<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Dog House]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/blogs/dog-house http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:15:35 -0500 Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:15:35 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Boatright Helps UConn Down USF]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:42:05 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/uconn+kentucky+win+6.jpg

UConn led USF by just two points with 12 minutes to go when Ryan Boatright decided enough was enough.

The Huskies' senior guard took the game over, scoring 19 of his 28 points down the stretch and leading the defending national champions to a 66-53 win on Sunday.

"I just told myself I'm going to be aggressive the rest of the way, and that's what I did," he said. "They gave me shots and I created some shots for myself and I knocked them down."

Rodney Purvis added 17 for the Huskies (11-7, 4-2 American) who beat the Bulls (7-13, 1-6) for the second time this month.

Nehemias Morillo had a career-high 18 for South Florida, which lost for the fifth straight time, a streak that began with a 58-44 loss to the Huskies in Tampa. Corey Allen Jr. added 11.

Connecticut led by 10 points at halftime and by 12 early in the second half.

But the Bulls used a 9-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Anthony Collins, to get back into the game and had a chance to tie trailing 39-37 with 12 minutes left.

But Amida Brimah blocked a layup attempt by Allen and the Bulls would not get that close again.

Purvis made a pair of free throws on the other end and then Boatright scored the Huskies' next 13 points. His second 3-pointer during the stretch put the Huskies ahead 54-43.

"When you're as talented as he is and he gets a little groove going, it's hard to stop the floodgates," said USF coach Orlando Antigua. "We tried to change up defenses and give them different looks and they did a great job adjusting."

The team's combined for 41 fouls, 23 of them by the Bulls whose big men spent much of the game in foul trouble. Collins fouled out and Bo Zeigler picked up his fourth foul just two minutes into the second half and played just 23 minutes.

UConn made 22 of its 29 foul shots. Boatright hit 10 of his 11 attempts from the line and Purvis was 8 of 12. USF was 10 of 16 from the line.

"Game like that, you're going to have, tit-for-tat," Purvis said. "Our main thing is just to stay aggressive."

The Huskies shot 46 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Bulls 35-18.

Daniel Hamilton had 10 rebounds and Kentan Facey added 9. Brimah finished with six boards and five blocked shots.

UConn, which fell behind by seven points in the teams' first meeting, had a better start in this one. The Huskies used an 11-1 run to take an early 18-9 lead.

South Florida managed just six field goals in the first half and the teams combined for just 15 before intermission, getting everything else from the free-throw line.

The Huskies improved to 7-3 at home this season and 4-1 in Hartford.

____

TIP-INS

USF: The Bulls played without starting forward Chris Perry, who was hospitalized on Saturday with chest pains. He was on the bench for the second half Sunday and team spokesman Steve Schoon said he will undergo more testing back in Florida.

UConn: Ryan Boatright moved up the school's all-time scoring list. He now has 1,491 career points, passing Kevin Freeman (1,476) for 18th place. Freeman is now the school's director of basketball administration.

UP NEXT

USF faces SMU at home on Wednesday.

UConn travels to Ohio for a game with Cincinnati on Thursday night.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[UConn Beats UCF 67-60]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 22:11:16 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/215*120/481616597.jpg

Ryan Boatright scored 18 points and had seven assists to lead UConn to a 67-60 win over UCF on Thursday.

Amida Brimah added 14 points and had four blocked shots for the Huskies (10-7, 3-2 American) who won for the first time in three games. Omar Calhoun added 11 points and Daniel Hamilton had 10 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

B.J. Taylor led UCF (9-9, 2-5) with 13 points and Justin McBride added 11. Adonys Henriquez and Daiquan Walker each chipped in with 10.

The defending national champions never trailed and led by as many as 18 points after a 19-2 first half run.

UCF fought back, cutting the lead to five points on a 3-pointer by Henriquez with 3 ½ minutes left, but UConn held on.

The Knights have now lost two in a row and three of their last four.

Boatright, who had been held out of double figures in his last two games, hit his first four shots from 3-point range and had 12 points by intermission.

The Huskies attempted 17 shots from 3-point range in the half and hit 10 of them. They were just 1 of 3 after the break.

UConn jumped out quickly. A 3-pointer from Calhoun and a lob dunk by Brimah made it 5-0 and forced a UCF timeout a minute into the game.

Philip Nolan drew a charging foul, the 14th time he's done that this season, sparking the run that appeared to give UConn control of the game and a 36-18 lead.

But the Knights closed the half on a 15-3 run, and scored the last 10 points to close the gap to 39-33 at intermission. UCF held the Huskies without a bucket for the final 3 minutes of the half, after keeping them scoreless for a 4-minute stretch earlier.

UCF did a better job guarding the 3-point line in the second half, but that left Brimah open underneath and he converted numerous lob passes into dunks.

The Huskies had not played on campus since losing to Yale on Dec. 5. They have played at seven different arenas since then, including four home games in Hartford and another game 80 miles away in Bridgeport.

UCF came in with just one road win on the season, an overtime victory at Houston.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Huskies Looking to Stay Sharp in Blowouts]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:54:36 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-pat-summitt.jpg

Another game, another win for UConn. This time (like most other times), it was a blowout, a 100-45 affair against an overmatched Central Florida team. It was the Huskies' 16th straight victory.

Senior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who struggled with finding her shot in recent weeks, appears back on track. She led the way with 23 points.

"Our focus right now is on trying to stay sharp and making sure that we play hard every single possession,” Mosqueda-Lewis said, via SNY.com. “We want to work on things every game and make sure we’re better at something. Two things we’re really trying to sharpen right now is defense and rebounding and we’re doing well.”

Coach Geno Auriemma, meanwhile, spoke honestly about the competition, and the need stay sharp as UConn prepares for playing in March and April.

“I don’t think Central Florida is as talented as some of the teams that we’ve played, but they play harder than a lot of teams we’ve played,” Auriemma said. “That’s for sure. ...

“The challenge for us is to stay in that mode where we’re trying to execute some things we want to do,” the coach continued. “Once the first half ended tonight, things changed in how we wanted to play. We weren’t going to score 60 points in the second half. That’s not how we play. But at the same time, we’re not really worried what the score is. I just want to make sure that they don’t develop bad habits, that they don’t get sloppy with the way we want to execute and want to play.

“The hard part is trying to figure out how to get our starters enough minutes. K played 12 minutes in the first half. If you don’t play her in the second half, it’s not really a game. It’s not really a practice. It’s nothing. So the hard part is figuring out how long do we leave in and how much time do we need them to get.”

For some perspective on what the Huskies are doing in 2014-15, consider this: Their average margin of victory in seven AAC games? 45.7 points. Put another way: Good luck, rest of the conference.

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<![CDATA[Huskies Need Boatright]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:42:12 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/217*120/AP1201238715.jpg

The Huskies are 9-7 and losers of two straight heading into Thursday's matchup with Central Florida. And if they're going to get themselves out of this funk, things, as coach Kevin Ollie has alluded to, are going to have to change.

We're not talking about revamping the lineup, but something as simple as senior point guard Ryan Boatright doing more. Don't misunderstand; it's not like Boatright isn't already doing his part, similar to what Shabazz Napier and Kemba Walker did before him, but he needs to do more. This team is younger, more inexperienced and, not surprisingly, more inconsistent.

"The only thing I can do is get the ball to the open man," Boatright said Wednesday, via the Hartford Courant. "The last few games my assists have been up over eight. But I've got to figure out a way to insert myself back in the game. I'm used to scoring 15 plus. … I've got to figure out how to get myself back in the game."

Also not helping: defenses are keying on him. In the first 10 games, Boatright averaged 19.2 points. In the last six, it's down to 9.8.

"I can tell him to throw the ball to the open man and hopefully the open man throws it back to him and he makes a shot," Ollie said. "It is what it is. They're double-teaming him, focusing on him, so we've got to be aggressive. You can't really double-team a person on a fastbreak situation, and that starts with rebounding. It's a snowball effect. Got to do first things first, get a defensive stop, get the rebound with a box out and then let him push it. I'm going to try to do a better job of getting him off the ball where he can play off the catch and I think he's got to figure out. Somebody's open, so you've got to trust him.

"So all [the other players on the floor] have got to be alive, and you've got to make those guys alive if you're going to be a great leader and a great point guard and I think he's on his way to doing that."

The Huskies' season is at a crossroads. They can start to build on solid performances as January gives way to February and be in tournament form by March. Or they can continue to stumble their way through the schedule and hope an NIT invite is in their future.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Jalen Adams Ready for UConn]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:28:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin-ollie-2014.jpg

The Huskies' 2014-15 season hasn't gone as planned, but 2015-16 will welcome Jalen Adams, the 25th-ranked recruit in the country, according to ESPN.com.

Adams, who is known as a scorer, is also developing as a point guard, something UConn will need with Ryan Boatright's graduation looming.

“Jalen is definitely showing people that he’s not just a scorer, he’s able to run an offense, facilitate, and make great decisions and become more of a point guard. I think that’s something he’ll have to do more for Coach Ollie at UConn, he’s been doing it for us,” coach Jason told MassLive.com. “He knows some games he could go out and score 25 or 30, and he’s kind of taken the mindset of ‘I have to make sure I get others involved. I have these other pieces around me, but I have to distribute the ball.”

After a recent 23-point performance -- with Kevin Ollie looking on, no less -- there's already talk that Adams will be the next great point guard to take the floor for the Huskies.

“I wish I could be up there," Adams said. "I talk to Kevin Ollie a lot and he always tells me that. But I think they’ll be good later on the season when they find out who’s who and who can do what. I definitely don’t want to follow anybody’s path, I kind of want to create my own. But I’m looking forward to carrying the tradition.”

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<![CDATA[Huskies Looking for Offensive Coordinator]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:19:44 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+bob+diaco+stony+brook.jpg

More proof that Year 2 comes with more expectations than Year 1: Coach Bob Diaco is making changes in an effort to ramp up one of college football's most feeble offenses in 2014. Specifically, he's looking for a new offensive coordinator.

At least if you believe this university job posting:

The University of Connecticut is accepting applications and nominations for the full time position of Assistant Football Coach/Offensive Coordinator.

Responsibilities include: assist the Head Football Coach in the organization and administration of all phases of a Division I FBS program including game preparation and the recruitment and evaluation of prospective student-athletes; assist in monitoring academic progress and development of student-athletes; community involvement; and other program duties as assigned by the Head Football Coach.

Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree; minimum of six years of full-time experience as an offensive football coach at the collegiate FBS, FCS or NFL within the past 10 years; working knowledge of the correct application of NCAA regulations; strong commitment to the academic goals of the University; and excellent organizational, teaching, communication and public relations skills.

Preferred Qualifications: Master’s degree; experience as an offensive coordinator or co-coordinator at the collegiate or professional level; playing experience at the collegiate and/or professional level.

According to SNY.com's John Silver, current offensive coordinator Mike Cummings is expected to remain on staff, possible moving to offensive line coach.

Meanwhile, Diaco is looking for a coordinator with FBS/FCS or NFL experience, as well as previous experience as an offensive coordinator. And while there's been no indication who Diaco might target, SBNation's UConn Blog offers up some suggestions: Charley Molnar, WR coach, Idaho; Matt LaFleur, QB coach, Notre Dame; Jeff Quinn and former Buffalo coach.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Ollie Calls Performance 'Embarrassing']]> Mon, 19 Jan 2015 10:30:51 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/483300299.jpg

On Sunday, the Huskies dropped their second straight game, this time to Stanford. And coach Kevin Ollie, who hinted at changes last week, had to give a similar speech after falling to the Cardinal, 72-59.

"We've got to hit first," he said of another slow start (via the Hartford Courant). "We've got to commit to hit and I don't think we did that tonight. We've got to focus in, and it's not just the big [men], it's our guards coming down and hitting. Amida [Brimah] and Kentan [Facey] are trying to block shots, so Ryan [Boatright] has got to come in and rebound. So it's not just our big men; it's a total team effort and I don't think we had it."

The latest loss drops UConn to 9-7, equalling their losses during last season's national title run. Records aside, Ollie is looking for more consistent efforts from one game to the next, one play to the next.

"We've had some good games, we've had some bad games," the coach said. "We just want to build consistency. Fourteen games left, we want to get consistency and we haven't gotten it game in to game out, so with these 14 games, that's what I'll be looking for. ...

"I'm going to look at making changes and keep making changes until I find a team that can go out and play the right type of basketball. Like I said, getting outrebounded by 24 is embarrassing and no UConn team needs to be embarrassed like that."

The Huskies' next game is Thursday at Gampel Pavilion when they host Central Florida.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stanford Defeats UConn]]> Sun, 18 Jan 2015 18:31:57 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/uconn+kentucky+title+14.jpg

Chasson Randle needs very little motivation to play basketball. Getting an extra boost of energy from the capacity crowd was a bonus.

Randle scored 23 points, Rosco Allen added a career-high 13 rebounds and Stanford beat defending national champions Connecticut 72-59 on Saturday night. Anthony Brown added 18 points and Stefan Nastic had 13 points to go with 12 rebounds for the Cardinal (13-4), who won their third straight and seventh of eight overall.

"It's awesome to have Maples (Pavilion) filled to the top like that," Randle said of the sellout crowd of 7,104. "It gave us energy."

Randle, the Pac-12's leading scorer, followed his 25-point effort in a victory over California on Wednesday with another show of marksmanship. He's 15 of 29 (51.7 percent) other his past two games, including 8 of 14 (57.1) from 3-point range.

"Randall is a great player, Brown is a great player," Huskies' coach Kevin Ollie said. "They put pressure on the defense on all three levels. They can score on all three levels and that's a good recipe for guards."

Randle has scored at least 23 points in four of his last five games and has reached double figures in 16 of 17 games.

"We played with great energy and executed our game plan," Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins said. "We were getting good looks in the first half and just not finishing them. We talked about settling down in the second half."

Rodney Purvis scored 14 points to lead the Huskies (9-7), who lost their second straight after winning five of their previous six. Omar Calhoun added 11 points.

"They just wanted it more," Purvis said. "They just wanted the ball more. Any 50-50 ball, they were getting it. That's all on us. The coach can't draw up any plays to fix that — that effort and energy has to come from within the players."

Stanford dominated play over the final 10 minutes, pulling away after Connecticut made it a one-possession game midway through the second half.

The Cardinal now have beaten the Huskies two straight after losing their first four meetings in the series.

Stanford never trailed after taking the lead with 5:56 left in the first half. There were four lead changes and six ties.

Nastic and Allen allowed Stanford to overpower the Huskies on the boards, 48-24. The Cardinal's 18 offensive rebounds is a season-high.

"We needed guys to step," Allen said. "They were coming off a tough loss and we had to be ready."

Purvis hit a 3-pointer midway through the second half to draw the Huskies within 50-47.

The Cardinal went on a 14-2 run over the next seven minutes to pull ahead, 64-49, forcing a Connecticut timeout.

Stanford led by as many as eight points in the first half before the Huskies closed to within 32-29 at intermission.

TIP INS:

Connecticut senior Ryan Boatright and Stanford senior Chasson Randle were co-winners of the Mr. Basketball of Illinois Award in 2011. It was the only time in the 33-year history of the award that voting resulted in a tie. "We faced each other during the summer," Randle said. The Huskies and Cardinal last met at Maples Pavilion in 1999, when both teams were ranked in the top 10. Connecticut went on to the national title that year.

Stanford honored Brevin Knight during the game as part of its 100th anniversary of men's basketball. Knight led the Cardinal to its first ever Sweet Sixteen in 1997 (Stanford's 1942 national championship team went straight to the Final Four).

UP NEXT:

Connecticut returns to AAC action on Thursday, hosting Central Florida.

Stanford hosts Arizona in a Pac-12 contest on Thursday night.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[UConn Women Defeat South Florida]]> Sun, 18 Jan 2015 18:44:36 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP884776180431.jpg

The UConn Huskies continue to turn their conference games into easy wins.

Moriah Jefferson scored 15 points, added seven assists and grabbed six rebounds as the Huskies routed South Florida 92-50 on Sunday.

So far this season the Huskies have beaten their conference opponents by an average of 45.8 points. Last season UConn went 18-0 in the American Athletic Conference's first year and won the conference tournament.

"I don't know that it would change no matter what conference we were in," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "We have some pretty good teams in our league. It's just that sometimes, with us being in the league, they don't get a chance to show it."

South Florida came into the game riding an eight-game winning streak and was tied with the Huskies atop the standings. That didn't last long.

"I don't know that when people play against us it's a fair test or fair evaluation of who they are," said Auriemma, whose team also has routed the likes of Notre Dame and Duke this season and has won 62 of its last 63 games.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis led UConn (16-1, 6-0) with 18 points while Breanna Stewart had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Morgan Tuck added 15 points.

Courtney Williams scored 23 to lead USF (14-4, 5-1).

UConn led by 18 points and halftime and used a 17-0 run in the second half to put the game away. The Huskies held USF without a point for 8½ minutes as the Bulls missed 12 consecutive shots.

"We just continued to push our tempo the entire game, and they got tired and could not stay with us," Stewart said.

Jefferson scored on a layup after the opening tip and the Huskies never trailed. UConn ran the floor, pressed on defense and jumped out to a 9-0 lead.

A 3-pointer by Mosqueda-Lewis gave UConn its first double-digit lead at 16-6. She scored on a fast break to push the lead to 20 at 42-22 and the Huskies went into halftime leading 49-31.

Tuck and Jefferson combined to go 10 of 11 from the floor in the half and scored 23 of the Huskies points.

"We knew they were a tough team to play against, so we really wanted to come out and try to hit them first," said Jefferson, who hit all six of her shots from the floor.

USF had been holding opponents to 33 percent shooting and an average of 58 points a game and just two of them, Maryland and Penn State had scored more than 70. UConn shot 51 percent from the floor and held USF to 26 percent.

"I wouldn't have thought that we'd get up here and get drilled by 42," said USF coach Jose Fernandez. "We've taken worse teams up here and that hasn't happened.

____

TIP-INS

USF : The Bulls winning streak ends one-game shy of a school record. USF won nine consecutive games twice, the first time in 1972, the program's first year of existence. The team matched that during its run to the 2009 WNIT championship.

UConn: Kiah Stokes had seven blocked shots to give her 251 for her career. She is just three behind Stefanie Dolson for fifth place on the school's all-time list.

HOME COOKING: UConn improved to 299-19 at Gampel Pavilion, where they have won 147 of their past 151 games. Their first shot at getting their 300th win at the arena will come on Feb. 9 when the defending national champions host top-ranked South Carolina.

____

UP NEXT

USF: The Bulls travel to Texas for a game Wednesday night against Houston.

UConn: The Huskies head to Florida to take on UCF on Wednesday.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[UConn Signing-Day Event Announced]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 12:07:43 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+diaco+temple.jpg

UConn has announced plans for its Feb. 4 signing-day event, when the football team is expected to officially welcome 22 players to the program. Details on what fans can expect on the day, via UConnHuskies.com:

• Starting at 7 a.m., UConnHuskies.com will provide an hourly video update of signing day. These vignettes will include thoughts from Coach Bob Diaco and assistant coaches and also an insider’s look at the recruiting process.

• There will be a Signing Day Special video program on UConnHuskies.com that will feature Coach Diaco, who will give his thoughts and insights into the class. UConn season ticket holders will have the opportunity to submit questions for the show via email and Twitter to be answered during this new type of segment for Signing Day coverage. UConn season tickets holders will get the opportunity to preview the show before the general public.

• For those Husky fans attending the men’s basketball game, the Football Signing Day Special program will be shown on the big screen in Gampel Pavilion starting at 5:45 p.m.

• Husky fans from around the world will be able to interact during the day on social media using the hashtag #huskypups.

• Coach Diaco’s press conference with the media will be shown live on UConnHuskies.com at 4:00 p.m.

• As National Letters of Intent are received, UConn will announce the new Huskies via Twitter and “Husky Signing Day Central” on UConnHuskies.com It will immediately have biographical information and video highlights of each player.

Coach Bob Diaco is entering his second year on the job and he said earlier this month that expectations will be ratcheted up in 2015.

"We did it by design and moving forward we expect a much higher level of everything, mostly culture where they are more ready, the vernacular and language, expectations set," Diaco told the New Haven Register's Jim Fuller last week.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Boatright on Midseason Wooden Award List]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 12:04:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/217*120/AP1201238715.jpg

Senior point guard Ryan Boatright has been named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25, based on a poll of national college basketball experts as announced by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Details via Thursday's press release:

Boatright, who leads the Huskies in scoring (16.3 ppg) and assists (4.5), was the Preseason Player of the Year in the American Athletic Conference. He has been named the league's Player of the Week once and has been on the league's weekly Honor Roll six times. The was on the original Preseason Top 50 for the Wooden Award.

The leading candidates will be further pared to 20 top players in early February. Fifteen top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA will be submitted to the voters on the ballot prior to the NCAA Tournament. Every year, players make the ballot who are not on the preseason or midseason lists. Voting will take into consideration the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament.

The 39th annual Wooden Award ceremony will honor the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, and will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, which in 2015 will go to San Diego State Head Men’s Basketball Coach Steve Fisher. The event will take place the weekend of April 10-12, 2015.

Here's the complete list of the 25 players to make the midseason list.

Justin Anderson, Virginia
Ron Baker, Wichita State
Ryan Boatright, UConn
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky
Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
D'Angelo Harrison, St. John's
Tyler Haws, BYU
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Stanley Johnson, Arizona
Tyus Jones, Duke
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
Jordan Mickey, LSU
Georges Niang, Iowa State
Jahlil Okafor, Duke
Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga
Bobby Portis, Arkansas
Chasson Randle, Stanford
Terry Rozier, Louisville
D'Angelo Russell, Ohio State
Juwan Staten, West Virginia
Melo Trimble, Maryland
Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga
Delon Wright, Utah



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hamilton Looking to Be More Consistent]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 12:01:37 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/483300299.jpg

Consistency has been a theme through the 2014-15 season for the defending national champs. It looked like they had found a groove earlier this month, after wins over Florida, USF and Cincy, but reality set in following the recent loss to Tulsa.

Freshman Daniel Hamilton has been a bright spot -- including 16 points and 12 boards against Tulsa -- but he also knows he can improve.

"The game is a faster pace," he said Thursday, according to the Hartford Courant. "It's a higher-paced game. So some of the stuff I was doing in high school, I can't do in college. Some of the stuff I could get away with in high school, I can't do in college, so I just have to slow down and just let the game come to me and not rush it. ...

"What I know I can do is get to where I want to on the offensive end," Hamilton continued. "As far as my jump shots, it's just a matter of knocking them down and being efficient. One or two dribble pull-ups, catching and shooting, defending — I know I can do that it's just a matter of letting the game come to me. In high school, I had to make adjustments because it wasn't middle school any more."

Coach Kevin Ollie has talked about his team making adjustments too. Specifically, he mentioned possible changes after the latest loss. On Thursday, those changes started with an intense practice session that senior Ryan Boatright described as "rough," but adding, "it's exactly what we needed."

I knew what was coming, I've been around a long time. It's exactly what we needed. It's up to us to tell him that [the talent] is there, and it's up to him to reach that level that we need to get to."

Boatright continued: "I knew what was coming, I've been around a long time. It's exactly what we needed. It's up to us to tell him that (the talent) is there, and it's up to him to reach that level that we need to get to."

Next up: The Huskies face Stanford in Palo Alto this Sunday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Huskies Searching for Consistency]]> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 11:01:26 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin-ollie-2014.jpg

Coach Kevin Ollie didn't mince words after UConn's loss to Tulsa on Tuesday.

“There’s got to be some changes, because we come out and keep seeing the same thing," he said. "I don’t know who the changes are gonna be. I’ve got to sit down and assess the tape. There might not be any changes. I’m gonna figure that out with my coaching staff, and we’re gonna go forward.”

So there could be changes ... unless there aren't. And those changes don't necessarily mean to personnel, but perhaps in tactics and strategy. Whatever happens, this much is clear: the Huskies have to play more consistently from one game to the next, one time down the floor to the next.

"We need some consistency, man," senior guard Ryan Boatright said, via the Hartford Courant. You work all year to get to a point where you're consistent, and know what you need to do to win every game. Those are things you go through as a young team. We're better than we were before, but we still got some growing to do."

And freshman Daniel Hamilton added: "We've got to stop starting off slow and get off to a better start. We've got to just be motivated like that from the beginning. If we played at the beginning like we played at the end, we definitely win that game. It's something we've been doing for a long time, since the beginning of the season, we just got to put our mind to it and be motivated and have that leadership and play tough right from the beginning. We picked it up, but we picked it up too late. By the time we got going, it was too late."

So what's the answer?

"There's no explanation," the coach said. "Guys got to get up and make free throws, I can't make 'em for you. Lack of concentration? I don't know. We're not making 'em. One game we make 'em, one game we don't make 'em. Can't go 8-for-18, so all our losses generate from the free throws, or missed three-pointers."

The Huskies looked to have found their form earlier this month with big wins over Florida, USF and Cincinnati. But the Tulsa loss is a setback. The good news is that UConn doesn't have long to smart; they travel to Palo Alto to face Stanford on Saturday night.

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<![CDATA[Morgan Tuck Continues to Play Well]]> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 10:52:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/morgan-tuck-title.jpg

It was another big night for Morgan Tuck on Wednesday when the emerging frontcourt star hung 24 points on the Temple Owls, leading all scorers. Breanna Stewart added 18 points, while Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who looks to be coming out of her slump (as much as you can call it that), went for 17 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Gabby Williams also pulled 10 boards.

All told, the victory was UConn's 14th straight and the No. 2 team in the country is gelling at just the right time. Against Temple, it started early, lasted often, and ended in a 92-58 thrashing.

Specifically: UConn led 55-25 at the break, a fast start that wasn't lost on coach Geno Auriemma.

"That's pretty much the goal most games," the coach said after the game, via the team's website. "I can't think of a better way to start any game, getting three or four layups right away, and getting to the free throw line as well. Morgan and Stewie were very aggressive right from the beginning, and they know if they're working hard, are aggressive, and they want the ball, they're going to get it. We're not going to refuse to throw it to them because we haven't shot from the three point line yet. That's the plan every game, today it worked a lot better."

Tuck, meanwhile, continues to gain confidence and grow as a player, and through it all has become a key component in the Huskies' frontcourt.

"Moriah (Jefferson), Kaleena, and Stewie are very good players and can do a lot, but the same way Stefanie (Dolson) was able to pull it all together last year and make sure that things looked smooth," Auriemma explained. "Sometimes it looks choppy and lousy, and Morgan has the ability (to pull it all together) because she can score from many different places on the court. She is a pretty good passer who understands the game. If we didn't have her, we would need to find a way to get everyone as comfortable as they are now."

Next up: Another conference game, this time USF comes to Gampel Pavilion on Sunday afternoon.

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<![CDATA[Slow Start Dooms UConn Vs. Tulsa]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 14:28:45 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconnj.jpg

UConn never led in Tuesday night's game against Tulsa and trailed by as much as 16 points with 7:46 to go. The Huskies went on a 19-11 run to end the game, but it wasn't nearly enough. The final score: 66-58.

"We waited until we were down 15 to play basketball," senior Ryan Boatright said, according to the Hartford Courant. "Just one of those nights, man, an off night.

Freshman Daniel Hamilton led UConn with 16 points and 12 rebounds (this third double-double of the season), and only Terrence Samuel (12 points off the bench) and Amida Brimah (11 points) scored in double figures.

But comebacks mean little when they come up short, at least in coach Kevin Ollie's mind.

"I put no stock [in the comeback]," he said. "It's easy when you're down 15 points. There's no pressure then. ...

"It's the same story as other games. We started off slow," the coach continued. "I thought Tulsa played hungrier than us. In every facet of the game they beat us. They beat us in the toughness. Guys came out and played and we didn't take the challenge."

This was the first AAC meeting between Tulsa and UConn and the loss drops the Huskies to 9-6 overall and 2-2 in the conference. The team returns to action on Saturday when they face Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Williams Making Switch From Guard to Forward]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 14:29:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-PVAM.jpg

Gabby Williams is fresh off AAC Freshman of the Week honors after her double-double in UConn's blowout win over SMU. And while the recognition is nice, she knows that, ultimately, all that matters is that she's doing what coach Geno Auriemma needs her to. These expectations have been exacerbated by Williams switching positions -- from guard to forward -- a transition that has gone well, all things considered.

"She is still learning the game," Auriemma said, via the Hartford Courant ... "But in the meantime, I hope she continues to get better in practice every day. That's our plan between now and March."

That Williams leads the AAC in field-goal percentage is a credit to her athleticism and her ability to pick things up quickly.

"There are things that go on in the game that coaching can only do so much for you," Auriemma told the Hartford Courant. "You can put players in certain situations, you can put them in this spot and that spot, but in the end, they either have the ability to make that play or they don't."

Two knee injuries slowed Williams in high school but she still might be one of the best athletes on UConn's roster.

"I just think Gabby is super-athletic," Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis told the Courant. "And she works really hard. And when you think about it, that's really all you can reasonably ask from a freshman, to work hard every single time they are on the floor. And she really proved it [at SMU]. She does the dirty work and now she is reaping the benefits."

And now that Williams is healthy, she's more confident than ever in her abilities to compete.

"Now that I am comfortable, now that I am playing better, it's helping me become more aggressive and that helps me jump higher," she told the Courant. "But I have learned the hard way that I can't just jump over everyone. I also need to learn how to better box out and position myself in the low post.

"And now I am trying to incorporate some of my guard skills so I can bring defenders out [to guard her] and then go by them."

So far, so good. We're guessing even Auriemma would admit that, even if grudgingly.

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<![CDATA[Ollie: 'There's Got to Be Some Changes']]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 14:27:07 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin-ollie-2013season.jpg

Days after it seemed like the Huskies had figured things out after a slow start to the season, they were missing in action for the start of Tuesday's game against Tulsa. UConn never led and the 66-58 final was only as close as it was because of a late rally.

Afterwards, Ollie was asked about the Huskies' fighting back from a 15-point deficit.

I like how they came back, but you can’t get down by 15 and keep digging that hole," he said, via the New Haven Register. They played hard, but at the end of the day, it’s easy when you’re down by 15. There’s no pressure then. We’ve got to start playing hard, and playing consistent, for 40 minutes. That’s how we’re gonna win games. We didn’t do it. We haven’t done it. We’re gonna have to start, and that starts in Stanford (on Saturday). I’m gonna have to find some guys that are gonna do it.”

So how does Ollie fix it? He's not sure but he knows things can't stay the same.

“There’s got to be some changes, because we come out and keep seeing the same thing," he told the New Haven Register. "I don’t know who the changes are gonna be. I’ve got to sit down and assess the tape. There might not be any changes. I’m gonna figure that out with my coaching staff, and we’re gonna go forward.”

Ollie also lamented the fact that the defense, which had played well recently, still has letdowns, often giving opponents easy paths to the basket.

“We can’t rely on Amida all the time. I thought our guards didn’t do a good job controlling the dribble all night," the coach told the New Haven Register. "They were running a simple three-down play that we run, too. Woodard was just coming off and getting wide-open 3’s, getting going. Our defensive principles weren’t up to our standards. Credit them, for making us move our feet. We just didn’t respond tonight the way we have responded on the defensive end. That’s been one of our staples.”

And then Ollie repeated a phrase we've heard countless times before but doesn't appear to be sticking through the first half of this season: “We have to play at a Level 5, and I thought we were at a Level 3, at best.”

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<![CDATA[Geremy Davis to Play in All-Star Game]]> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 11:57:28 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geremy-davis-ecu.jpg

Geremy Davis didn't have much of a senior season, but that had more to do with the Huskies' sputtering offense than his play-making abilities. But the wide receiver will get a chance to showcase his talents at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl this Saturday, which will take place at the StubHub Center on the campus of Cal State-Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif.

Details via the UConn press release:

The game features an American team against a National team and Davis has not yet been assigned to a squad.

Former NFL head coaches Mike Holmgren and Mike Martz will serve as the head coaches.

The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl practices and game will be broadcasted live on the ESPN family of channels. The game, scheduled for 4 p.m. ET kickoff, will air live on ESPN2. In addition, American and National Team practices on January 14 and 15 will be televised live on ESPNU. The game and practices will also be available via WatchESPN.

Davis was the Huskies' most prolific pass catcher during the FBS era. In 2013, he hauled in 71 passes for 1,085 yards and three touchdowns.

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<![CDATA[Williams' Double-Double Earns AAC Honor]]> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 11:55:21 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-PVAM.jpg

Freshman Gabby Williams pulled a season-high 16 rebounds and scored 12 points against SMU over the weekend to log her first career double-double. Her effort didn't go unnoticed; Williams was named AAC Freshman of the Week on Monday, the second time she received the honor this season.

“Gabby just gets better and better,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “I hope this Wednesday she has another big game and next Sunday she has another big game. In the meantime I hope in practice that she gets better every day. That’s our plan between now and March.

“There are things that go on when she’s in the game … Coaching can only do so much for you. You can put players in certain situations or in this spot and that spot. But at the end they either have the ability to make that play or they don’t. I don’t know that as time goes by that there’s going to be a play that she can’t make. That’s what exciting to me. To be able to watch when she gets to that point at some point she can make any play," he told SNY.com.

Like most freshman who arrive in Storrs with trophy cases full of high school accomplishments, Williams had to adjust to coming off the bench.

“It’s been hard for me to get going and keep going,” she said. “I’ve been very inconsistent, as coach has been saying. So today it was important to show that I can be consistent. I want to build trust with the coaches that they know they can put me in in tougher games.”

And it appears Williams has done that and then some. It's more good news for the Huskies, who are playing their best basketball of the season.

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<![CDATA[Mosqueda-Lewis Still Looking for Old Form]]> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 11:52:45 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP116320717091%281%29.jpg

Maybe now that Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis broke Diana Taurasi's career 3-point record, she can get back on track. This is all relative, of course. Mosqueda-Lewis is arguably the country's best jump shooter, but she has struggled in recent weeks to find her game, a fact that hasn't been lost on coach Geno Auriemma.

"I watch her the same way every week and wasn't really focused in on the record," Auriemma told the Hartford Courant. "[Her performance] has just been pretty consistent over the last four games. She's not where she needs to be. Whether [the chase] has anything to do with it, I don't know. We didn't talk about it; I didn't ask her and she didn't talk about it.

"I just know that she needs to get back to her old self, get back to finding shots and knocking them down. She hasn't been very confident shooting the ball for about three weeks now," he told the Hartford Courant.

In the four games preceding Sunday's record-breaking effort, Mosqueda-Lewis was 13 of 37 from the field and 7 of 22 from behind the arc.

"I don't feel like I haven't been playing well, but I'm likely not being as aggressive as I need to be," she said. "That's just something that I need to make sure I [resolve]. I need to get myself more into the flow of things."

We're guessing they get resolved. The good news is that Mosqueda-Lewis plays on a talented, deep team, which means she can work through her shootings issues without the pressure of having to carry her teammates.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[UConn's D Taking Shape]]> Mon, 12 Jan 2015 14:59:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin-ollie-2014.jpg

Here comes UConn. After a sluggish start, coach Kevin Ollie has the defending national champions playing like, well, the defending national champions. The latest evidence came Saturday when the Huskies beat AAC rival Cincinnati to run their record to 9-5, including three straight, and five of their last six.

And while it's comforting to the backcourt light up the scoreboard, Ollie has to feel even better about his defense coming together.

"We still have our lapses," coach Kevin Ollie said, via the Hartford Courant. "I see it going back the other way, too. But when it's time for us to get a stop, we gut it out. The Florida game was a key, we got down at USF, we gutted it out, we got down here. Something just clicks in. Now, I'm looking for consistency, play 40 minutes of that kind of defense. You're not going to hold a team to zero, I know. But when it starts clicking and they follow the principles and play hard and play aggressive – our pick-and-roll defense really comes around and takes teams out of their offense."

Newcomer Rodney Purvis sounded slightly more convinced in this team's ability to get a stop.

"We know that once we play defense," he said "once we all get down the in the stance and play defense together, it's really hard for anybody to score off us. We all know that, and we believe in our defense. We're all in really good shape and our defense can wear you down in the second half — I think teams know that they can't score."

But Purvis also knows what Ollie is talking about when he says there's plenty of room for improvement.

"[Saturday] was a challenge," Purvis said. "Coach came in there [at halftime] really yelling, punching the board, and guys stepped up. … "We've got Amida [Brimah] in the back, blocking every shot, and the guards staying in front of the offensive player. Guys are sliding their feet, helping each other."

Senior leader Ryan Boatright echoed Ollie's thoughts: "If you follow UConn basketball, you know that we pride ourselves on defense. The only way that we're going to win is to defense that end of the floor and getting stops."

And once the defense finds the consistency Ollie is looking for, that's bad news for the rest of the division.

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<![CDATA[Diaco Raises Expectations in 2015]]> Mon, 12 Jan 2015 14:55:19 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bob-diaco-boise-state-sept.jpg

Bob Diaco is now officially in Year 2 as UConn's head coach, and after 12 months of talking up where he wants the program to go -- usually in glowing, upbeat terms -- he's looking for his players to prove him right. That means higher expectations from, well, everyone.

"We did it by design and moving forward we expect a much higher level of everything, mostly culture where they are more ready, the vernacular and language, expectations set," Diaco told the New Haven Register's Jim Fuller. "We don't have to talk about it every day, We are going to lead by example. They are coaching each other on it. Now when a player doesn't know or has forgotten to go down a path, three players grab him before I do and that is where our program is at right now."

The biggest piece of the puzzle could be at quarterback, where the Huskies have been beating the bushes for prospects. More from Fuller:

Even before the season came to an end there were reports of the Huskies pursuing quarterback prospects. UConn took a run at Ryan Agnew out of Southlake (Texas) Carroll before he committed to San Diego State. UConn also showed plenty of interest of Dwyer (Fla.) QB Daniel Parr but he decided to honor his commitment to Florida Atlantic. Now the two names of note are Tyree Jackson and Carter Stanley.

The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Jackson, who committed to Buffalo in August, threw for more than 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns while running for another 10 scores, is set to meet with UConn coaches on Thursday before leaving the next day for an official visit to Buffalo according to the Muskegon Chronicle.

The sense of urgency arose when Casey Cochran retired from football in September leaving just Tim Boyle, NC State transfer Bryant Shirreffs and commitment Tyler Davis.

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<![CDATA[Huskies Roll SMU, 87-28]]> Mon, 12 Jan 2015 14:49:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-pat-summitt.jpg

Geno Auriemma's Huskies keep on keepin' on, the latest blowout victory came Sunday in Dallas against SMU. When it was over, UConn had outscored the Mustangs, 87-28, run their record to 14-1 overall (4-0 in the AAC), and senior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis finally broke Diana Taurasi's record for career 3-pointers.

Mosqueda-Lewis needed just three minutes to make her way into the record books.

“It felt good to have the title now and break the record. It’s nice to have it over,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “I haven’t been worrying about it, everyone else has. I’ve just been playing.”

And that 3-pointer was the beginning of a 21-point run for the Huskies, who led by as much as 65 points.

"It was like there was a lid on the basket," SMU coach Rhonda Rompola said, via the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Auriemma downplayed UConn's win over a clearly overmatched opponent.

“We’re not that much better than they are,” he said, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “We played pretty well after the first five minutes of the game and they didn’t make a single outside shot. I think they banked one in early on and that was pretty much it.

“It’s hard against us. It’s hard to play against us if you’re not making shots because we’re not going to go five minutes without making a bunch of shots. It’s fun watching us do some things but in the end I don’t think that’s the score you want to be playing at.”

Junior forward Breanna Stewart scored 19 points on 8 of 10 shooting even though she sat out the final 16 minutes.

“That’s the way Stewie is," Auriemma said. "She’s the kind of kid that wants to get off to a great start. I don’t particularly like the fact that threes are her way to get rolling. But a lot of times last year that kind of set the tone for her when all of a sudden she knocked down a couple of shots early and took off from there. Stewie is Stewie.”

Next up: Temple comes to Gampel Pavilion on Wednesday.

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<![CDATA[Sadie Edwards Transfers to USC]]> Fri, 09 Jan 2015 15:09:14 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-2014-recruits.jpg

It's official: Sadie Edwards, one of UConn's talented freshman players, has transferred to the University of Southern California.

“As a player, Sadie has great size and length and can play either backcourt position,” USC coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said in a statement (via SNY.com). “Sadie has a versatile skill set, and a hunger to help us reach our championship goals. She is a bright young woman and an excellent student that we expect to impact our team from day one. She’ll be practicing and training with us immediately, and we are so excited to have her.”

Edwards added: “I choose USC because I think it’s an ideal fit academically and athletically for me. During my visit, my father and I felt at home, which is very important to me since I’ll be so far away from my family. I really enjoyed getting to know Coach Cooper, who is a legend and who I know I will learn a ton from. She made me feel at home. I also really liked the girls on the team. They were down to earth, funny, and genuine. I think that it’s a great group that I can fit in well with on and off the court.”

Last month, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis said she had an idea Edwards might leave after just a few months in Storrs.

I’m not necessarily surprised that she left. I am surprised that it happened as quickly as it did,” Mosqueda-Lewis said at the time. “She just wasn’t happy. You could tell she wasn’t happy that she wasn’t playing, and her demeanor just changed over the past couple of months. You could tell that it was deteriorating more and more the more she wasn’t playing.

“It takes a lot for people to stay here all four years. But it also takes a lot for someone to know when enough is enough and how much you can handle. And I think that she did the right thing by looking at what she can handle and what’s best for herself.”

Freshmen Courtney Ekmark, Gabby Williams and Kia Nurse remain from the 2014 class, and the 2015 class currently includes the nation's best high school player in Katie Lou Samuelson, and Napheesa Collier, De’Janae Boykin and Crystal Dangerfield are top-10 players. There's also Georgetown transfer (and 2013-14 Big East freshman of the year) Natalie Butler.

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<![CDATA[Freshman Williams Contributing Off Bench]]> Fri, 09 Jan 2015 15:06:33 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-pat-summitt.jpg

Geno Auriemma has talked about getting more production from his bench and that starts with players knowing what they're supposed to be doing and then going out and doing it when they get the chance. Freshman Gabby Williams has made the most of recent opportunities, including a season-high 15-point effort against Tulsa this week.

“I think I’m starting to get my confidence back,” Williams told SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “It was kind of a rough week last week. So the main thing was just to bring all the energy back. I think it was mostly just my lack of energy and focus. When you start to get tired after traveling and all that stuff, I kind of let it get to me.

“My thing is I just want the coaches to know every time, ‘OK, Gabby is going to give us this when she gets in.’ I just want to be consistent in a few things.”

It's a perspective Auriemma undoubtedly appreciates.

“It’s not that Gabby doesn’t have the ability to do that, with a lot of these kids it’s being able to sustain it over a period of time,” the coach said. “Today was another example of how good she can really be. It’s something that we see here and there. We don’t see it all the time or enough times to make us happy or her happy. But the last couple of days have been good for her and today was great for her.”

The Huskies face SMU on Sunday at 3 p.m.

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<![CDATA[Report: Foley Won't Return As OL Coach]]> Fri, 09 Jan 2015 14:52:57 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+bob+diaco+stony+brook.jpg

Offensive line coach Mike Foley, a longtime UConn assistant, won't return next season, according to the Hartford Courant's Desmond Conner, who adds that coach Bob Diaco wouldn't confirm the move but did speak generally about the overall need for improvement after the Huskies won two games in 2014.

"Like every player is being evaluated every play every day, it's the same with our coaches ... and the people involved will be held accountable to it and I'm going to do the necessary piece to get it right and I have a plan," Diaco said. "I have a damn good plan. I'm just in the process of it. ... I'm going to get the offense right, period. There hasn't been a day spent not working toward that."

UConn's offensive line struggled last season, but so too did the entire unit. The offense ranked 123 of out 125 overall among FBS schools, and the running game was 116th. As Diaco's plan to rebuild the program moves into its second year, he wants to see more consistency from the offensive line, in both the pass and run games.

"That's how I want to play, that's how we're going to play. I've never stopped that development process ... and our model never changed and our recruiting model never changed, so we continued to grow toward that," he said.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Auriemma Explains How He Uses His Bench]]> Thu, 08 Jan 2015 14:38:58 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-pat-summitt.jpg

It's hard to imagine coach Geno Auriemma would have much to complain about following the Huskies' 98-60 rout of Tulsa on Wednesday. But Auriemma knows this isn't about one game, but doing what UConn always does: compete for a national title.

Knowing that, it's no surprise that even in cruising to a win, Auriemma wants more form his team, specifically, the bench.

"One of the issues we have with a couple of our bench players is trying to figure out when they are playing well, and that's not a good position to be in for a kid coming off the bench," Auriemma said, via the Hartford Courant. "If you are being asked to do certain things, provide certain things [coming off the bench] and don't have it on a regular basis, that's tough for a coach.

"There are games when we may need some defensive help and that is what guides [Auriemma] into a substitution pattern. Or you may need people to put points on the board. What you'd like are to have options. Right now, the one option we have that we can count on is that Kiah Stokes will come off the bench and block shots, play defense and rebound. That's why her minutes are consistent.

"But for the others [Gabby Williams, Saniya Chong and Courtney Ekmark], it's not a sure thing. And we've addressed it with them if they want to play more. It may not impact our ability to win much, but it's not what this is about. It's about developing, becoming a better player so your role grows. If you want your role to get bigger, it can. If you want it to stay the same, it can. If you want it to diminish, it can.

Auriemma even went George Costanza on us by referring to himself in the third person. "Some people think Coach Auriemma just likes using six or seven players. No, Coach Auriemma likes good players, guys that play hard and contribute all the time. Coach Auriemma like guys that bust their butts all the time, that are reliable and dependable. If Coach Auriemma had 10 of them, like I've had in the past, I'd play all 10 of them. When I have five, I only play five. I hate to disappoint those out there who believe that just because our players are cute and smart, they should all play 25 minutes. That ain't gonna happen."

These are the types of problems most coaches dream about.

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<![CDATA[Healthy Players Means Deeper Bench for Ollie]]> Thu, 08 Jan 2015 14:37:47 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconnj.jpg

Geno Auriemma talked Wednesday about wanting more from his bench players. Kevin Ollie, meanwhile, sounds pleased with the progress his non-starters have made, partly due to experiences gained over the first six weeks of the season, but also because players are finally healthy.

Omar Calhoun, Rodney Purvis and Ryan Boatright are all close to 100 percent, and their availability makes Ollie's job a little easier.

"I keep telling the guys to stay on call," Ollie said, via the Hartford Courant. "You never know when your name is going to get announced. They were ready. Rak [Lubin] has been doing a fabulous job in practice, staying ready, talking, staying engaged, and Sam [Cassell Jr.] has been doing the same thing. Omar has been coming along. So it's good to have a bench now that's deep, that can come in and give us a lift."

Nine players were on the court for at least 10 minutes during the Huskies' win over South Florida on Tuesday. In that same game, UConn got 41 points from its bench.

"It was like we were sleepwalking in the first half (against USF), and then when I inserted those guys the rhythm of the game picked up," Ollie said. "I think it really bodes well for us in the future because we have guys coming in and giving us lifts in different areas."

The timing couldn't be better; UConn is about to enter the thick of their conference schedule. Next up: Cincinnati comes to the XL Center on Saturday.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Mosqueda-Lewis Ties Taurasi's 3-Point Mark]]> Thu, 08 Jan 2015 14:29:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mosqueda-lewis-louisville.jpg

After a two-game drought from behind the arc, senior sharpshooter Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis got back on track Wednesday against Tulsa, draining three 3-pointers in UConn's 98-60 win over Tulsa.

Those three 3s tied Diana Taurasi for the all-time UConn record of 318 made 3-pointers, an impressive accomplishment for one of the nation's best long-range shooters.

Coach Geno Auriemma, who has seen just about everything in more than a quarter of a century on the job, was asked about Mosqueda-Lewis matching Taurasi's record.

"Those things are things that happen because you get a lot of opportunities to play with some great players and to work on your game… We share the ball so well, and we have so many assists every game, that if you’re a great shooter and you come here, you’re going to get a lot of opportunities to make shots. …

"What K has done and what Diana did was something that’s obviously very difficult to do," Auriemma continued. "I know that everybody wants to be seen as more than just a shooter, they want to be seen as a basketball player, and I’m happy for K that she’s become a much better basketball player in addition to being a great shooter."

Mosqueda-Lewis, meanwhile, had a simple approach to facing Tulsa.

“I just didn’t force the issues," she said. "It’s not something that’s going to always be on my mind. I just want us to play well as a team and for everybody to play well.”

And now she'll get a chance to break the record when the Huskies face SMU on Sunday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Freshman Lubin Showing Promise]]> Wed, 07 Jan 2015 16:13:24 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin-ollie-2014.jpg

Freshman Rakim Lubin and transfer Sam Cassell Jr. each played 10 minutes Tuesday night and combined to score seven points, pull five rebounds and dish out two assists. It may not sound like much, but their contributions were another sign that the Huskies are coming together as they get into their conference schedule.

“[Lubin has] been doing a fabulous job in practice, his talking, his staying engaged," coach Kevin Ollie said after the game, via the New Haven Register. "Sam’s been doing the same thing, and Omar’s been coming along. It’s good to have a bench that’s deep and can come in and give us a lift. That’s what we needed in the second half. It was like we were sleep-walking out there in the first half, couldn’t make a shot. When I inserted those guys, the rhythm of the game picked up. I think it really bodes well for us in the future.”

More from Ollie on Lubin:

“I mean, I haven’t played him. I see it in practice, where he’s talking and just staying engaged. Kentan went through it last year, where you’re not playing, you can get down on yourself. I see Rock continuing to work, continuing to talk to his teammates and not get down and be on-call. It gives you the trust that I can assert him when I need him. He’s not getting down on himself or pointing the finger at anybody. He’s just looking in the mirror, saying, ‘What can I do to help this team?’ To help this team now is to be in practice and push Kentan (Facey) and Amida (Brimah), and also push yourself. I was very proud of him coming in and giving us that lift the way he did.”

Lubin, meanwhile, knows that as a freshman, part of the deal is that he has to bide his time.

“It’s pretty difficult, but whatever it takes for the team to win," he's said. "If [Ollie] wants me to sit on the bench or play 20-30 minutes, I’ll do what it takes.”

Next up: UConn hosts Cincinnati on Saturday.

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<![CDATA[Mosqueda-Lewis Nears 3-Pointer Record]]> Wed, 07 Jan 2015 12:14:52 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP116320717091%281%29.jpg

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis needs three 3-pointers to tie Diana Taurasi's school record of 318. The senior could tie -- or surpass -- that total on Wednesday when UConn hosts Tulsa at the XL Center.

But whatever happens, Mosqueda-Lewis won't force looks from beyond the arc.

“I am looking to score in different ways, but if there is a small guard on me I am always going to go inside because if Stewie (Breanna Stewart) and Morgan (Tuck) have a big guy on them that can’t defend (them) 1 on 1, they will go outside,” Mosqueda-Lewis said, via the New Haven Register. “I think that is another thing about our team is that we are so versatile.”

Mosqueda-Lewis is arguably the best long-range shooter in the country, a fact not lost on opponents who aren't interested in letting her get open on the perimeter.

“I am being face guarded,” she said, “I am moving around and I am only open for a moment, and if I am not open, I am going to screen for Stewie, I am going to screen for Morgan.”

After Mosqueda-Lewis didn't convert a three in her last two games, coach Geno Auriemma admitted that he needs to do a better job.

"I am not thrilled that we couldn’t get K more shots,” he said. “It is a two-way street, but we also don’t want to be a team that is totally dependent on one player. Obviously she is a great shooter, you almost have to expect when we play something similar to that (defensive strategy), the other players need to do exactly what they did today.”

So what's the solution?

“We have to get her more involved and she has to get herself more involved," Auriemma said. "I have always said that players who want to get a lot of shots generally get a lot shots."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[UConn Beats USF, 58-44]]> Wed, 07 Jan 2015 12:11:16 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/482962317.jpg

The Huskies got off to a slow start, scoring just six points through 10 minutes, but shot 57 percent in the second half and cruised to their first conference win of the season, a 58-44 road victory over South Florida.

Sophomore center Amida Brimah led the way with 10 points, and senior point guard Ryan Boatright added 10. The win was UConn's second in three days, wrapping up an undefeated swing through Florida, following Saturday's comeback victory over the Gators.

"A successful trip by us," coach Kevin Ollie said, via the Hartford Courant, "starting the new year right. Get two down in Florida, get two road kills, a great job by the team."

UConn led 28-24 at the half, but held USF to just 31 percent shooting over the final 20 minutes. The Huskies also out-rebounded USF, 58-44.

"We live off the defensive end," Boatright said. "I don't think we're as talented on the scoring end, the offensive end. So we've got to pride ourselves on the defensive end. The more times we get stops, the better opportunities we have."

USF coach Orlando Antigua added: "They made some adjustments. You've got to give them credit defensively. They ramped up their energy. Gave them too many second opportunities at the end of that first half. I think that's where they got a little separation."

Next up: UConn hosts Cincinnati on Saturday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[UConn Adds WR to Incoming Class]]> Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:38:26 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+football_generic+shot.jpg

Naugatuck High wide receiver Bryan Coney is headed to UConn to play football. He doesn't have a scholarship, but he'll arrive in Storrs with preferred walk-on status. This doesn't seem particularly noteworthy until you learn that another Naugatuck High standout took the same route to UConn and later the NFL: Marcus Easley.

"Last year, I went to their camp and did well at the camp," Coney told the New Haven Register's Jim Fuller. "They offered me a preferred walk-on spot before my senior year started. They told me they wanted to offer me a full scholarship or preferred walk-on and at the end of the season they offered me a preferred walk-on. I took a little while to decide and then I talked to my family and decided the other day that it is the best decision for me. I called my recruiting coordinator Coach (Josh) Reardon and told them I wanted to commit. I talked to him, Coach (Wayne) Lineburg the receivers coach and made the decision that I want to go to UConn.

"I am really excited. I go up for an official visit next weekend and I am really excited because I love it up there, I loved UConn ever since I was a kid in basketball and football so I just feel like it is a great opportunity."

Coney had 52 catches for 1,171 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior.

"He is a player that has a lot of potential, they are both great kids, both hard workers," said Craig Bruno, Coney's high school coach. "It's tough to put those kinds of expectations on him, Marcus is doing very well in the NFL right now but definitely similarities, they are both great players.

"He definitely stretches the field. I don't know what they have planned for him but he is big, 6-3 and is a great player."

The Huskies are coming off a two-win season. The year before, they won three games, and the two years before that they were 5-7, mostly because of their inability to score points. Anyone who can help this offense is certainly welcome.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Tuck and Stewart Make Formidable Duo]]> Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:26:53 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/morgan-tuck-title.jpg

"I think Morgan is not even anywhere near, right now, where she's going to end up being in a month or so. because she's making up for a lot of lost time."

That's coach Geno Auriemma talking about Morgan Tuck, who battled injuries last season, but has burst onto the scene during the first two months of this season. Through 13 games, she has averaged 14.3 points, including 23- and 25-point efforts against St. John's and Notre Dame.

SB Nation's The UConn Blog has even gone so far as to say Tuck is "evolving into a Breanna Stewart-like threat."

As for Auriemma's comment above, Tuck sees the profess she's made slightly differently.

"I wouldn't call it lost time because I do believe everything happens for a reason," Tuck said, via the Hartford Courant. "I'd rather say that sitting out as much as I did actually helped me. It was very hard, but looking back on it, it's clear how it all turned into something positive."

However you spin it, Tuck has been vital to not only UConn's frontcourt, but the team's overall success.

"We've talked so much about how there are so many things that she does well," Auriemma continued. "She's the kind of player, when on the floor with someone like Breanna Stewart, that it's more like having four players than two. They shoot the ball, handle it, pass it and can cover up things.

"Nobody remembers Morgan from two years ago. But I don't know anyone in the [AAC], up to this point, has had, from what I have seen, a better year than Morgan is having right now."

Against the Red Storm over the weekend, Tuck scored 17 of her 23 points in the second half. Not surprisingly, her performance wasn't lost on Red Storm coach Joe Tartamella. "She's a great player," he said, via the Courant. "It was clear from watching her play that she was able to make adjustments. We did a better job curtailing her in the first half, but [Auriemma] made adjustments that enabled her to make counters on plays in the post. Her confidence has improved and her outside shot … she does all the little things that you love."

Next up: The Huskies face Tulsa on Wednesday at the XL Center.

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<![CDATA[Huskies Ready to Get on a Roll]]> Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:22:28 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconnj.jpg

It is, as they say, go time. Andy by "they," we don't mean Izzy Mandelbaum from Seinfeld, but UConn sophomore Rodney Purvis, who has played well recently after a slow start to the season.

“This is a time for us to turn our season around,” he said Monday, two days after the Huskies beat Florida in Gainesville, and a day before the team's matchup with South Florida.

“The main thing is just getting better, at the end of the day," Purvis continued, via the New Haven Register. "Winning or losing shouldn’t affect how hard you go. The main thing is just maintaining a level 5.5, and everything else will take care of itself.”

Senior point guard Ryan Boatright echoed similar thoughts.

"I think [winning at Florida] just opened the team's eyes to how good we can be when we play together and we're focused," he said, via the Hartford Courant. "And they just saw that if we dig down deep, the game ain't over till the buzzer goes off. I think that was a good win for us, the way that we won."

It's hard to believe the season is nearing its midpoint, but at 7-5, UConn needs to make a move.

"Having composure and poise in our offense, and I think we did that at Florida," coach Kevin Ollie said. "Under pressure, under duress in a hostile environment, we came down and said, 'All right, we're going to hit UConn shots. We're not going to let Florida dictate the shots for us to get.' I thought that was a big improvement from us and hopefully it will continue."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Purvis Finding Niche With Huskies]]> Mon, 05 Jan 2015 12:46:22 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/rodney+purvis_uconn.jpg

Coach Kevin Ollie likes to refer to Rodney Purvis as a Ferrari sitting in the garage, but now that the former NC State transfer is healthy -- and seemingly comfortable in UConn's system -- we've all taken a few test drives together. The latest came over the weekend when the guard scored nine of his 11 points in the second half, including a huge three-pointer that put the Huskies up for good over Florida.

"I just knew I had to make an impact," Purvis said, via TheDay.com. "We were in a tough situation in the game. I just knew eventually my time would come so I stayed with it on the bench and cheered for my teammates."

Purvis is still learning and growing, however. He had a rocky first half and Ollie sat him down for about 10 minutes in the second half. If that had happened earlier in the season, Purvis might have checked out mentally and been of little use to his team down the stretch. That didn't happen on Saturday in Gainesville.

"I would have been done," Purvis said. "It just shows a sign of progress I made, just to stay in the game. I know I can help this team a lot."

And that's exactly what Ollie needs from what could turn out to be one of his most important players.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut/UConn]]>
<![CDATA[Calhoun's Game Coming Together]]> Mon, 05 Jan 2015 12:44:03 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/omar-calhoun-napier.jpg

The season got off to a rough start for Omar Calhoun. It wasn't supposed to be that way for the junior, who spent much of last year on the bench battling injuries. But on Saturday in Gainesville, Florida, Calhoun played a huge role in the Huskies' comeback win over the Gators in arguably the team's most important game of the season.

Calhoun played 25 minutes and scored 12 points against Florida, with eight points coming during the Huskies' second-half run that got them right back in the game.

When we were down by 11, he made a big three, made a pump fake, one dribble inside the baseline," coach Kevin Ollie said, via the Hartford Courant. "If Omar didn't make those shots and get defensive stops, I don't know where we'd be."

Senior point guard Ryan Boatright echoed his coach's thoughts.

"Omar Calhoun was huge for us," he said. "He hit some threes and some shots that kept us in the game, kept us fighting and everything."

After a solid freshman season, Calhoun seemed lost at times as a sophomore. The aforementioned injuries played a part, but so too did the growing pains of trying to expand his game to something more than a three-point shooter. In recent weeks, we've seen glimpses of Calhoun doing more than draining threes and it's paying dividends for a young Huskies team.

"I've been in the gym. I know I can make shots," Calhoun told the Courant. "I'm getting back from my injury. I'm still not 100 percent, but I'm working hard every day with the trainers. ... I worked hard all summer, I worked on my game off the dribble, not just being a three-point shooter. I'm a big guard, I can rebound, too. So I'm just continuing to get more and more comfortable out there and showing what I can do."

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<![CDATA[Tuck Leads Huskies in Win]]> Mon, 05 Jan 2015 12:39:43 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/morgan-tuck-title.jpg

The second-ranked Huskies moved to 12-1 on the season after Sunday's 70-54 victory over St. John's in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Redshirt sophomore Morgan Tuck scored 17 of her 23 points in the second half -- and even reeled off 11 straight -- as UConn put distance between themselves and their former Big East rival.

“Some of the things are just hard to explain,” coach Geno Auriemma said, according to SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “Morgan is a real good ballhandler and then there are a couple of turnovers that are hard to believe. And she’s so good around the basket and she misses a shot in there you just kind of shake your head.

“Then she comes out in the second half today and makes you realize how good she is. She just needs time. She just needs more time.”

After a sluggish start, All-Everything forward Breanna Stewart (who scored 18) was impressed by how Tuck picked it up in the final 20 minutes.

“Morgan really bounced back in the second half,” Stewart said. “Coach was on her for missing some chip shots in the first half and then she came out and was really aggressive. That’s how Morgan plays and she just keeps showing people. She adds so much for us and makes it hard for defenders to focus on a certain amount of people.”

Tuck's play isn't a surprise, at least not this season. In December, she was named the National Player of the Week, and her strong play hasn't gone unnoticed by opponents.

“(Tuck's) confidence has improved,” St. John’s coach Joe Tartamella said. “Then she was making adjustments to counter what we were trying to do against her in the post.”

Meanwhile, Tuck attributes her growth as a player to one simple truth.

“I think I’ve made the most progress in just playing hard,” she said. “I know I have times that Coach is wondering ‘What am I out there doing?’ I’ve tried to bring energy and play hard all of the time. It gets better with being more consistent and that’s something I have to be better at. I’ll make a layup that’s hard then miss a wide open one. I have to work on my consistency.”

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<![CDATA[Auriemma All-Time Leader in Win Pct.]]> Mon, 29 Dec 2014 15:52:38 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-201314.jpg

Geno Auriemma has nine national titles, myriad accolades and records, and it's hard to imagine there's much left for him to do. But over the weekend, following UConn's win over SMU, Auriemma became the all-time leader in winning percentage in the history of women's college basketball.

He heads into Monday night's matchup against Duke with a 888-134 record, which works out to .86889. That's one ten-thousandth of a percent better than the previous best, .86878, held by former Louisiana Tech coach Leon Barmore.

"I wasn't even aware of it until it was brought to my attention last week," Auriemma said, via the Hartford Courant. "I stopped following that kind of thing at least 20 years ago, when I was acutely aware of what my record was in comparison to some people in our conference [the Big East] at the time. That was because I was focused on where I wanted our program to be, relative to where the conference was at that time.

"Ever since then, I haven't really kept track of all these other things out there. But I do know it would unfair to Leon [now retired as a head coach] because he doesn't have the chance to win another game to keep his standing as No.1.

"We won a lot of games over a long period of time. And when you do that, I guess you are going to eventually get into areas that very few people have reached. And when I'm not coaching anymore, whenever that is, I will probably look back at that kind of stuff. But right now, it's not something I think much about."

Auriemma is now 12 victories away from 900 wins.

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