve a meal -- sometimes two (like UConn -- thanks, Huskies). How about nothing at Georgetown. That is, unless you count the concession stand, which was EXACTLY like those at high schools all across the country. About five minutes and change before the start of the game, a Georgetown staffer tells us there is food back in the "work room."

We moved like a small herd to get the grub. Thankfully, it was decent food and enabled me to survive a very lopsided game.

After the Huskies dispatched of the Hoyas, I was one of two people to establish themselves at a desk in the offices from where we were to gain internet access. My laptop is on the desk, my bag on the floor, my jacket on the back of the chair. After speaking with Geno and the players, I return to find a member of the local media at the desk, in the chair and using the internet connection. Perturbed, I go over to grab my belongings. What does this guy say to me? "I didn't know anyone was working here?" No, people who work in the office have a desktop computer and a laptop computer on the same desk, plus a jacket ON THE CHAIR and of course, a computer bag. Not having time to argue with the guy, I just plopped myself in a chair and the Georgetown media relations crew came up big, providing a table and connection to the internet.

As for the game, it didn't really provide much in the way of measuring how good the Huskies are. The Hoyas played a good first six, seven minutes. They had seven wins but against poor quality teams.

What impressed me -- and I first started seeing this against Purdue -- was the killer instinct UConn displayed. Can they do that and sustain it against better teams? I don't know. They let the Boilermakers back into a game that should have been over at the half. Turnovers and allowing the three to kill you is not how you want to play the game.

Next week when the team visits Virginia will prove to be a solid test. Better than Purdue, I think. Maybe you say I am crazy. But a tough (near top 25) team on the road should allow an opportunity to see how well the Huskies handle more difficult situations than they have seen all year. If the Huskies come out against the Cavaliers like they did against Holy Cross a week ago, UConn will lose.

Monday, December 04, 2006

It's the first road game of the year and the Huskies face a familiar foe: Holy Cross.

What will be interesting is how the team, particularly the younger players, respond to playing away from friendly confines.

Also worth mentioning is that Erin Phillips is not with the team. She was left behind by coach Geno Auriemma. Phillips had been battling an ankle injury when camp opened, but is healthy and hasn't played in the last two games. Don't be surprised if Phillips is sent packing.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Some extra notes....

Geno Auriemma appeared on ESPN2's Cold Pizza this morning discussing his induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

He said he had never been "more impressed" by someone than Joe Dumars.

On coaching men: "When you pick up the papers there are lot more guys getting fired then on the women. ... It has certainly crossed my mind and I have had opportunities. I don't see myself doing anything other than what I'm doing now."

He added that down the road he may change his mind.

On why the Huskies will win the national championship this season: "We're going to win a sixth because we are going to play just good enough. ... If we are goinig to win it, we're going to need some help from the other guys."

On his restaurant: "I'd like to be the Paul Newman of coaching."

*Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault was at last night's game, sitting courtside in front of the student section near the Purdue bench.

*Big East championship tickets go on sale today.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Amazing. Impressive. Incredible.

There are plenty of superlatives to use to describe the display of the Huskies in the first half. Trailing 7-2 early on, they displayed an aggressiveness and a killer instinct that teams usually dream about. Purdue is good. But I don't know if they can bounce back if the Huskies continue to dominate as they have in the 35-20 first half.
Prior to tonight's game, the university wil present two banners honoring coach Geno Auriemma's inductions into the Naismith and Women's Basketball Halls of Fame.

It should be a nice moment, although it is being kept short due to the coach's dislike of attention.

Catch the game on ESPN2 and you should get a glimpse.
Big game tonight...No. 9 vs. No. 7.

Finally a game that Huskies fans cam look forward to. That is provided that you are confident in what the Huskies can do and don't anticipate anything less than strong performances (including from the line).

"I'm as anxious as anybody come (tonight) to see what we got," said Geno Auriemma.

It's a nationally televised game on the Deuce (ESPN for the laymen) and the only real test the Huskies will see until January.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Gen Auriemma said after Tuesday's win over Boston University that what he was most impressed by was the play of Ketia Swanier. She really did make her presence felt against the Terriers. She made some great passes -- two stand out -- a bounce pass betwenn defenders into the paint to Kaili McLaren and the between the legs to Mel Thomas, leading to her first basket. She also had a couple timely steals.

Now if she could learn to shoot the three better so Auriemma could let Mel Thomas rest a few minutes a game.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

One of the things I like most about women's basketball is the game is more fundamentally sound then the men's game. Boston University is not only proving me wrong, but they are setting the game back to the Stone Age with their horrid play.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Welcome back!

The Huskies return from Italy today, two exhibition (for them) wins under their belts and all the better for the overseas experience.

Tuesday's home contest against Boston University will prove a big test because the ladies may still be dealing with complications from Jet lag. Maybe it is a good thing UConn doesn't face Purdue until Thursday. That game will be the Huskies' first true test of the season.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It's not all about sightseeing in Italy. The Huskies got down to business against one of the best teams in the Italian League Tuesday. The result? A win for UConn.

What I find interesting is that despite Napoli having two decent WNBA players on its roster, the Huskies were better even though they shot poorly from the free throw line and had a large number of turnovers.

There is a reason behind this. Simply put, Europe hasn't caught up with the U.S. in the women's game. You see otherwise with the men. In the women's game, you have the U.S., Brazil, China, Australia, Russia and Japan.

As much as I think their appearance will help foster growth of the game, it will be a while before we start seeing European countries catch up.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Another night, another home game. Its the last before the Huskies depart for Italy. I wish I was going. How bad could a week in Italy watching the Huskies and sightseeing be? As far as I'm concerned, that would be just what the doctor ordered.

Geno is heading back to his hometown for the first time in 45 years. Could you imagine going back to anywhere after that long? I think this is going to be great for him. And the team.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Throughout the course of any season there happens to be some adventure. Or in my case, misadventure. That's what happened to me Monday night following the Huskies' win over Richmond.

I had never been to the Hartford Civic Center before. If someone asked me for directions around the venue, I'd be useless. Even inside, I didn't know where anything was. Thanks to my friend Bob Joyce, the voice of the Huskies, I was directed to the most pressing features: work area and dining area.

Upon my arrival, I parked my car in a lot that closed two hours after the game ends, so I found myself working as fast as possible to make sure I would get to my car before the lot closed.

So as I walked out of the working area, I see a wall painted with "EXIT" and a big arrow. I walked through the doorway and up a flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs are several blue doors. I walked through one of these blue doors. The door closed behind me and I saw multiple glass doors before me. All of them are locked.

I turned back around and each of the blue doors are locked as well. So here I was, surrounded by doors that are locked and the clock is ticking on the parking lot where my car is stationed.

I found at the end of the blue doors an office door, which was open. To no surprise, no one was in there.

I tried banging on the blue doors and yelling for help. No one to my knowledge heard me.

Next came the glass doors. I opened a set of doors as far as they can go and I began to yell for help. Hearing music in the distance, I had some hope, but after a couple minutes passed and no assistance, I began to think of an alternative.

That's when Johnny Genius here attempted to squeeze through the glass doors. My bag fit. My jacket fit. My head fit, my arms and torso fit. My legs fit. But my rear end wasn't having it.

This is when thoughts of spending the night at the Hartford Civic Center began to enter my head. If that's not enough to make someone scream, yell, beg and plead for help, I don't know what would.

Finally after what felt like five minutes went by, a security guard popped out of the office and said he had been watching me struggle and waited to assist me until he felt I lost my cool. Thanks, buddy.

He let me out, told me where to exit from in the future, and yes, I made it to my car in time.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I haven't decided if its funny or sad when a player nearly outscores a team. That's the case tonight. Mel Thomas 18, Richmond 26.
It's opening night. The Huskies are 60 minutes from taking the court against Richmond. But what seems to be bigger news -- right now -- is the verbal commitment from Caroline Doty. According to her AAU coach Veronica Algeo, Doty was particularly excited that Geno Auriemma recruited her as a point guard, a position she began learning a couple years ago. Despite the critics saying she couldn't make the adjustment, Doty has been able to prove those critics wrong.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Here we go...the season opener is less than 24 hours away. Pretty exciting, huh? I think so.

What I am hoping is that the saga of Brittany Hunter's knee fades into the background and doesn't overshadow what should be an exciting year.

Just a few things I want you to keep an eye on this season:

* Tina Charles' defensive development. If she becomes half the player on defense that she is on offense, she may be the nation's best player by the end of her sophomore year.

* The emergence of Renee Montgomery as an elite player.

* Who proves to be the most valuable off the bench after Ketia Swanier. With proper conditioning, it should be Kaili McLaren.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

For any of you UConn fans out there, I'd like for you to share with me your thoughts on the upcoming season. post a comment here or send me an e-mail. I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It looks like Brittany Hunter is going to try and play on an injured knee. Earlier during camp, her availability for this season seemed in doubt. She started off well, but her condition deteriorated and word around campus was that Hyunter was going to have another surgery. If hunter had decided to go under the knife, she would likely not see the court again until 2007.

Today, the team's trainer issued a statement saying that Hunter will be listed as day-to-day for the rest of her career. Coach Geno Auriemma said Hunter has practiced the last few days and she will sit out tomorrow's exhibition game. The hope is Hunter ready to play in the season opener Monday against Richmond.

Ideally, Auriemma would have started Hunter at center this season, but now that plan has been blown to pieces. Tina Charles will have to play more minutes than Geno would care for her to play.

Friday, November 03, 2006

This should have been posted a few days ago, but...does anyone else think Jonathan the Husky looks like Michael Myers from the Halloween films?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Huskies come away with the win 101-77 over Team Concept. Charde Houston was impressive. She shot 70 percent (14-for-20), scored 30 points and pulled down 19 rebounds. Geno knows this isn't going to be an everyday occurance because nobody does that game-in, game-out. But you can see the potential for the kind of season people expected last season.
Here we are. It's just minutes away from tip-off and there's a buzz in the building. I heard the student section is sold out. Is it because this is the first court action of the season, albeit an exhibition? Maybe it is because there are five UConn alumn, including Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, playing for Team Concept (Ashley Valley was a late addition)? WHO CARES? It's game time and the Husky faithful are excited for what promises to be an exciting five months. Isn't that what counts?

You know who else is excited?


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A new beginning is the way I look at it. This -- UConn's Women's Basketball -- is new to me. And in the midst of football season, it is night and day from covering the guys on the gridiron. Part of it is the difference in sports, but it is also the atmosphere. The women have a tradition of winning. Despite not having a single player who has appeared in a Final Four, they expect to win. I expect them to win. The fans expect them to win. Needless to say, expectations are high.

I'm excited as the season sort of begins tomorrow night with the exhibition opener against Team Concept. That's a team featuring some names you might have heard of: Maria Conlon, Rita Williams...oh, and Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi. Yeah. Nice way to welcome the season.

Anyhow, I hope everyone comes back often and interacts. If it's something you aren't comfortable posting here, you either shouldn't say it or just e-mail me (

I'd like for this to be more than just a string of responses. Maybe some of you have an interesting question you'd like a Husky to answer. Let me know. We'll have a lot to cover, so fire away.

See ya around!