On Saturday, UConn All Americans and fan favorites Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley were honored at Senior Day ceremonies before a packed house at Gampel Pavilion on the Storrs campus. Each player was escorted into the arena by their parents to thunderous applause and cheering by the faithful fans and students. Hartley, grinning from ear to ear, hoisted her framed jersey as she enjoyed the adulation at the close of her stellar UConn career. Dolson, ever the cut-up, came out dancing in her inimitable style to the roar of her adoring fans. Then the two got to work: Hartley scored 20 points and Dolson surpassed the 1,000 rebound mark in UConn’s 72-35 trouncing of Rutgers. They made it look easy, as usual, in their final regular season home game under the dome. (They will play again in the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament starting the weekend of March 22 at Gampel.) To read about their final home game, see John Altavilla’s story here.
On the eve of a forecast winter storm, the University of Connecticut Women’s basketball team created their own weather pattern inside Gampel Pavilion. The winds started suddenly at the tip off, and only picked up speed from there. The total team effort saw five players score in double digits, and led by Stefanie Dolson, they had a combined 14 blocked shots. The game was a college women’s version of this years Super Bowl.
For a better understanding of the game, please read John Altavilla’s game story by clicking here!
UConn took on the Temple Owls at Webster Bank Arena Saturday afternoon. Bria Hartley led all scorers with 19 points and Kiah Stokes pulled down 18 rebounds. The Huskies improved to 17-0 before heading to Texas for Monday’s game against Baylor.
– Bridgeport, CT – 01/11/14 - UConn’s Breanna Stewart battles Temple’s Natasha Thames for a loose ball during the first half of Saturday’s contest at Webster Bank Arena. Photo by BRAD HORRIGAN | firstname.lastname@example.org
The temperature outside was 5 degrees, but the UConn woman created their own heat early in the game and beat the University of Houston Cougars by a score of 90 to 40. The starters sat for long portions of the game or the score would have been even more lopsided. The game was remarkable in that the women had a total of 17 blocked shots, tying a school record. Read John Altavilla’s game story here.
The UConn women’s basketball team added another game to the win column when they visited the University of Central Florida Knights at UCF Arena in Orlando, Florida, on New Years Day. In UConn’s second game playing in the new American Athletic Conference, they moved into the Knight’s house, with a large Husky fan section in tow, and rolled to a 77-49 victory. Stefanie Dolson rang in the new year with a 25 point, 12 rebound performance. Read John Altavilla’s game story here.
Offensively the UConn women started off slowly in the first half of their matchup with California at Madison Square Garden Sunday. But as the game wore on, the Huskies proved to be far superior to their west coast adversaries. Breanna Stewart led the way with 29 points (in only 27 minutes) and 10 rebounds.
New York, NY – 12/22/13 – UConn players, left to right: Brianna Banks, Bria Hartley, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson celebrate on the bench after a basket by Tierney Lawlor (not pictured) against California in the Maggie Dixon Classic Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. Photo by BRAD HORRIGAN | email@example.com
We all have “Bucket Lists”, mine included Cameron Indoor Stadium, home of the “Cameron Crazies”, which open in 1940 on the West Campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. It has been the site of many memorable basketball games, Tuesday night pitted the #1 UConn Huskies women’s basketball team against #2 ranked Duke. When the dust settled from the wood bleachers one thing was certain, UConn has few teams that can play 40 minutes at their level…
Living in an increasingly divided, tumultuous and complicated world, the Thanksgiving holiday offers an opportunity to truly reflect on our personal blessings. For many, the value of these blessings is even more treasured as they reflect on times of struggle. To some, adversity came long ago. Others are in the midst of difficult challenges today. Yet finding genuine reasons to be thankful can help us to persevere. There is a time to focus on our troubles for it helps us to recognize them, confront them and, with luck, overcome them. But our nature also demands time for reflection, which helps us establish our priorities, realize how much we depend upon each other, and remain humble. Here we offer you the stories of a few individuals who have faced challenges in their lives, and their brief reflections on what makes them grateful.
I asked one question “What are you thankful for?”
Dan Crowley, Simsbury
On April 9, 1942, U.S. General Edward King surrendered to the Japanese army after a battle on the Philippine peninsula of Bataan. Dan Crowley and a group of other soldiers didn’t obey that order — they fought on. Swimming to the small island of Corregidor, in Manila Bay, Private Crowley somehow dodged the artillery for nearly a month before being forced to surrender. The horrific World War II event that followed is now known as the Bataan Death March. U.S. and Philippine soldiers suffered unspeakable atrocities, and later, Crowley was enslaved 2,000 feet underground in a copper mine until Japan finally surrendered in September of 1945. Through the years, Crowley shared those memories with a fellow P.O.W. and best friend, Harry Johnson, who also survived the experience after being lucky enough to be dug out of a pile of corpses when someone heard him moan. That friendship ended three years ago at the passing of that kindred soul. Over the last year or so, Crowley also lost his wife of sixty-six years to cancer, and has been pre-deceased by his sixty-two-year-old son.
Crowley answers my question about thankfulness and shares his stories with so much passion and perspective.
“I’m thankful to be alive. Thankful that I was somehow chosen to still be alive. All my friends, who I was with in the rotten Japanese slave labor camps are dead,” he says sitting in the drivers seat of his bright red 1997 Mustang Cobra sports car. “I savor life, the Simsbury resident says. “I was in bad shape for a while. No corporation would hire us, when we got home. I went out and sold on my own for straight commission.” Crowley is also grateful for his family, especially his father who he learned so much from, and his wife, who’s parting advice to him was to find a young woman and enjoy life. So what is he doing with the life he is lucky to keep living? “Eat, sleep and make love,” he punctuates with a hearty and sustained laughter.
At 2:00 p.m. on December 7, the state of Connecticut is dedicating a bridge in the Weatogue section of Simsbury the “Bataan Corregidor Memorial Bridge.” Crowley will be communication with the pilots to perfectly time the military fly-over.
“I’m thankful that finally recognition is being given to the memory of the men of Connecticut and throughout the United states,” he says. Crowley has led the effort for years, saying, “his is not about veterans, it’s about those who died in the battle and aftermath as prisoner slave laborers. They must not be forgotten.”
With only five players seeing over 20 minutes of playing time, and only seven players playing, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team beat Penn State University at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. by a score of 71 to 52.
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With two players injured and unable to play, the number one ranked University of Connecticut women’s basketball team played eighth ranked University of Maryland Friday night. Junior forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and sophomore forward, Morgan Tuck could only watch from the bench. After a close first half, UConn played tough defense in the second half and won the game by a score of 72 to 55 to retain their number one ranking.
Please Click Here to read John Altavilla’s game story on how the short handed Huskies, held off the Terps.
Please Click Here to read Jeff Jacobs’ column about Moriah Jefferson’s Sweet Moves being the difference.
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STORRS — Most times, it happens just once a season. But for some strange reason, the sight of Stanford-UConn doesn’t seem to generate the kind of national excitement it seemingly should.
Then again, sometimes in the midst of a hard-fought game between two elite programs, the fire and joy of what transpires is overshadowed.
Not by disinterest, but by the concern for a young woman injured in its pursuit.
No. 1 UConn beat No. 3 Stanford, 76-57, on Monday at Gampel Pavilion, their first meeting at Geno Auriemma‘s castle in the cow pasture since 1993, when national championships were just a dream for him. For the rest of John Altavilla’s story click here:
The defending national champion UConn women’s basketball team dispatched Philadelphia University with a lopsided score of 93-28 in a fast-paced exhibition game at the XL Center Tuesday night. It was the second of two pre-season games in which UConn easily rolled over lesser opponents before the new season gets underway on Saturday when they meet Jen Rizotti’s Hartford Hawks. No. 3 Stanford rolls into town on Monday. Read John Altavilla’s game story here.
UConn previewed the 2013-14 basketball season with their annual First Night celebration before a packed house at Gampel Pavilion Friday night. The event included the usual autograph signing, player introductions – with several showing off their dance moves – and a few trivia games for the players and contests for the fans. Then, for the first time, the two teams merged for an inter-squad scrimmage pitting Team Geno, in white, against Team Kevin in blue. Team Geno came from behind to win it, 51-49. To read Jeff Jacob’s column and see more coverage of the event, click here.
For the third time during his tenure as president, Barak Obama welcomed the UConn Women’s basketball team to the White House Wednesday in honor of their eighth national championship. The team has been a frequent visitor to Washington since winning their first title in 1995, having been honored twice by President Bill Clinton and three times by President George W. Bush. They stood before a packed East Room crowd of guests and media and presented the POTUS with an autographed basketball and a UConn jersey. Perhaps they should keep a bag packed for next year…
Former UConn star basketball player, Kara Wolters, has a problem most basketball camp directors probably wish they had. Many of her coaches/counselors can’t attend Wednesday’s session because they have a prior commitment.
Since some of Wolter’s camp counselors are members of the reigning N.C.A.A. National Women’s Basketball Championship UConn Huskies team, they will be in Washington D.C. to attend a White House reception in their honor hosted by President Barack Obama. Click here to read that story by John Altavilla.
In seven of the fifteen years the Kara Wolters Big Dream Basketball Camp has been running, the UConn Huskies have won the Championship, however, the White House visit has never coincided with the two weeks the camp is held. ”I’ve been lucky,” Wolters says after finishing another day of the first session held at Avon High School this week.
However, the campers probably won’t mind, since Wolter’s was able to find star replacements — her former teammates Rebecca Lobo, and Carla Berube of the perfect 35-0 team that won the 1995 N.C.A.A. Women’s National Championship. That team went to the White House, for Wolters first trip there, and she made it back there after she was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team in 2000.
The second session of the camp is held at East Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts next week for girls in grades 5 through 10. That session is still accepting campers so click here for more information.
The best women’s basketball players in the country were in Connecticut Saturday, a few of which were former UConn women players. Here are a few photos from the game of our favorite players and a few other interesting moments. The west won by a score of 102 to 98.
The UConn women won their eighth national championship earlier this month in New Orleans when they crushed rival Notre Dame, 83-65 in the semi-final and rolled over Louisville, 93-60, in the title game. They made it look easy in the Big Easy. They were led by freshman wunderkind Breanna Stewart, affectionately known as “Stewie” who was named the tournament Most Outstanding Player after scoring a total of 52 points over the two games. But the victory was truly a team effort. They were unstoppable.
Covering the Final Four was exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. It was a whirlwind of events starting with the Parade of Teams to kick off the weekend. Then the real work began with shooting team practices, press conferences, autograph-signing sessions, locker room scenes, the high school All America game, both semi-final games, more press conferences, and finally the big game.
Here is a sampling of some of my favorite images from the tournament.
Morgan Tuck, Breanna Stewart, Kiah Stokes, and Moriah Jefferson get into the spirit of the Big Easy all dressed up complete with feather boas in the Parade of Teams at Mardi Gras World Friday night where the four teams were introduced to fans.
Stefanie Dolson shoots a layup during an open practice at the New Orleans Arena the day before taking on Notre Dame in a semi-final game.
Associate head coach Chris Dailey sets a light-hearted mood during practice.
Skylar Diggins and the Irish looked relaxed and confident as they posed for a team photo at their open practice the day before the semi-final game.
Back in the locker room after practice, Stefanie Dolson removes an ice pack from her right leg which was healing from a stress fracture.
Breanna Stewart playfully tickles Chris Dailey as she is interviewed in the locker room after practice.
Moriah Jefferson reacts to a card delt while playing UNO with Morgan Tuck and Brianna Banks and Heather Buck (off camera), a locker room ritual for the group.
The team holds an autograph session for the legions of loyal fans who made the trip to New Orleans to cheer on their Huskies.
UConn’s Kelly Faris was instrumental in keeping Skylar Diggins away from the ball as the two former high school opponents from Indiana faced off.
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw takes issue with a ref’s call in the second half as UConn pulls away.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis showed off her considerable skills adding 16 points against the Irish.
Caroline Doty shows why she’s the emotional leader for the Huskies as she leaps for joy as a teammate scores in the second half.
Stefanie Dolson battles Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride for a loose ball. McBride was the high scorer for the Irish with 16 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Huskies stifling defense.
UConn head coach Geno Auriemma directs his squad as they hold off Notre Dame.
Bria Hartley drives to the hoop as Skylar Diggins defends. Hartley scored 15 points in the game.
UConn fan Liz Manning cheers as the Huskies roll over Notre Dame.
As the clock winds down, Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride and Skylar Diggins can only watch as their 30-game winning streak comes to an end.
The New Orleans Arena fills up as UConn and Louisville warm up before playing in the national championship.
Stefanie Dolson gets a mouthful of fingers from Louisville’s Bria Smith in the first half of the championship game. Dolson played through pain from a stress fracture throughout the tournament but managed 12 points and 6 rebounds in the game.
The Huskies, feeling the momentum building, celebrate after Breanna Stewart was fouled on a play.
Breanna Stewart dominated the game with 23 points and 9 rebounds.
Louisville head coach Jeff Walz gets in Shoni Schimmel’s face as UConn has it’s way with her in the championship game.
A highlight of the game came late in the second half when senior Heather Buck stole the ball from a Louisville player and scored on the fast break.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis cuts the last piece of one of the nets after UConn won the national championship.
Former UConn greats Maya Moore, Kalana Greene and Mel Thomas watch the celebration from the stands. Heather Buck’s Dad, David, is at left.
The Huskies hoist the championship trophy for the fans to see.
The team carries coach Geno Auriemma across the floor after UConn won their eighth national championship, tying Pat Summit’s record at Tennessee.
When I heard I would be covering the UConn women’s basketball team during the post season I was excited at the prospect of them making it to the Final Four.
For selfish reasons I was looking forward to hooking up with my brother Jeff who has lived in Denver for 22 years and I haven’t been able to visit him as often as I would like. We would get together every other year to do a little skiing but I haven’t strapped my boards to my feet in a couple years now. I also have former colleagues from the Hartford Courant living in Boulder and Golden and really wanted to see them as well.
Kia Stokes is serenaded by her teammates for her 19th birthday Saturday afternoon after the UConn women finished their practice, tradition calls for the birthday girl to skip around the court afterward.
There are always photos you wish you had at an event like this. One photo I wish I had been in a position to take was a meeting between UConn head coach Geno Auriemma and Tennessee head coach Pat Summit. I was on one end of the court when I saw a commotion at the other side, I wasn’t sure what it was but a small group of reporters and photographers had gathered off the baseline. By the time I realized what was going on and made my way there it was over and I missed the two coaches greeting and hugging one another. The once bitter rivals and titans of the women’s game have recently begun to mend their relationship after it was announced Summit is dealing with the effects of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
I used to beat myself up over missing a shot like that but today I realize you can’t be everywhere all the time. Be grateful for the ones you are able to capture and hope the next time you’re in the right place at the right time. I was able to follow her around for a few moments as she stopped to sign autographs for fans.
UConn head coach Geno Auriemma, associate head coach Chris Dailey, and assitant coaches Shea Ralph and Marisa Moseley know they have a tough task at hand as they face Big East rival Notre Dame for the 8th time in 15 months.
Freshmen Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of UConn drives through Brittany Mallory of Notre Dame during the first half of the 2012 Women’s Final Four. at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, Sunday afternoon. KML played with assertiveness and scored 6 points in 13 minutes in the first half.
Stefanie Dolson of UConn is double teamed by Devereaux Peters (L) and Natalie Achonwa (R) of Notre Dame in the first half but Dolson scored 12 points to help the Huskies take a 36-33 lead at the half.
When Stefanie Dolson picked up her fourth foul at the 17:19 mark of the second half UConn had to put sit their starting center and play a four guard line-up and use freshmen Kia Stokes until Dolson returned with 10:09 remaining.
Freshmen Kia Stokes is triple teamed as she takes a shot during the second half. Stokes only scored 2 points and grabbed 2 rebounds in the second half but gave Uconn a presence inside while Dolson sat with four fouls.
(L to R) Kia Stokes and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis are pumped after Mosqueda-Lewis scored a basket and drew the foul late in the second half against Notre Dame. After hitting the free throw the Huskies trailed by two with 12:48 remaining.
She hit them both to give UConn a 67-65 lead with :11 remaining in the game, UConn head coach Geno Auriemma had this to say about the end of regulation. “I made a huge mistake of taking Kia Stokes out of the game at that point. We went with five guards so that we could switch all their screens. And in the end one defensive rebound would have won it for us. That’s the part I’m going home with.”
With five guards on the floor the Huskies pressed and Skylar Diggins missed layup bounced off the backboard as Caroline Doty lies on the floor and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis tries to keep Natalie Novosel from the rebound…
I used a remote mounted along the catwalk high above the basket. With all the commotion in the closing seconds of the game I didn’t have time to pick up my camera with a long lens for the far side of the court so I reached over to the remote and just pushed the trigger hoping for something. When I got the card and started to edit the images I was happier than a pig in you know what at the results. With Doty on the floor and the sequence of players streaming into the frame it captured the what ended up being the play of the game.
“The game sometimes hangs on one play,” Auriemma said. “Kelly Faris steals the ball, misses the layup and gets two free throws. If she gets the layup and the foul shot, we’re up three instead of two.”
“As most games do, the game turned on one great play by a great player,” Auriemma said of Novosel. “And once we got into overtime, we just didn’t have enough. Brittany Mallory made two shots and that’s who we wanted to take them. God bless her, she stepped up and made them.”
Stefanie Dolson tries to compose herself as reporters ask her questions in the locker room after the 83-75 defeat. “It just sucks” she said trailing off into tears. “We worked so hard all season, and to end just end it this way, it doesn’t feel good.”
Tiffany Hayes said she was proud of her team and teammates after suffering an 83-75 loss in overtime. Many didn’t think the Huskies would make back to the Final Four but Hayes was happy they were able to be there but wished the season hadn’t ended this way.
Pro Tip: I’ve been fortunate enough to have attended a few Final Four championships. I worked as an editor/technician for staffers Rich Messina and Bradley Clift in 1999 when the men won their first title. I was in Philly and San Antonio for the women when they won in the mid 2000′s. I went to Detroit for the men’s Final Four when they lost to Michigan State in 2005. Each time I’ve gone I have had the privilege to work with some outstanding people from the Courant, the NCAA and other newspapers and wire services. Each time time I’ve come away with new friendships and knowledge.
Tim Rasmussen, Director of Photography at the Denver Post, hooked me up with his chief photographer John Ledya. He gave me advice as to what lens to use for the overhead shots at the end of regulation. He also was able to secure a spot for me on the catwalk so I could mount my camera, next to probably 8 others from various papers and wires services. I owe a lot to them and Jamie Schwaberow ?of NCAA photos, who I met through Jay L. Clendenin, a former Courant photog. Contacts, experience and a little luck helped me to achieve the results I hoped for. I wish I could have stayed longer but hey, there’s always next year, and listening to Geno after the game, I would love to be in New Orleans next year for another go round. Until then…
The UConn women got down to business at the XL Center Tuesday night. They brought their fighting game to defeat the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, 63-54, to win the Big East championship, their fifth consecutive title and 18th overall. After a four-loss season and coming into the tournament as the third seed (13-3, Big East) they finally jelled as a team to defeat their nemesis who had beat them in their last three meetings, starting with last year’s heartbreaking national semi-final when Notre Dame eliminated the Huskies, 72-63. The last straw was on February 27, when they lost 72-59 at the XL Center. But Tuesday, they came out with energy and confidence and didn’t flinch when Notre Dame fought back. They made head coach Geno Auriemma proud, finally playing the game “his way.”