Much attention was immediately placed on UConn's five freshmen in the preseason. Nothing unusual about that. Most people had never seen them play and the curiosity was high.
In UConn's second and final preseason game against Indiana (Pa.) one of the five emerged in a big way, giving the coaching staff a good feeling about her future.
By JOHN ALTAVILLA
November 11, 2010
HARTFORD -- For the first time in quite a while, UConn coach Geno Auriemma will start the season in experimental mode regarding his players and the roles they must play.
The idea is to figure out how many ways five can go into 10. He has a limited but multidimensional roster for the 2010-11 season, which begins Sunday against Holy Cross.
The abbreviated preseason ended Wednesday with another rout, a 100-41 win over Indiana University of Pennsylvania before 7,745 at the XL Center.
The Huskies had five players score in double figures, led by three of their five freshmen. Forward Samarie Walker had 22 points (9 of 10) and 15 rebounds in just 18 minutes.
"I feel I still can do better, of course," Walker said.
Guard Bria Hartley added 18 points and seven assists in 32 minutes. And center Stefanie Dolson had 11 points and nine rebounds.
The production left Auriemma in his best mood since the start of school.
"I'm actually starting to get excited about this team for the first time since I met them," he said.
As was the case last week against Franklin Pierce, which UConn defeated 112-41, the game was more excursion than anything else.
"We got our hands into passing lanes really well," Maya Moore said. "We came out and ran. We moved the ball, shared it. It was pretty good."
UConn broke out to a 10-0 lead against a small opponent and spent the remainder of its time working on whatever it wanted to work on.
The Huskies were leading 27-5 after making their first 11 shots. They finished the half a tidy 20 of 27 and had a 51-14 lead. They assisted on 17 of those field goals with Faris (eight points, nine rebounds, seven assists) and Lorin Dixon doing most of the dishing.
Come Sunday, Auriemma will allow instincts and circumstances to determine who plays in what combinations and for how long..
What is true against the Crusaders may not be true against Baylor and 6-foot-8 center Brittney Griner. And what occurs against Baylor may require additional adjustments before the Huskies play again at Georgia Tech Nov. 21.