The Women’s Beat with Bob Joyce: Eight Games In…
It’s Thanksgiving Week and the Huskies have played 8 games in 16 days to open the 2013-14 campaign. Over the next 35 days, they’ll play 5. Pretty crazy I’d say..But as the saying goes “it is what it is.” And so far the record shows 8 wins and 0 losses. And that goose egg could stay there all season. It’s pretty impressive that a team, who’s lost an All American and a solid player off the bench for perhaps the next month have continued to play well pretty much without a hitch. The Stanford, Maryland, Penn State stretch they passed with flying colors.
Now as Carl Adamec of the J.I. said in the Stanford Game, UConn played without an All American (well future anyway) in Breanna Stewart in the first half and another, Kaleena Mosqueda Lewis in the second. And they still won impressively. The win at Maryland was race horse hoops for 20 minutes, then a defensive lock down by the Huskies in the second half as the guard play was the difference. And really the same can be said for Penn State. They built a big lead, the Lady Lions made their run to get within 9 before Stewart and Bria Hartley hit big shots to ice it.
Whose been their best player so far ?? That’s a tough, tough question..The 7 scholarship players have come up big at various times during this stretch. Bra Hartley and Stefanie Dolson have played like past and current All Americans that they are. Bria is determined to get back to that status. The 29 at Penn State was clutch. She’s had at least 6 assists in all but one game so far and Stefanie has improved so much on the glass it’s ridiculous. Double Doubles in 3 of her last 4 games and even a triple-double against Oregon. Stefanie Dolson has made herself into the Best Post Player in America. And yes, she is the face of this year’s team for sure.
The real surprise is what the Huskies have gotten from the supporting cast of Jefferson, Banks, Stokes and Chong. All have made big plays at various times on both ends of the floor. Doing what they do best to help the cause. And Soniya Chong, other than the Maryland game has played as if she doesn’t have a care in the world. We know that will change at some point. But it’s really hard not to like this team’s chances as long as health doesn’t become more of an issue. The mystery will surround KML. A Ulnar Nerve contusion is a unique basketball injury. And really who knows just how long she’ll need to to get back. Right now, it’s some rest and rehab to get the swelling down, and then it’s rehab work to get the elbow strong again..It’s not like the pain goes away and poof, she’s back. It’ll be interesting to see how long this goes.
The schedule in December features Ohio State Sunday, at Duke December 17th and California December 22nd. The focus is on Cameron Indoor at the Women’s Jimmy V in what will be a 1 v 2 showdown. The question ? Can an ACC Team play with UConn ? 24 straight wins and many of those 24 not even close. ACC teams tend to do some silly things and before you know it, UConn goes on a run and it’s over. The newest conference edition in Notre Dame will give the traditional powers a real run for the money. I think they’ll win it in their first year. Based on what they’ve done to them in recent years, it’s not a tough choice. And some people think the Irish will be better with Jewel Lloyd now being featured.
We’ll check in from time to time give you my thoughts on Geno’s Crew. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving ! Congrats to the Field Hockey Team on their National Championship, best wishes to Ray Reid’s Team at UCLA next Sunday and congrats to MBB and Football on big wins this past weekend..See You at the Rent Saturday for the final football show down with Rutgers as Conference foes.