The Women’s Beat with Bob Joyce – 10 x 3 = Champs Again !

Two weeks ago tonight, the College Basketball season ended the same way the previous two have finished. With Geno Auriemma and the UConn Women winning a National Championship. I know most are not surprised. But on championship night, they had to grind out the title…And in the 2nd half when Notre Dame threatened to get within 5 or 6, the Huskies had an answer. The 3 Ball !! And it came from different sources, something that has been a reason why the Huskies have been so successful this season. And the defense was simply stellar, especially from the defensive stopper, Moriah Jefferson..who put the clamps down on Jewell Loyd and kept the Irish in the 50’s for the 2nd time this season..With that said, here are my grades, better late than never on the 2014-15 Huskies.

The Seniors:

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis: The best 3 point shooter in NCAA Women’s BB History and 2x All American. But she proved she’s so much more. Kaleena was healthy all season and produced inside and out most of the season. Tied with Nykesha Sales for 3rd on the all time scoring list who’s now the Second- First Round pick of the Seattle Storm. Some have questioned weather or not she’ll be successful in the WNBA. With Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd to get the ball from, she could be…But she’ll be successful somewhere playing in the pros. (A)

Kiah Stokes: The Enigma is what many called her, but she’ll go down as one of the best shot blockers in UConn WBB History. The single season leader and 3rd overall proved she can be a dependable rebounder  as well. Anything they got from her on the offensive end was a bonus. Drafted #11 by the Liberty, Bill Laimbeer is looking forward to working with her..Does she have a mean streak to have a successful pro career ? Good question….But she made a difference in her own way in Storrs..She’ll be missed (B+)

The Juniors:

Breanna Stewart: The 3x Final Four MOP, 2x All American and National POY…Yep, that’s Stewey. The toughest matchup in WCBB continues to take her game to a higher level. Maybe her point total was down a bit 777 to 686..(Yes, nit picking !!!) And she wasn’t as good with the three as last season. (again, nit picking). But to the line more and stronger was just the start of her improvement this season. And how she’s matured dealing with physical play…She came here to win 4 straight National Titles…Now 3 for 3..Do you bet against her ?? (A)

Moriah Jefferson: The Nation’s BEST point guard ! The Engine, etc…call her what ever you want, but she’s tough as nails and led this vicious offensive attack. Moriah came so far from the start of the season. It took her a little time to get her bearings. But after Christmas, she was a terror on the floor in all fazes..And she’ll be back !! Opposing Teams are thrilled I’m sure (A)

Morgan Tuck: in her freshman year, you could see glimpses of brilliance. Now fully healthy, Morgan did not disappoint on bit. Ask Notre Dame, Ask Maryland, Ask USF and South Carolina. ND Coach Muffett McGraw called her the 2nd best player on the UConn Roster..She’s an All American in waiting and two years left to add to a lofty resume. In theory, she could leave Storrs with 5 rings..She has no intention of going anywhere soon. (A)

Brianna Polido: One of the two walkons. She high fives her teammates bench side when a three is made. And she even made her first career three pointer. Good work ethic and a 4.o ? Organic Chemistry ??  That’s impressive Polly…Congrats !!! (B+)

Sophomores:

Soniya Chong: The 20pt game at Stanford was a glimpse of what she can be on offense. Defensively another story. But she did, like her teammates, become better on that end as the season played on. She even went 4-5 games in February where she couldn’t miss a shot. But consistency has to show up if she’s going to get more PT…With the new group entering the fray, she better do more than ever to increase her time on the court (B-)

Tierney Lawlor: The walk on from Ansonia is now 2 for 2 as a Husky. It was great to have Coach Auriemma have her say a few words at the rally last Sunday. Like Polido, Lawlor is a super student, works her tail off and does things we never see on the court that makes this program successful. Bet she has a scholarship soon… (B+)

The Freshmen:

Kia Nurse: The guard from Hamilton, Ontario played a lot of ball this past calendar year. It showed late in the season and American Tournament. But she was a 50% shooter from 3pt range in the last 6 games. Usually came early in games to calm her down. BUT the 2nd half three v ND in the Final was as big as any other three ball to help the Huskies win. Her toughness can be never questioned. And she’s a wonderful young lady..Heck, she loves hockey…lol  But the sky is the limit for Nurse…(B+)

Gabby Williams: She was a guard in High School who transformed into an athletic jumping bean on both ends of the floor. Put Gabby in the right situation to be successful and she thrived. The game at Memphis was big for her…Perhaps she didn’t play as much as she would have liked in the NCAA’s, but she’ll be a big factor next season if she puts in the time to be successful…A nice surprise this season (B+)

Courtney Ekmark: This young lady from Arizona was hurt early in the season, lost PT and never quite got her confidence back. You have to wonder if her not playing actively in her senior year of H.S. hurt. But we know this, the incoming freshmen class is good…And if Courtney doesn’t work her tail off this off season, she could be at the end of the bench (C-)

Coaches: Well Geno said he wasn’t a big fan of this team when the season began. He saw the loss at Stanford coming 2-3 weeks prior to the game. But he, CD, Shea and Marissa sold this group on working even harder, committing themselves on defense and the trust came…No game better than the South Carolina game in February at Gampel where it all came together on both ends. The Best Coaching Staff in WCBB did it again. And the trophy came back to Storrs……Again… (A)

Best Game: South Carolina…Worst ? SMU I mean 74-9 with 9 minutes left ???  Most memorable ? The two wins over ND…

So what now ? Well, four new faces show up for the 15-16′ season. 3 freshmen, including Nat’l POY Katie Lou Samuelsson and Naphessa Collier, who is 6-1 and can flat out ball….Plus, the post game gets a shot in the arm with 6-5 Natalie Butler being eligible after redshirting from her transfer. I’m really looking forward to seeing her play next season. They’ll be the preseason #1 again and favorite to make it 4 straight championships….The Seniors will be chasing history in a way NO team at UConn has ever done. And it will be fun to watch. Stanford will not be on the schedule next season. The Huskies will host Kansas State, LSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Florida State, with the Seminoles going to Mohegan Sun Arena. UConn will travel to Chattanooga, Colgate, DePaul, Ohio State, and South Carolina.

Thank you again for listening to Deb and I all season long..We are truly lucky to have great listeners and an even better team to travel with. Thanks Geno, CD, Sarah, Pat and Deb Corum for everything !!! Enjoy your summer everyone, perhaps we’ll see you at a ballgame or golf course soon !!  Go Huskies !!

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