Junior guard Brianna Banks did not play Sunday against South Florida because of a left ankle injury she sustained in practice last week.
“Hopefully, she will be back sooner rather than later,” Geno Auriemma said. “She has tried [to play]. She’s pretty tough kid. But the swelling just won’t going down … But it’s been that kind of year [with injuries]. We haven’t had a lot of opportunity to be with the entire team.”
Banks, who missed the second half of her sophomore season with an ACL injury, rolled it during a shooting drill. She tried to play on it last Wednesday against Memphis but had to come out after three minutes. She did not practice Friday or Saturday.
“The swelling never went down, so now it is about 10 days [since she originally hurt it] and it still hasn’t gone down. It still hurts a little. ” Banks said. “I deciced to try to play [Wednesday], but Rosie [athletic trainer Rosemary Ragle] said ‘just sit it out.’
“They are still concerned about this one area of my ankle that continues to swell. If the swelling doesn’t go down by this weekend, we are going to take some other precautions.”
Medical waiver not a slam dunk
When UConn applies for the medical hardship waiver for sophomore Morgan Tuck after the season it will be relying on the interpretation of the American Athletic Conference for approval.
But not even Geno Auriemma is certain UConn’s request will be approved because of how closely Tuck straddles the line for qualification.
She played in eight of UConn’s first 20 games and three in January. Normally, student-athletes need to play in less than 30 percent of their team’s regular-season games and not after the mid-point of the season to qualify for an extra year.
UConn plays 31 games regular-season games this season. Tuck’s last appearance was in Game 16 against Houston, when she scored a career-high 19 points and apparently re-injured her right knee.
“There is no rhyme or reason to [the decision-making process],” Auriemma said. “I have seen kids denied it [the waiver] that you would think would be automatic. So I don’t know. Once you play, it is kind of out of your hands. If you never play, that is different, that is easy but once you play and you play the number of games that Morgan has played so we will go through the process and see what happens.”
When Sue Bird injured her knee as a freshman, she had played only one game [eight] over the limit and her request was denied.
Meanwhile, Tuck’s career continues to be burden by knee injuries. She suffered an ACL to her left knee in 2009 and has struggled throughout her career with her right.
“I never planned on red-shirting,’’ Tuck said. “I don’t want to red-shirt just because I want to be able to leave with my class that I came in with. But I think things happen for a reason. I’m just going to try to make the most of it. I don’t have like a detailed future plan. I feel like it can help. I feel like you get an extra year in school. That can’t hurt you.’’
Looking down the road
Auriemma was asked what he thought of the possibility of playing Notre Dame in a possible match-up of unbeaten teams in the final four or national championship game.
“I’m still waiting for the Connecticut-Baylor game [last season] in the Final Four,” Auriemma said. “I am not thinking that far ahead. I’m still figuring out how we are going to guard Baylor and it will guard us. You can’t think about what might happen that far ahead.”
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored eight points to increase her career total to 1,383. When she reaches 1,500, she will join Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley as the only trio of teammates, on the same team, to all hit that milestone. … In 57 games at UConn, Stewart now has 890 points. She will soon become the 39th player in program history to score 1,000 points and likely the second-fastest behind Maya Moore (55). .. Dolson had eight rebounds to pass Kara Wolters in program history with 928 into in sixth place. Dolson has a chance to become only the fifth UConn player with 1,000 rebounds – Tina Charles (1,367), Moore (1,276), Rebecca Lobo (1,268) and Jamelle Elliott (1,054). … Moriah Jefferson had seven assists and one turnover. In her last four games, she has 26 assists and three turnovers in 135 minutes.