Five days after returning from Tampa, Fla., and another six from finishing the regular season in Louisville March 3, No. 1 UConn departs Friday for another five-day trip to Texas for games at Houston and SMU.
And for as long as UConn remains in the American Athletic Conference, the specter of time-consuming travel will be something it will need to adapt too. After Rutgers leaves following the season, the days of bus trips will essentially be over.
“That is the one downside to where we are right now is the travel is tough,” Geno Auriemma said earlier this week. “Everything is a plane trip. Mentally you have to be good. You have to be mature and you have to be able to pace yourself, know what the expectation level is.”
Next season, Tulsa, Tulane and East Carolina will join the AAC, which means road trips will become incrementally longer and tougher. And there is nothing the AAC can do about it, even though there has been discussion about developing travel partners, which would make it more possible to group games geographically.
“I think TV dictates so many of the games,” Auriemma said. “The conference has made a comitment to try to help the furthermost teams, which would be us and Houston and SMU. … I don’t know that given the TV demands, and the fact a lot of games are on campus, how it [the schedule] would be able to mesh with the men’s teams.
“It was a little bit easier in our old league, because a lot of the men’s teams played off campus so it was never an issue of availability in a building. It is a little different now. .. You can’t schedule every game to fit into a nice little package. Somebody wants you to play Tuesday, or somebody wants you to play Wednesday, or someone wants you on a Saturday afternoon at 4 o’clock.”
This will be UConn’s second trip to Texas. They played at Baylor on Jan. 13. They have also been to Florida twice. Next season, the Huskies fly to Florida three times to play at USF, Central Florida and in a Thanksgiving Tournament near Naples. The 2015 Final Four is also in Tampa.
Nurse to run Canada’s offense
Lisa Thomaidis, the coach of Canada’s national team, told the Edmonton Sun earlier this seek that Kia Nurse, one of the four freshmen headed to UConn in the fall, will likely be her point guard for the World Championship in Turkey in September. Nurse, who turns 18 on Saturday, is also the youngest member of the team that finished second at the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship. “She’s only going to be better from her experience last season,” Thomaidis told the Sun. “I’m looking forward to her the second time, (using) that experience she gained and the amount of time she spent with her teammates in our system of play.”
The Huskies’ 33-game winning streak is tied for fourth-longest in program history with one compiled between Nov. 17, 1996 and March 22, 1997. … By scoring her 1,000th point Wednesday, Stewart joined Dolson, Hartley and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis in that regard. It’s only the fifth team in program history to feature four 1,000-point scorers simultaneously. … The Huskies blocked 11 shots Wednesday and now has 234 to climb a little closer to the program record (250) set by the 1994-95 national champion. …. Dolson had five rebounds to move within 24 of becoming the fifth player in program history with at least 1,000 rebounds. … There are approximately 200 tickets remaining for Senior Night’s game against Rutgers at Gampel on March 1. … The program honored its male practice players before the game.