Impressions From Night One At Paradise Jam

by Categorized: Brianna Banks, Connecticut Sun, Doug Bruno, Geno Auriemma, Hartford women's basketball, jen rizzotti, Paradise Jam, SNY, Stefanie Dolson, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

Good morning for St. Thomas where the weather is, well, you know, I don’t have to tell you.

Some observations following UConn’s Wake up call to the ACC – its 95-34 win over the Demon Deacons Thursday night at the Paradise Jam.

  • The Huskies play Marist tonight. Game time is approximately 8:15 p.m., on SNY. Marist was trounced last night by No. 14 Purdue, 71-50. UConn set a tournament record last night with its 95 points
  • It’s one thing to speculate about the depth and versatility the Huskies appear to have. It’s another thing to see it operate on a demolition site. You could not guard them last night; but hey, don’t feel bad, neither could Wake Forest. The Huskies shot 68.6 percent and won by 61 despite taking four fewer shots than its opponent. A very good sign: UConn got to the foul line 28 times. The only bad sign: They missed 10. It was the only crease in a perfectly pressed performance.
  •  Here is why you can’t guard UConn. Of the seven three-pointers made last night, three flew from the hands of players 6-2 or taller. Morgan Tuck (6-2), Breanna Stewart (6-4) and Stef Dolson (6-5) all had one, the first in Dolson’s career. And Kiah Stokes (6-3) was just inside the arc when she made a jumper from left side.
  • UConn defense flattened Wake Forest in a variety of ways. Hands up, hands down, hands extended. It didn’t matter. The Demon Deacons had 24 turnovers and that seems too few. Maybe the official scorer just stopped counting. And the thing was, as it always is, it didn’t matter what the score was. The heat just kept coming.
  • I thought Bria Hartley looked splendid in her first 15 minutes of the season. She made each of her three shots, scored eight points and had four rebounds, three assists and three steals. She thought her defense wasn’t up to par, which was easy to see since the Huskies won by only 61. Geno Auriemma’s view was different. He felt her rustiness was embodied by missing four of six free throws. And I trust his view.
  • I asked Geno again last night if he has reconsidered his point of view about returning as USA women’s senior national team coach for the 2014 World Championship and 2016 Olympics. He didn’t say no, but we didn’t exactly say yes, either. He more or less said he hasn’t heard from anyone from USA Basketball and doesn’t think he will for a while because they have more pressing issues now.
  • So if not Geno, if not Doug Bruno, then who? Mike Thibault? Fired. Marynell Meadors? Fired. Jen Gillom? Fired twice. Muffet McGraw? Not interested. Kim Mulkey? Under NCAA investigation. Dawn Staley? I wouldn’t think so.
  • You don’t think Jen Rizzotti would have any interest in coaching the Connecticut Sun, do you? That certainly would be good for the box office. I mean, she has it so good at Hartford and likely will do more at the USA Basketball level at time goes on. If the Sun want her, it they better be prepared to pay her. The WNBA has its share of mediocre coaches and NBA/WNBA retreads. Connecticut would be making a big mistake if it sets it sights on another one.
  • If there are 12 seniors in college basketball that are better all-around players than Kelly Faris, I’ll play poker with a hungry iguana.
  • The most improved players at UConn: Dolson and Brianna Banks, who is faaaaaaaaaaaaaast.




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16 thoughts on “Impressions From Night One At Paradise Jam

  1. nhntc47

    Uconn has depth this year. And yes, Brianna and Kiah have been very impressive. This is a very good sign. National championship #8?

  2. Palimpsest

    John–I was Eager for your blog/column today. This is one of your better columns. Your comments on Faris (I just love her) or Dolson and Banks were right on. Stokes was impressive–7 rebounds and 4 points and great defense. If there is any player on this team that ISN’t vastly improved from last year I’ll eat that Iguana you are playing poker with. Pass on the love and affection for OUR WOMEN to OUR Women that their Fans feel for them.

  3. Village Idiot

    Let us not count our Championships just yet. Baylor, Stanford, UCLA, Louisville, ND are pretty good teams. If UConn rebounding or rebounding defense fails as it did against the Wake there will be no championship. Smaller Women out rebounded Stewart and Dolson. One of WF player got 9 rebounds.

  4. Harry

    Enjoyed the game. Geno’s halftime comment about rebounding was right on. I’d rather the bigs get rebounds and play defense than score 3’s. I’m probably the only fan but to me Dolson on defense is a real liability and the rebounds she gets are the ones that drop into her hands although she actually blocked out once last night.
    Impressive yes, but let’s wait until they play some actual competition down the line. They will be tough to defend but they must match that with defense down low.

  5. Dave

    What prior UConn team is this years team most like? Would you consider doing a player by player comparison of the two teams. Thanks

  6. Samanthabrown3

    John, I’m going to start hunting for 12 seniors who are better than Kelly Faris, because I really want to see you playing poker with a hungry iguana!

  7. tonyc

    If there is anyone out there that thinks there is any team that can come within double digets of this UConn team, you better think again. Im thinking not even Baylor Stanford and Duke can come within 20 pts of this UConn defense. This is one intimadating, devastating, big time demolition machine. Top teams like Stanford, or Baylor or Duke or Maryland will not be able to hold this team under 80 points on an off night. The rebounding problem was a direct result of Wake taking crazy shots that bounced 15 ft off the rim where Dolsen and Stewart couldnt reach them. There will be games this season where UConn scores 60+ points in a half. There will be games where opponets dont score 10 in a half. WCBB has never seen a team like this, never ever. THey can do everything, and they can do it because individually they can exploit their talents because defenses cant cheat or double one player without getting burnt. Dont forget this is just the beginning of the season and this team will only get better has they learn to play together. Dont forget also this team is made up of alot of underclassman. This team gives explosive a new name.

    1. Dumber than the average Village Idiot

      Stanford defeats UConn by 10+. Stanford will kill UConn on the boards. Stanford refs will get Stewart in early foul trouble reaching.

  8. Village Idiot

    WOW. What great Uconn Fans. I accept your criticism. I along with this UConn team thank you for supporting them, with all their warts.
    You all know that Uconn will be extremely lucky to beat Baylor, Stanford, Duke and even (maybe) ND by double digits. Yes, I too would love to see them do just that. But reality–fantasy!! However Kelly Faris is my choice for number one basketball player in the College game. She’s MS everything.

  9. Dumber than the average Village Idiot

    After the Marist ugly win, on her SNY interview, Kaleena is clearly NOT happy being 2nd fiddle to Stewart. She has been very quick to pull the trigger and launch shots with no one in rebounding position. Trouble in paradise brewing?

    Stanford defeats UConn by 10+. Stanford will kill UConn on the boards. Stanford refs will get Stewart in early foul trouble reaching.

  10. martin fallon

    Fresh legs, a hounding, full-court press; tough to beat. Let’s keep all the players happy and unselfish, because Banks could be the real deal, if she understands she doesn’t have to be spectacular every second on the floor and Geno gives her a real chance to contribute.

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