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.