Spent an enjoyable 20 minutes with UConn junior Bria Hartley this afternoon at Gampel Pavilion chatting about a lot of different things:
Here are some highlights.
On team chemistry:
“This team is really working hard together, which is not to say the others I’ve played on didn’t. It just feels different than last year. There is a good group of players, a very good energy on the floor. Stefanie [Dolson] and I, being juniors now, have a greater understanding of what we need to do.
“Kelly Faris is a great leader who works very hard and we all follow that example. Then you have the juniors following here, the sophomores following the juniors and so forth. It creates a nice chain reaction.”
On the health of sophomore Kiah Stokes, who had off-season foot surgery:
“Kiah Stokes looks really good. Her foot was bothering her somewhat after her first day of pickup, but she came back really strong and is playing well, doing a lot of the good stuff we saw her do at the end of last season.”
On the development of soph0more guard Brianna Banks:
“She looks very good; she’s that way when she plays aggressively. She knows she can’t be tentative on the floor. She’s went through some tough workouts this summer and that has helped her.”
On the transfer of Samarie Walker, Michala Johnson and Lauren Engeln, who came to UConn with her and Stefanie Dolson in 2010.
“Sometimes Stef and I may look at each other and say, ‘Wow, there are only two of us left from our class. We became very close as teammates and friends and they will always be my friends. But they had to do what’s best for them and follow what opportunities they had. It’s weird in a way, but it’s also life. People come and go out of it all the time.”
On the team:
“We have a very talented group, 11 players who can all play a lot of minutes for us if needed. Having that will give coach the chance to go with many different lineups; some big, some small, whatever the opponent seems to require. We are going to be very versatile. I’m very excited about this group of girls. I think we are going to be very talented and we all ready to get going.”