Impressions From Paradise Jam (Day 3): The Departure

by Categorized: Big East women's basketball, Geno Auriemma, Paradise Jam, SNY, UConn women's basketball Date:

Good morning everyone…

Well, it’s Sunday morning and just about everyone that plays basketball has left the Marriott Frenchmen’s Reef Resort here is St. Thomas.

UConn left with its new Paradise Jam Island Division trophy and cool orange hats this morning. They should be landing on the mainland this afternoon. It played a darn good three games, outscoring Wake Forest, Marist and Purdue, 267-130.

Purdue coach Sharon Versyp and Wake Forest coach, Jen Hoover, were both at the pool early this morning, trying to get some last-minute relaxation. You could understand why.

Some impressions as I wait for my flight to take off late Monday afternoon….

  • One last iguana story. There was a rather large and colorful one perched by the main hotel pool this morning. I’d say it was the size of a power forward, if iguana played basketball. So this iguana inches itself over the edge of the pool and ducks its lizard face into the chlorinated water for a drink. There were about two dozen young women at the pool. You would have thought they’d just seen a shark. They were out of the pool, standing along its edges, looking absolutely terrified.
  • Here is something you should know about iguana. They are more afraid of us than we are of them. Not me. I’d rather interview Bill Belichick for a living than see one of those guys at night.
  • I like Warde Manuel, UConn’s new AD. I find him very approachable, which is critical for those of us paid to approach him. I understand he can’t say much about a few things we all want to know about, but he’s a former college football player and I sense he understands the media’s role in the great dynamic of college athletics. That’s all we can really expect from someone in his position.
  • You probably know this by now, but Miss Maya was the only other freshman in the history of the Paradise Jam to win an MVP in the women’s tourney before Breanna Stewart. Where does Geno find these kids?
  • Stewart has scored 89 points in her first five games, four short of Miss Maya’s 93. Stewie better get moving or she can forget about scoring 3,000 points.
  • I must be permanently concussed myself because Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis looked perfectly fine to me late Saturday after getting her head rocked by an inadvertent elbow belonging to Purdue’s Taylor Manuel. She came out of the trainer’s room smiling, eating pizza and talking on her cellphone. I should have assumed that’s what all college kids with concussions do. She will be re-evaluated as the days progress. She could miss Wednesday’s game against Colgate at the XL Center. Eh, no big deal, right?
  • This kid Courtney Moses, the Purdue guard, can really shoot. She made 6 of 8 three-pointers on Saturday. After each one she made, following the first three, I looked over the UConn bench and all Chris Dailey could do was shake her head and smile. Moses was a force of nature.
  •  I think everyone can stop worrying about Kiah Stokes. She had an incredibly positive tournament and really made Geno happy. Her line last night: 3 of 5, five rebounds, one assist, three blocks and one steal in 17 minutes. She may have the most athletic body on the team and she likely hasn’t even grown into it yet.
  • You want something to complain about? I know some of you do? Here’s a nugget for you: the Huskies are 64 of 89 from the foul line. That’s 72 percent and that is not good enough. Dolson, the best free throw shooter on the team is 11 of 15. Bria Hartley is 3 of 8. This simply can’t be allowed to continue!
  • Once again, I want to thank all of the UConn fans who came to the tournament and took the time to say hello and engage me in conversation. I enjoyed meeting you and seeing some of you again. I appreciate your kindnesses and readership very much. Thank you
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12 thoughts on “Impressions From Paradise Jam (Day 3): The Departure

  1. Puerto Rico Expatriot

    Those little lizard are so common no one notices them. I P.R. along with them, there are the coqui (night cricket sounds). Those of us who lived in PR made the trip to St Thomas and St Croix and Vieques on the weekends. Some of the younger guys would meet the “cruise ship” in San Juan and accompany the ladies to St Thomas then fly home. A great time was had by all.

  2. Genosguy

    Stokes is amazingly better than last year as is Banks–UConn can now breath a little easier.
    Concussions don’t always show up right away. Were her eye centers dielated?
    To complain about–3 point defense, but I wont’ I am fearful of retribution from avid (rabid) UConn women fans.
    Moses is truly a great three point shooter –and all I’ve ever read is she led her people out of Egypt, I would have read it further if they said she played BB.

  3. SNY Ripoff

    It was obvious to everyone but the paid refs that Banks clobbered the Purdue player. But yet Megan Culmo goes on and on about what a great block it was, while SNY is showing the replay 3 times. Banks not only whacked her with her forearm, there was body contact from shoulder to knees.

    1. Vulvue

      oooooh Lordie….that is SO horrible…

      They should be made to leave the Island…

  4. Samanthabrown3

    Love your comments and the way you write them, John! Keep doing it!

  5. Mike McManus

    John,your comments really added so much to the Tournament and are much-appreciated. I agree with your impression of the new AD; he seems to be real professional and a true advocate of UCONN programs. I wish the fan-base would leave him alone regarding Ollie and his contract. I’m sure Manuel will make the right decision about KO when he’s ready to do so…give the guy some slack. I’m thrilled about Stokes play so far and if she becomes more aggressive, she will be a real handful. I’m a Purdue Alum but I’m loyal to the UCONN women. Moses and Howser are both great shooters and PU will probably be one of the best teams in the Big Ten this year, but I loved Geno’s perspective on all of the 3-point shots that PU made. Good shooters will get their points but that’s all that PU had against a dominant UCONN team

    1. Max McGraw

      Geno would not have that perspective if UConn loses to Stanford by the 3pt

  6. Village Idiot

    MIKE–Now that’s the Mike we all love and care about. And enjoy reading. Nothing REALLY negative in that.
    People will comment. That’s the blog. Many won’t have your perspective of the game or coaching. But OPINION are just that. We can’t elect anyone or get anyone convicted on this blog. It’s just for fun. I’d love to keep it fun, wouldn’t you. Good Blog–MIKE!!\
    Now the ONE thing we can do is get our fellow citizens to send I CARE PACKAGES to our Men and Women in harms way in Afghanistan. American Legion/VFW/DAV your local recruiter or kids in HS or College will all have names and address where WE can all send Package. The P.O has special Military boxes for 10 dollars shipping and the box. I for one can’t do enough for them–I owe them my life. Don’t you????

  7. martin fallon

    In practice, they compete for playing time, and it shows in their intensity and decision making. I’m pulling for Banks and Stokes, the sophomores many predicted would give up minutes to the heralded freshmen. They both played well in this tournament. Banks made a majority of her open shots and did well on defense. Stokes got blocks, rebounds and some putbacks. If Uconn presses for 40 minutes, Geno will need everybody. Right now the only player who appears to be firing away with impunity is Jefferson. You have to love her confidence, but I wonder if Banks would get yanked for the same shooting percentage. Everybody will have their favorite players, and I’m watching the evolution of Banks and Stokes because they were never sure things out there, their time on the court still up for grabs. Just sayn’.

  8. UconnFanatic

    Kelly Faris and Caroline Doty are playing like this is their last year and they are on a mission. Kelly hit more 3’s in Paradise Jam then she has all the last 2 years. They can’t lay off her now. Doty is a lady possessed. She leads by example, pushes prods cajoles her team to do better and win.
    Banks and Stokes need not worry they just need to do what they’ve been doing but do it all the time”Stokes is very impressive as a shot blocker and rebounder. Banks drives, stops and pops and hits the three ball–and plays point guard. Geno has hit the Jackpot this year all gears are meshing. Will they lose, maybe. But they will be a pleasure to watch.

  9. billnaples

    I think it generally agreed by most that this 2012/13 edition maybe one of the deepest rosters in Geno’s 28 seasons. Thru the first 5 games Geno has gotten 14.4 minutes or more from 10 players, only Heather Buck at 4.4 plays less. And no one is playing more than 28.6 (KML). The better news is that the six who are playing less than 20 minutes a game are still playing very well. Stokes, Hartley, Doty, Banks, Tuck, and Jefferson from least to most minutes. I don’t see someone in that group getting symapthy minutes, do you? Bria’s minutes will grow most likely, the further away from the ankle/tendon pain she gets. Barring any other injuries, this roster,, this talent, it may be Geno’s most difficult time spreading the time around. All due respect it was easy to leave Engeln and Johnson on the bench last year. This talent pool much higher as a group.

  10. Louis Adelard

    Bill Naples—Nice summation. Way back when (Svet/SUE et al) Christine made a chart of playing time–someone complained about not getting HER share.
    In the prior 2 years I often wrote that Engeln and Johnson should see the writing on the walls and leave. Walker was the most talented of the 3 but discontent is bad for a team.
    While I’m at it, EDD left because (I believe) she wasn’t really of UConn talent level, not about her sister. It was a great cover story like the, “I’m burned out with basketball” excuse. Delaware has exceeded it’s “peter principle” with EDD there but they will never see a final 4. When EDD leaves they shall return to never ran status. Sorry someone, I don’t consider this negative–just my belief.

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