The Huskies women's team faces top-ranked Baylor Bears Sunday. UConn has already beaten Stanford and Texas A&M this season, but both wins were in Hartford. This time, Geno Auriemma's crew travels to Waco, Texas where they'll face the country's most dynamic big man, Brittney Griner.
But Auriemma, who is known for his game-planning prowess, has an advantage when it comes to preparing for Griner: she was a member of this summer's USA Basketball roster coached by -- you guessed it -- Auriemma. Also a member of that team: former Huskies All-American and Connecticut Sun guard Renee Montgomery.
She spoke with the Hartford Courant's John Altavilla recently about the UConn-Baylor matchup and what Auriemma could do to slow Griner down.
"[Having coached her this summer] will be helpful," Montgomery began, "but Coach Auriemma has had a lot of success developing game plans for players he's never coached or seen before. Coach has a system he's comfortable with. He's well aware of how to scout a player he's never coached. Sure, having coached her will be helpful to an extent, but even not having that chance, he still will be able to come up with a good plan.
"He has coached against many players who were more skilled than Brittney is at this point and been extremely successful at it," she continued. "It's not going to hurt him to have the information; I just think it won't necessarily be any different if he didn't have it."
"UConn has such a reputation for developing game plans, whether it's to stop one person or figuring out an offense. I have always found it impressive that each time UConn comes upon a new team, the coaches seem to be able to find something that usually works."
We suspect Sunday will be no different.
More Montgomery: "I'd use all 15 of fouls [among Stefanie Dolson, Heather Buck and Kiah Stokes]," before adding, "But Brittney does shoot free throws well [73.1 percent in 10 games this season] so I would use the fouls tactfully."
Last season, No. 1 UConn outlasted No. 2 Baylor, 65-64 in Hartford. Maya Moore scored 30 points, Griner finished with 19 points and nine blocks.