Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Day After The Explosion Of The Sun

by Categorized: Anne Donovan, Connecticut Sun, Uncategorized Date:

What a most interesting day in the history of the Connecticut Sun. Some thoughts:

* I don’t believe I have ever seen a relationship between a star player and a team end as acrimoniously as what went down the last two weeks with Tina Charles and the Sun. The Sun is very, very angry with the way Charles conducted herself, last year as a player and this year as a restricted free agent. They believe she did not give good effort on many occasions, was not a leader and, perhaps worst of all. misled them about her intention to play for them this season. Remember. this is a team who tried to build around a former rookie of the year and MVP. That is one helluva thing to say, She gets her chance to answer back this afternoon in a teleconference at 2:30. That should be very interesting.

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Achonwa Knows What UConn Getting In Nurse

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The playing of Tuesday’s national championship game between Notre Dame and UConn will lead to the transition to next year when the programs play again in the regular season on Dec. 6 in South Bend.

   And one of the key members of next year’s UConn team will be freshman Kia Nurse, the standout Canadian point guard.

   Ironcially, one of the Nurse’s teammates on the Canadian national team last year – for whom she started at the point at age 17 – is Notre Dame’s senior center, Natalie Achonwa, forced to miss the Final Four after injuring her ACL in the South Bend regional semfinal.

  “I just know she’s very tenacious and she’s very high-energy,” Achonwa said of Nurse. “I only played with her for the first time last year. So I just know off the court she’s a really good person and this summer I’m excited to see what she’ll do for Canada and that might give you guys [UConn fans] a better insight.”

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A Look At Stanford-UConn

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STANFORD vs. UCONN WOMEN
National semifinals
Time: 9 p.m.
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.
TV: ESPN (Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke and Holly Rowe)
Radio: WTIC-AM 1080, WILI-AM 1400 (Bob Joyce and Debbie Fisk)
Series history: UConn, 9-6
Last meeting: UConn, 76-57, Gampel Pavilion, Nov. 14, 2013
Streaks: UConn W44, Stanford W4
Stanford (33-3)
13 Chiney Ogwumike, F, 6-3, Sr. 26.4 ppg – Likely first pick in the WNBA Draft by the Connecticut Sun averages 12.1 rebounds, shoots 60.4 percent from the field.
33 Amber Orrange, G, 5-7, Jr. 10.1 – Has 161 assists and just 55 turnovers this season
44 Karlie Samuelson, F, 6-0, Fr. 5.3 – Has two starts, shooting 90.7 percent from free throw line
41 Bonnie Samuelson, F, 6-3, Jr., 7.4 – Leads team with 148 three-point attempts (41.9 percent)
3 Mikaela Ruef, F, 6-3, Sr. 7.1 – Leads team in rebounding (9.4) and has 118 assists
1 Lili Thompson, G, 5-7, Fr., 8.2 – Shooting 41.9 percent from three-point line

UConn (38-0)
4 Moriah Jefferson, G, 5-7, So. 10.2 ppg – Shooting 58.8 percent from the field; 14 assists, five turnovers in NCAAs
30 Breanna Stewart, F, 6-4, So. 19.4 – Unanimous first-team selection as Associated Press All-American
14 Bria Hartley, G, 5-7, Sr. 16.3 –  Needs 32 points to reach 2,000 in her career
31 Stefanie Dolson, C, 6-5, Sr. 12.4 – Had 14 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks in regional final
23 Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, F, 6-0, Jr. 13.1 – Most outstanding player of the Lincoln regional
41 Kiah Stokes, C, 6-3, Jr., 4.4 – Had seven rebounds in 15 minutes in regional final
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Great defenders: The Huskies have won their 38 games by an average of 35.0 points. Their margin of victory in seven postseason games, including the American Athletic Conference tournament, is 27.4. … The Huskies are holding all opponents to just 47.3 points and 30.7 shooting. Both are just shy on NCAA records both set by UConn’s 2009-10 team. … Stanford had held its 36 opponents to 59.8 points and 35.3 shooting.
Teammates and rivals: Hartley and Ogwumike were teammates on the 2012 USA Basketball 3×3 gold medalist team in Greece. Ogwumike, who has 26 double-doubles, has led the Cardinal in scoring in 34 of their 36 games this season
Samuelsson connection: Aside from the two Samuelsson sisters already playing for Stanford, the Cardinal (and UConn) – are after the third, Katie Lou,a 6-3 forward in the Class of 2015, a junior at Mater Dei, where Mosqueda-Lewis played.  …
Historical programs: UConn’s 15th Final Four is second most to Tennessee (17) in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history. Stanford is third (12). … Stewart’s 738 points this season are third most in UConn history. She trails Maya Moore’s seasons of 868 (2010-11) and 754 (2008-09).

JOHN ALTAVILLA, jaltavilla@courant.com

Tell Us Your Strategy That Brings Home A UConn National Championship

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The UConn are men headed for Dallas … the Husky women to Nashville. Each two wins away from a national title. OK UConn women’s fans, this is your chance: Give us your blueprint for winning a championship. Follow this model: The three things the UConn women must do to bring home a record-setting ninth national title. Just three: Step 1, Step 2, Step 3. Leave your post right here in the comments section, we’ll take a look at the very best advice for Geno and his team and run some of your best thoughts in the paper.

Geno Thirlled For Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis

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After she was named the most outstanding player of the Lincoln regional on Monday night, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis admitted there was a time or two this season when she feared her luck just might not change for the better.

After being named an All-American as a sophomore after breaking UConn’s single-season record for made three-pointers (118), KML’s junior year started with an elbow injury in Game 2 vs. Stanford and was complicated by mono before trip to South Florida on Feb. 16.

In all, it cost her 12 games and much of her self-confidence.

“Yes, I would say there were a few times I wondered this season if things were ever going to get better,” she said.

Well, they have. And no one is happier for her than her coach.

“(She) has had a very difficult year. For players that have never been seriously hurt, when you
do get hurt, you’re never really quite sure how to handle it. I think that first injury really set her
back. And she couldn’t wait to get back and when she got back, she hurt her other elbow,” Geno Auriemma said. “And then when she was clear to play with that, she got a case of mono.

“I am honest with these guys. I told her to stop feeling sorry for herself and that nobody was going to feel sorry for her. There’s kids who have torn ACLs. There’s kids who lose the season. She’s
fortunate that she’s still playing. And I think she was just kind of down in the dumps the whole
time. That’s not going to help you get any better. And then we had a really serious talk right
before the NCAA To
urnament started and I think she got a lot off her chest. We put a lot of
things out there, she and I. As she said, these three weekends can make you forget all the trials
and tribulations you went through during the previous four months. I was ecstatic fo
r her that
she was MVP of this tournament how well she played. I’m really thrilled for her.”

UConn Makes The Final Four Again

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One well-worn adage about sports has always rubbed Geno Auriemma the wrong way.
He believes one does not truly defend a championship. He says championships are unique, won by players defined by distinctive circumstances. Then the cast changes, new chemistry is introduced and off they go again.
So, this business about the Huskies defending last year’s national championship, technically correct, doesn’t really fly with the boss, just like it didn’t the first seven times someone tried to tell him so.
Auriemma has said from the start if this team won the program’s ninth national championship it would – and should – stand alone.
Well, now it’s 38 down, two more to go for this team and its singular moment on the stage.
The No. 1 Huskies moved to their 15th Final Four, their seventh straight since 2008, with a 69-54 win over Texas A&M before 7,169 at the Pinnacle Bank Arena.

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Sun Solve Gruda Dilemma, Ship Her To Sparks

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The Connecticut Sun have traded forward Sandrine Gruda to the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for the 11th overall pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft and a second round pick in 2015.

The Sun now have two selections in the April 14 draft, No. 1 and 11

Selected by Connecticut with the 13th overall pick in the 2007 WNBA Draft, the 6-foot-4 Gruda is a French native who played just 85 games for the Sun between 2008-10.

“Sandrine has not played for the Sun since 2010,” Sun Vice President and General Manager Chris Sienko said. “At a certain point, we owe it to our fans to bring players to Connecticut who want to be here and contribute to a championship each year.”

Three Huskies Are Wade Finalists; Wilson Decision April 16

by Categorized: A'ja Wilson, Uncategorized Date:

Three UConn players are among the dozen named by the WBCA on Thursday as finalists for the prestigious Wade Trophy – Stefanie Dolson, Bria Hartley and Breanna Stewart

Jewell Loyd and Kayla McBride of Notre Dame join Maggie Lucas of Penn State, Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper, Florida State’s Natasha Howard, South Carolina’s Tiffany Mitchell, Odyssey Sims of Baylor Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike and Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas as finalists.

The winner will be announced during the Final Four.

Also, top-ranked high school prospect A’ja Wilson of South Carolina announced on Twitter Thursday that she will make her collegiate decision on April 16. Wilson’s list includes UConn, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina

Huskies Place 3 On WBCA Regional Team

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Stefanie Dolson, Bria Hartley and Breanna Stewart have been selected to the All-Region 1 Team as announced by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). This marks the second selection for both Dolson (2013) and Hartley (2012) and the first for Stewart.

The WBCA All-America selection committee will select the 10-member WBCA Division I Coaches’ All-America Team from these 52 All-Region picks.

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UConn Celebrates Geno 1000th With 51-Point Win

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, Genos1000th, UConn women's basketball, Uncategorized Date:

It began in November 1985 in Iona’s tiny, dark gym in New Rochelle, N.Y., a game UConn won, but one few remember exactly how.
And now 999 games later, UConn’s Geno Auriemma’s journey to college sports royalty reached a grand milestone in a historic building where Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler became college basketball icons.
What will the world remember in 30 years? Certainly, not that the Huskies pounded Houston, 92-41 before just 1,569 at Hofheinz Pavilion. That was expected.
Perhaps it will remember the touchstone day that symbolized how amazing it seems that all of this has even happened at a place that had just one winning season before Auriemma arrived.
No. 1 UConn (28-0, 15-0) won its 34th straight dating to the start of last year’s NCAA Tournament. And they did it with customary ease against a Cougars program suffering mightily this season.
By the way, Auriemma’s all-time record at UConn is now 867-133, a nifty winning percentage of 86.7. And the Huskies have lost only 52 games since the start of the championship era in 1994-95, which defies statistical probability.
Bria Hartley scored 24 points, shooting 8 of 12, enabling her to pass Tiffany Hayes into the program’s Top 10 scorers with 1,802 points. She has five rebounds and four assists.
Stefanie Dolson added 24 points and nine rebounds. She was 8-for-8 from the field and had three blocked shots.
It was Dolson’s fourth 20-plus game this season, her first since scoring 25 at Central Florida on Jan. 1.  It was Hartley’s ninth game with 20 or more, including three of her last five.
And Breanna Stewart, who scored her 1,000th point in her 63rd game last week, added another 16 in her 64th along with seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks and three steals.
The Huskies now play SMU in Dallas on Wednesday. After that they will have two regular-season games remaining, Saturday’s Senior Day at Gampel Pavilion against Rutgers and March 3 at Louisville.
Auriemma has said many times in the last few weeks he didn’t even know his 1,000th game was approaching. And frankly, there was no energy in Hofheinz in remind him, with the exception of a good-sized Huskies fan base who cheers echoed in a building basically barren after the crowd there to see the Houston men play Central Florida hit the streets
This was not a particularly entertaining game. The Huskies played with just enough juice, not quite the way they did last Wednesday to beat UCF at the XL Center. That was a day for the players; Stewart’s 1,000th career point, Hartley’s admission to the 1,500-500-500 club.
In fact, Auriemma wasn’t very happy at halftime, despite leading 40-16 and holding the Cougars to just three points in the final 9:32.
UConn never trailed, but when does it ever for more than a few seconds? They scored the first seven points and then were leading 19-13 when Campbell, who had 10 points in the first half, scored one the Cougars’ six first-half field goals with 9:32 to play.
From there, it was all blue. The Huskies began an 11-0 roll that increased the lead to 17. And with Houston scoring only three points in the remainder of the half, the lead grew to 20 (34-14) with 2:42 to play and just ballooned from there.
Dolson and Hartley both scored 13 points in the first half. Stewart added 10. The Huskies actually took five fewer shots than Houston in opening 20 minutes, but Houston’s 6-for-30 performance (20 percent) more than compensated.
The Cougars have now lost four straight and 14 of 15 since beating Rice on Dec. 20, the last game Todd Buchanan coached before his unexpected resignation.