There were few wrinkles to iron out in the neatly pressed plan Geno Auriemma brought to practice in preparation for Tuesday’s game at Louisville.
The male practice players who supplement the roster and push his players are still on winter break. And then Auriemma found out that Bria Hartley and Breanna Stewart could not work the last two days because of ankle injuries sustained last weekend.
This left the Huskies shorthanded, at least on paper. As Louisville has learned during its stay in the Big East, no team with a roster of McDonald’s All-Americas is ever without recourse. But Auriemma isn’t one to automatically push the depth button.”
“It’s all about who you have out there [on the floor] and who you have them out there with,” Auriemma said. “But this isn’t the NBA where you have four or five players capable of out-playing the other team’s starters. It’s not going to happen.”
UConn’s situation tonight isn’t as bad as it could have been. Hartley, who turned her troublesome left ankle, was cleared to play. Stewart wasn’t.
“We’ve been dealing with this [injuries] since the preseason up until now and it’s getting tiring,” Auriemma said. “It’s getting frustrating to not have enough players in practice to give enough players the repetitions they need to get better. It seems like you are stuck in one spot.
“It puts pressure on the healthy players to stay healthy. It’s been bizarre, but the alternative is worse. Except for Bria, our injuries have been a nuisance more than something long-term or season-ending. Maybe our best days are ahead of us.”