Monday was Geno Auriemma’s “Fore the Kids” golf tournament at the Hartford Golf Club in West Hartford. And along with the golfing, UConn brought a number of players along to hang out at the snack shack and say hello to and shoot hoops with the golfers as they passed though.
The program was also nice enough to allow us [the media] to say hello to the players and Geno so we could fill you in as to what’s been going on the nine-time championship program since Nashville.
Morgan Tuck, who is recovering from knee surgery in January, seems very encouraged by her recovery. That is good news for the Huskies who are really going to need her to help Kiah Stokes and Breanna Stewart deal with the post now that Stefanie Dolson is in the WNBA with purple hair.
“I always wish the process could go faster. Anyone who is hurt always does,” Tuck said. “I am happy with where I am. Rosie [Ragle, UConn’s athletic trainer] tells me I am right where I need to be. So now the next step for me will be to sprint and do the full conditioning workout aside from the treadmill. I can’t tell the difference between the knees when I run. But I do get tired because I am not in shape. My knee feels better than it has in a very long time.”
Tuck is rooming with freshman Gabby Williams, who is recovering from her second knee surgery. The two are helping each other cope and work and both expect to be fully ready for the start of practice.
Auriemma admitted he’s not totally thrilled with the condition of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who he says reported back to campus heavier than the program asked her.
‘Bottom line, if she plays to the level we’ve seen her play, there may be no stopping her,” he said. “There’s no reason she can’t be one of the best players in the country.”
Mosqueda-Lewis is working with Amanda Kimball, the program’s strength and conditioning coach, to change that. Her progress, and his reaction, will be worth noting.
“I’m trying to get into the best shape I can for the season,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “My goal is to do whatever I can accomplish and whatever helps me feel that I can perform at my best.”
Even though she is in the player pool for the upcoming USA Basketball training camp in September for the World Championships, neither KML or Auriemma, the coach of the team, is certain she will invited to camp.
Williams said the reality of college set in when she realized she only had a one-way ticket to UConn from Nevada after high school graduation.
Without Dolson and Bria Hartley, Auriemma admitted things may look different on the floor this season at times.
“I’m some ways, yes,” he said. “Those two were four-year starters and so important to what we were doing. Inevitably, it will be different. It’s easy to sit back and expect players to do things in response, but the team doesn’t look at good with Stef on the floor. Come October, I suspect the team will go through a period where it has to figure things out on the its own. We’ll give them some stuff and if they can’t figure it out we’ll go to Plan B.”
It looks like UConn is working with the Hall of Fame to schedule another non-conference game at Mohegan Sun Arena this season. It’s also likely his USA Basketball team will play at least two games after training camp at the Naval Academy Sept. 7-10. The University of Delaware and a state site in Connecticut are among the likely venues. Bridgeport’s Webster Bank Arena is considered the front runner for the state game.