Geno Auriemma announced that Bria Hartley, his WBCA All-American, would miss Sunday’s season opener against College of Charleston at Gampel Pavilion.
And she may not play at Texas A&M on November 18, either.
“She says it feels better. But she’s missed a month now [with a severely sprained left ankle],” Auriemma said. “It’s realistic to think that she will need at least a week of practice before she can play. So in my mind, I am thinking sometime after Texas A&M.”
In Hartley’s place will either freshman Moriah Jefferson, who has been so impressive in the preseason, or veteran Caroline Doty.
“I’ve played in two preseason games. I feel like I am ready,” Jefferson said. “You have to have confidence and If calls on me, I will be prepared.”
Ironically, Hartley started her first game at UConn at the point in 2010 in place of the injured Doty.
“I was just talking to the coaches about who might start Sunday,” Auriemma said. “We’re struggling a little with how it may play out. Other than Stefanie Dolson, Kaleena-Mosqueda Lewis and Kelly Faris, the other two starters will have an effect on everything else we do.
“It’s almost like, if you bat someone third, then someone else almost needs to bat fourth. Starting two freshmen can be good or it can be bad.
“We could go with Caroline and Breanna Stewart; that would give us pretty good balance [with experience]. If we go with Moriah and Stewie, that’s two freshmen. That’s the struggle that we having right now.”
Hartley has been hurt since playing for USA Basketball in the 3×3 World Championship in August in Greece. She has been wearing a protective boot during the entire preseason and has missed all but a handful of workouts. An MRI showed a slight tear in the ligament on the inside of her foot.
“Right now, I am just working on trying to get better,” Hartley said. “It’s frustrating, but it’s a long season and I don’t want it to get worse. I don’t want this to nag me the whole season.”
Hartley says she feels about 70 percent better and that her range of motion in the ankle it better.