Young Huskies Prepare for Pacific - NBC Connecticut
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Young Huskies Prepare for Pacific

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Just two games into the season and Jim Calhoun has already called his team selfish. It's most likely a motivational ploy intended to bring his young squad together now so when they'll be prepared once they're in the thick of the Big East schedule.

    Geno Auriemma also has a young team (younger, in fact), but his tact for getting the most out of his players differs from that of Calhoun. Tiffany Hayes is the only senior on the roster and she and her teammates are still getting comfortable with life after Maya.

    They seemed to be adjusting well Sunday during their 40-point win over Holy Cross, but these early games are like exhibitions in that they allow the Huskies to work out the kinks before the challenging part of the schedule arrives in the coming weeks and months. Next up: Pacific comes to town Tuesday night.

    Auriemma is hoping that the return of Caroline Doty and the addition of his three highly regarded freshmen can fill in the gaps in a post-Maya world. No one is expecting miracles, but UConn has enough depth, and Auriemma has been around long enough to know how to get the most out of his squad.

    Auriemma said recently that Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis could prove to be one of the most talented players to come through Storrs, though her first regular-season start got off to an inauspicious start: the sharpshooter was 0 for 7 from beyond the arc against Holy Cross. No one is worried, however, least of all Auriemma.

    "Kaleena is Kaleena," he said, according to the Hartford Courant's John Altavilla. "She just didn't make the shots that she's going to make. But she doesn't have any problems getting shots."

    "At one point, I looked out there and saw all three there together and I thought this is a good opportunity for them. I don't know how many times we're going to see that. But I thought they were OK. I don't think anything great, but they were OK.''

    Auriemma was referring to the three freshmen -- Mosqueda-Lewis, Brianna Banks and Kiah Stokes -- being on the court at the same time. Banks finished with 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals; Stokes added 4 points, 4 rebounds and a steal.

    "I thought Kiah played really well in the first half and then in the second half I think she kind of was just there,'' Auriemma said. "Brianna was similar. We talked to them a lot about being productive, that every time you're on the floor, when you're involved in the possession, you're doing something, whatever that may be."

    And then there's Doty, the junior guard who missed the 2010-11 season while she recovered from ACL surgery. The freshmen's maturation is a key cog in UConn's success, but so is Doty, who can run the point and stretch defenses with her capabilities from behind the arc.

    "(Doty's return) is going to mean everything to us," sophomore center Stefanie Dolson said. "She's definitely that glue player that coaches always talk about."

    The education of this young team continues Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.