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The Women’s Beat with Bob Joyce – The Opener is Here !

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Breanna Stewart vs. Philadelphia University, Nov. 5, 2013. (Photo by Bob Stowell)

Breanna Stewart vs. Philadelphia University, Nov. 5, 2013. (Photo by Bob Stowell)

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Well, here we go ! The 2013-14 season has officially arrived with the opener Saturday against the Injury Plagued Hartford Hawks at the XL Center. But trust me, Jen Rizzotti will not use that as an excuse. Her team will play with maximum effort regardless what the scoreboard reads at games end.

So what do we look for from the reigning National Champions ? Only 9 scholarship players, which means staying healthy is a must for the Huskies to repeat…Moirah Jefferson is good to go after a few days off to rest the ankle sprain.

New roles for many – Kelly Faris is gone. How does UConn replace her ? Well with all the intangibles she brought, it’s going to be hard. But they can do it by committee. And that’s just as good as one person. The closest person may be Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. Her game is really coming together than just being a great shooter. She’s a matchup nightmare for a guard. We’ll see if her defense has improved enough to handle say Alyssa Thomas the way Kelly Faris did.

How good is Breanna Stewart ? Well, if you ask Diana Taurasi or Maya Moore, she’s gonna be great. The great thing about Stewey is that she just wants to improve and keep winning. Well, she’s in the right place with the best coaching staff to keep her grounded. She wants to be consistent this season after last season’s wishy-washy season.

This just in and the Coach believes this. Stefanie Dolson is the best post player in Women’s College Basketball. She has all the tools to be that and the demeanor to get it done. She transformed herself between season’s 2 & 3 and well, you saw the results. Now if Stef can stay healthy, she’ll be an All American again.

X Factors ? Briana Banks and Kiah Stokes. Banks had a solid 2nd season going till’ the ACL injury. What I’ve seen in the two exhibitions is  she’s confident in her movement and has not doubted herself on the floor. Rusty ? A bit, but she worked hard to get back to play and will be a solid #2 guard. If Kia shows the flashes of brilliance we’ve seen in the past in a more consistent matter off the bench, any foul trouble to Stef Dolson won’t be as big a factor. And the OTHER x-factor ? the new rules..The team that adjusts better will prevail.

Bottom Line,  this team has eyes for nine and a perfect season. The early non league schedule will challenge them, but not many teams have the arsenal the Huskies have. Could they go 40-0 ? Yes. Will they ?? We’ll see. First game Saturday at the XL at 4p..Pregame at 3:30 on the UConn/IMG Sports Network.

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