UConn Now Banking On Brianna

by Categorized: Brianna Banks, Geno Auriemma, SNY, UConn women's basketball Date:

Frustrated, maybe even a little annoyed with Brianna Banks’ tendency to pull up on her own reins, Geno Auriemma lost patience with her last season,.chalking up the inconsistency to the dilemma some players have when the spotlight first shines on them.

They are afraid to make mistakes.

“I would Shea [Ralph] has probably been Brianna’s biggest supporter, biggest fan. She works with her every day,” Auriemma said Wednesday after UConn’s 119-50 win over Holy Family at the  “Me, I just complain all the time how I want her to be more confident, more assertive with the ball.”

It appears Auriemma is finally getting a sense of what Banks’ can do. And the reason is that she now believes she is capable of it.

“I know what my role is on the team,” Banks said. “I know what it is and I know where to go, what to do, what places everybody needs to be at – to be a ball handler, a slasher to be a good defensive player.”

This apparent transformation made its debut with 23 impressive minutes against Holy Family, the nation’s 12th-ranked Division II program. Banks scored 20 points, shooting 8 of 9 from the field, including 4 of 4 from three.

“Is three-point shooting one of my strengths? Not yet, but I am getting there,” Banks said. “I’m trying to make it one of my strengths.”

Banks also contributed five defensive rebounds and five assists and played with the assertiveness and instinct that attracted the coaching staff to her when she was a high school star in Georgia.

That’s where Banks traveled this summer in hopes familiar ground would help her rediscover who she was as a player.
“From where she was last year to where she is now, it is not even close,” Auriemma said. “You watch her now, see how athletic and how explosive she is. And if you are making three-pointers, it’s going to be really difficult for anyone defending her to keep [Banks] in front [of the defender].”

Freshman Breanna Stewart led UConn with 21 points in 25 against Holy Family, noteworthy only because she missed practice time earlier this week with a sore right foot. She was one of seven Huskies to score double-figures in a game in which they made 18 threes and shot 43 of 74 from the floor.

The play of Banks is especially important to UConn this season.

Junior Bria Hartley, the WBCA All-American, didn’t play in the preseason and is very questionable for Sunday’s opener against the College of Charleston because of her sprained left ankle. And Caroline Doty, who excelled offensively Wednesday (11 points, 4 of 4 from three) will be limited, on occasion, by her chronically troublesome left knee.

Without Hartley, and considering Doty’s state, Auriemma may very well start freshman Moriah Jefferson at the point and give Banks more time to run the floor.

Banks credits Ralph for much of what’s going right now for her.

“She has always had my back,” Banks said. “She doesn’t just yell at me or bash me. He tells me what it is that I am doing wrong and tries to correct it.

“When I think back on it, I just think I was trying too hard and too afraid not to make mistakes, as most freshmen do. You don’t want to mess up on the court. I thought about [failure] too much and if you do that you are going to mess up. And it seemed last year that every time I messed up, it [the mistake] was followed by another and another.”

Auriemma has seen enough to feel great things lie ahead for Banks. And he’s not going to do anything to stunt her momentum, as long as she keeps her head in the game.

“She has the chance to play as much as she wants,” Auriemma said. “I will not be the one who will limit her time.”


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7 thoughts on “UConn Now Banking On Brianna

  1. Palimpsest

    It takes a special person (egomaniac) to be yelled at an shrug it off. Most of us try hard and when yelled at give up at times –because we’ve done all we can do.
    Shea’s approach is perfect for Banks. Positive re enforcement of what she needs to do. It showed big time in the HF game. Now they are a good Div2 game, not Louisville or ND. That’s where Banks needs to shine.
    Very nice article John.

  2. MaryAnne Hartley

    I had one heck of a time getting a watch able or audible program from the CBS/UConn video pix/radio pay for view/listen site. I gave up at half time. Watched the game (again) on gametracker. If this how poorly streaming video from them is going to be–it ain’t worth the price, even if it were free.

    I’m totally impressed by Banks. Was last year. Playing time seems to cure many of the ills of a timid player. Freshmen need to know where they fit. Jefferson, Stewart and Tuck are getting so much press the don’t have any problems with thinking they are great. They are good. But so are Banks and Stokes and KML (who is great).

  3. Larry Banks

    John you were great on the SNY show. TV should be your business. Forget these blogs and go full time into TV Broadcasting. If Geraldo can make a go of it and look at him, you should be as super star.

    The UConn women and Geno et all were great..

  4. HousyRunner

    Curious that MAH mentions the poor streaming quality of the CBS/UConn video stream. I had a similiar problem for both games, and thought the production was poor too (trouble getting a picture, ad graphics during foul shots, no audio off during timeouts so you could hear announcers talking among themselves, poor or no graphics, etc.). I complained via email, asked for a refund, and was issued a summary “The UCONN game you’re inquiring about did not have any reported issues. Unfortunately we will not be able to honor this refund request.” Avoid this subscription and hope that SNY streaming does much better.

  5. Larry Banks

    HousyRunner–MAH– I too had terrible results with the CBS/UConn Audio and streaming Video. The commercials were loud and clear but the game video and Bob Joyces audio were unwatchable and unaudible. It was just terrible. CPTV had some problem initially but were great after that. WTIC I could stream even to “dial up” internet and listen to the games. Now with 1.2mbyte internet I can’t get the game or voice I paid for. Uconn fans don’t waste your money on this. Maybe John could ask his “constituents” if they had this problem too.

  6. Baylor 80-0

    How about that Gunnery Sergeant Meighan Simmons leading the Lady Vols to a big L against Chatanooga :-) Holly apparently has no control over GSMS or can’t coach.

    1. GSMS

      The Irony for all haters is the heart and hustle is a definite for the her. She wants to win….
      No one says anything about others who take the same amount of shots, nor do they get a tag like Gunnery Seargent. It takes more than one to win and lose a game….

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