Since there is no way to predict what ultimately will become of NCAA conference realignment, there is no way for UConn to know where it may be in five years come postseason tournament time.
This weekend’s inaugural AAC tournament is also the last one Louisville and Rutgers play before leaving for the ACC and Big Ten. Next year, East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa join.
“I don’t know that anybody sees themselves anywhere,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “You just look around the country and see all of the lawsuits that are out there [concerning realignment]. It’s just the world we live it. Would I be surprised if I’m still at an AAC press conference in 10 years? No, not all at. Would I be surprised if something else happens within that time? Not at all.
“All you can do is plan to play the teams you are playing right now. Look when our men left the Big East last year they thought they were going into an inferior league. And now there are five teams in the Top 20. So how did that turn out?
“Sometimes you let yourself think that it [being moved] isn’t going to be that good. Rutgers, UConn, South Florida and Louisville, we all did what we did in the Big East last year [the top four tournament seeds]. When Rutgers and Louisville leave, someone will have to step up. It’s the nature of things.”
Former UConn men’s star Andre Drummond, in town with the NBA’s Detroit Pistons to play the Celtics on Sunday, supported the UConn women by coming to the game. He was sitting behind the scorer’s table.
Drummond, who would be a junior had he stayed in college, was very close friend with Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who he described as “his little sister.”
He said he came to the came to surprise her.
“I didn’t know he was coming,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “I looked around and saw him. I don’t know anyone else in my life that big (6-foot-11).”
Stoked about Stokes
It came as a pleasant surprise to the UConn program when junior center Kiah Stokes was named to the AAC’s second team. Stokes has had a breakout year as a rebounder (7.4) and shot blocker (76) and likely will start at center next year with the graduation of Stefanie Dolson.
“Listen, no one has complained more than me about Kiah Stokes,” Auriemma said. “It has gotten to the point, and I am not exaggerating, that I would say in her three years here that for 90 percent of the time all she’s seen is me roll her eyes at her.
“But one day, I had a conversation with the coaches and I admitted, ‘You have to give Kiah Stokes credit for this: When we put her in the game, we know what we are going to get. Last year, that wasn’t the case; even in November and December that wasn’t the case. Her effort was iffy, haphazard. This last month, I know if I put her in the game she is going to play defense, rebound and block shots.”
The Huskies had six blocked shots to increase their program-best total to 267. ….. They assisted on 12 of their 26 field goals after coming into the game averaging 21.8 this season. Their program record is 21.7, set by the 2001-02 national champion. … Bria Hartley (1,868) scored 17 points to pass Svetlana Abrosimova (1,865) into ninth place among career program scorers. Saturday was Hartley’s 145th game. Abrosimova played only 127.