If you glance at that grease board calendar on your refrigerators, the one with the “x” marks through all the months since UConn’s loss to Notre Dame in the national semifinals, you will see there are just seven more days to kill before the start of 2012-13 practice.
But who can wait any more after all this time, right?
UConn assistant coach Shea Ralph was nice enough to provide a little off-the-cuff scouting report on how things have been going at Gampel Pavilion since September.
She couldn’t have sounded more encouraging, to be honest.
On Caroline Doty
“She has settled so much better into her role. I think she is comfortable with where her body is, comfortable with her mind set about how she wants to approach the year.
“She’s been a great leader for us. Her mentality has been different in a great way. We all want her to have a really great year and enjoy it because she has been through so much. She deserves this and I am very excited for her. She is in a really good place, one I don’t think she’s been in for a very long time.
“As for what’s is next for her, well, we haven’t really discussed what may be coming for her [in terms of a graduate assistant position]. I think she’s keeping it as an option. I don’t think she’s made a decision. She’s been thinking about playing some more after [college].
On Brianna Banks
“She is night and day, so far, and that extends beyond the court to her life on campus. She just seems to be more comfortable. She is working very hard on a daily basis, but then again, everything can change once practice starts. I try not to get too excited, but we do let her know that we’ve noticed the change in her.
“We tell her she looks good, that she’s playing with a lot of confidence. Players like her, who go through a tough freshman season, need to play with confidence because it’s impossible to play here without it. It’s just not going to happen. For me, that’s the big thing.”
“Brianna’s strength right now lies in the full-court game. She has the potential to be a great defender, but it takes time. She has always relied on her athleticism. Now she is coming up against kids just as talented, perhaps even more so, and it’s forced her to work harder. We’ve crossed that bridge with her and it should come easier.”
On Moriah Jefferson adjustment from being home-schooled in high school
“She has also taken a lot of classes at a junior college [while in Texas], so she’s been able to have a kind of college experience already. She is perfectly fine socially. In fact, she is very, very social and is enjoying college very much. It’s been pretty easy for her. She’s great, very witty. I love her. And she has a very big family which helps her learn how to go along with the flow.”
On Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
“She has matured a lot and for her it’s a huge step. She has so much ability, but what held her back last year were emotional issues.
“From what we’ve seen, her maturation seems to have improved. But again, this is still preseason, and when Coach Auriemma gets on the floor it changes everything for some people. But her shooting hasn’t changed. She’s really good.
“She’s working on so many things to improve her overall game because of being known forever as just a great shooter. She wants to be a really good basketball player. She is working hard on her game, off the dribble, to show everyone she can be more than a catch-and-shoot player. If you treat her as such [as a defense] she is going to make you pay off the dribble.”
On Stefanie Dolson
“What’s really been clear to us [the staff] is how much Stefanie has changed her body. She has made a real commitment to fitness. Her stamina is greater. She looks like such a different player to me. She already had great footwork, but now she can get up and down the floor more. She’s becoming a great leader. There is something different about her and it’s really special.”
On Bria Hartley
“Bria Hartley is on a mission now. She has had an incredible preseason. I am so excited to see what they are capable of being along with Kelly [Faris] and Caroline, they have taken a great deal of ownership of the team. For them, that’s a big step.”
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