It's been a relatively quiet summer for Geno Auriemma and his staff, but with the fall semester about to start, the college basketball season isn't far off, either. On Monday, Auriemma spoke with theNew Haven Register's Jim Fuller about replacing Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson and Georgetown transfer Natalie Butler, who won't be eligible until next season.
On replacing Hartley and Dolson. "When you talk about two kids who started every game pretty much, they were counted on right from the beginning from the first day of practice freshman year, they have been through a lot and they gave us such a huge advantage throughout their careers. You have one of the best guards in the country and one of the best centers in the country, that is a good place to start. Stefanie, being kind of the focal point of our offense last year and the year before, that is going to take some adjustment. Bria, with her competitiveness and her ability to do things at big moments, we are obviously going to miss that and we are going to miss Stefanie's personality. she became the personality of our team and somebody is going to have to replace that and right now I am not sure who that is but I know somebody is going to step up and do that."
Kiah Stokes will be counted on to make up for Dolson's absence in the front court, and Auriemma thinks she can expand her game beyond rebounds and blocked shots.
"It is astonishing when you talk about all the things that she can do and why hasn't she done all those things leading up to now," Auriemma told Fuller. "You immediately start to think if she decides to put it all together and it all comes together for her, it is going to change our team dramatically. Maybe finally being a senior and finally having enough confidence in yourself to say 'What is the worse that can happen?' It is that time now. I think we are all anxious to see it."
On what Butler brings to the Huskies. "She was here a little bit and the coaches got a chance to spend a little time with her and it is quite an adjustment for her. She is one of those kids who puts a lot of pressure on herself because she wants to prove to everybody that she is good enough to play here. I told her she has a whole year to prepare and don't rush it. She is going to be a great help to us in practice because she will help make Kiah better, she will help make Morgan, Stewie, she is going to give those guys a bit of a problem so she will benefit from those guys."