Husky Hoopla: Projected Starting 5 - another opinion

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Not buying it! Keep in mind, not even the beat-writers are able to watch practices, so everyone is just trying to glean something from Geno's comments and interviews with the players.
IMO some players have to start to be effective, some can adjust to any role they're given, and others are best as spark-plugs off the bench. I think Anna is able to fill any role, Aubrey may actually be best off the bench as a spark, and IMO Paige has to start.
Paige may already be the team leader. From what I see, she's going to be electric, flashy, a lightening rod. She may need to be the floor general in order to be most effective. She's going to make mistakes but I think she needs to be on the floor to figure everything out. We may need to be patient. I don't see Paige coming in and out of the game. Another hunch- maybe Aaliyah starting as well with Aubrey coming off the bench. Again, having a young player learn on the floor, with a different personality coming off the bench like Aubrey, Mir, Nika. Evina's coming off a big injury. Could her role start off as a leader on the second team.
 

RockyMTblue2

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Disclaimer.....I'm NOT hating on Paige. I'm happy to have her on our team, and will root and cheer for her whenever she's on the floor. I don't care who Geno starts!!! That said................

Chemistry in the starting unit is a factor. We don’t know the level of chemistry and cohesiveness exists with Paige on the floor. How much command of the offense and defensive sets does she have?

We have not been told she knows the plays, and is capable of running the offense. There’s playing, and playing under control (knowing what you’re doing). Last year, Aubrey played, but did not know the plays or defensive sets. Sometimes she had to be told where to go by her teammates because she was out of place.

Chemistry is developed over time by playing together. How many minutes does Paige have in a real game with the returning players? I recall during the 2013-2014 season, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (KML) injured her shoulder, and missed several games. Brianna Banks and I believe Saniya Chong filled in for her until her return. I remember Brianna Stewart reflecting on how they missed KML while she was out. She said that the unit "chemistry" was not there. The "timing of the plays they tried to run was either off, or not there at all.

No disrespect to the other two players, but they knew what KML would do and where she would be on either end of the floor in any given situation because they played together for a number of games. The flow they had become accustomed to was missing until KML's return. If Paige starts, then she'll develop chemistry in time with the other starters.

The bottom line here is simply this.........RIGHT NOW, does Bueckers understand Geno's offense enough to run it from the point? No one is questioning her skill set or BB IQ. Only her understanding of Geno's system. Bueckers may start next Saturday. That will be Gino’s choice. If she does, fine. That means she's ready, and I'm OK with that.

If she's Geno BEST OPTION right now at pg, I'm OK with that. I hope she scores 30 pts with 15 assists in each game, and wins the Bad Ass award for both games. We'll find out right away against top 6 competition as UConn will see #5 Louisville and #6 Mississippi State, unless the University of Maine turns in a HUGE upset against the Bulldogs.
Substitute Evina for Paige in your post and the post doesn't miss a beat.
 
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I think Anna and Evina would share some of the responsibility of PG, and Anna has actually played PG quite a bit before coming to UConn. I think Evina will start but that doesn’t mean that Paige won’t get just as much time on the floor, I think Geno will start her because she’s played in college and has been with the program for a while now and we know he prefers not to start freshman. To me it makes more sense to take the extra bit of pressure off Paige and let her come in and do her thing once the game has settled a bit. As the season goes on I do think she’ll be starting and it will push Nika up a spot on the depth chart which I agree is preferable. Last point, I think A LOT of the viability of these line ups depend on Evina and Aubrey. What level those two players can reach will determine how much need there is for the likes of Nika, Paige, and Aliyah. Obviously they’ll all see the floor but how competitive/comfortable they are compared to Evina and Aubrey is yet to be seen.
I am not sure who is starting, but I believe the most exciting time may be when substitutions occur with about a 5 - 10 point lead (toward middle to end of first quarter) and the resulting five on the floor are ONO, Griffin, Williams, Bueckers, and Muhl. Speed, good defense, rebounding, stretching the opponent's defense, steals, blocks, and fast break city....
Should lead to blow outs against slower teams (nearly everybody else compared to these), and what the four (other than ONO) give up in height, they gain back in athleticism and jumping ability.
 

Carnac

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Substitute Evina for Paige in your post and the post doesn't miss a beat.
Rocky, at this point, I'm all tapped out. I'm done trying to figure out who the 5 players Geno is going to use next weekend. Half the BY wants Evina to start, the other half wants Paige to start. :confused: Each side can present a credible argument to support their case. They are BOTH going to get MAJOR minutes. As long as there is a "beat down" of their opponent some where between the tip and the buzzer, I'm good. :)

We don't know who is doing what in practice day to day, who is raising/or has risen above everyone else in the last week. Evina may have been penciled in at pg when practice began, and maybe Paige has come in and learned the system enough to convince Geno that she should start. Geno may put Evina on a "pitch count" with respect to minutes played. I don't know. I'm out of envelopes, and my turban keeps falling off. :eek:

At this point, I don't care who starts. Paige, Aaliyah and Nika are all going to get major minutes. RIGHT NOW, I care more about the cohesion of the 5 players on the floor at any given time. I want to see a crisp and efficient offense and a lock down "in your face" defense regardless of who is on the floor.

I want 2 convincing (30+pts) wins next weekend. I don't care how they do it!! A convincing win over No. 6 Miss St. would be much more impressive, as Quinnipiac is an unranked mid-major. The good thing is we'll have two games to review and look at the play of every player that we may have missed watching it live.
 
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Carnac

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Not really assuming anything and never afraid to express my opinion. I trust my eyes. Other than the undersized Dangerfield scrambling around several times a game looking through bodies trying to get a decent shot off with the shot clock running down, I saw no one else step up and be capable of doing it with any real success against quality competition. It was frustrating watching them go 3-4 possessions and come up dry because of the lack of movement. Dangerfield is gone and I believe Bueckers has to be an improvement over what I saw. And she’ll get better every week and so will the movement as they realize she can find them. To each his own opinion, that’s just the way I see it.
Bobby, no one said you are or should be afraid to express your opinion. That's what this forum is for. Sometimes others are going to disagree with your take, that's just the way it is. This is one of those times. I'm not going to get into the "semantics" (assumptions) back and forth with you on this.

Until she has played a game, and you have something TANGIBLE" to point to support your argument, it's an assumption. Show me something right now that proves or supports your take. you can't. She has done some wonderful things against high school competition. She's done nothing against college level players, some who are older, more experienced, BIGGER and faster than she is.

I understand and respect your point of view, I just can't go along with it until I see her play against 1-2 top 10 teams. She'll have 6-7 games under her belt by the Christmas break. Using those games, if you still want to say that she is the best player on the team, you'll have something to use to PROVE your point. Something we can all see and say yea, or nay. Right now, it's mere speculation. I know you don't agree with that. What she did in HS DOES NOT carry over to college, you know that. She's got to put some stats and numbers in the record (game) book first. She comes here with a clean slate, just like every other freshman before her. Right now, her stat line is zeros across the board.
 
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Carnac

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I am not sure who is starting, but I believe the most exciting time may be when substitutions occur with about a 5 - 10 point lead (toward middle to end of first quarter) and the resulting five on the floor are ONO, Griffin, Williams, Bueckers, and Muhl. Speed, good defense, rebounding, stretching the opponent's defense, steals, blocks, and fast break city....
Should lead to blow outs against slower teams (nearly everybody else compared to these), and what the four (other than ONO) give up in height, they gain back in athleticism and jumping ability.
Quinnipiac doesn't have a prayer. They're out-classed. They are an unranked mid-major. No. 6 ranked Mississippi State will be a much tougher and formidable opponent. Geno has 40 minutes to tinker and observe different combinations on the floor in this game. He may not have that luxury against Miss St. who will bring a much different "flavor" to the floor the next day.
 
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Bobby, no one said you are or should be afraid to express your opinion. That's what this forum is for. Sometimes others are going to disagree with your take, that's just the way it is. This is one of those times. I'm not going to get into the "semantics" (assumptions) back and forth with you on this.

Until she has played a game, and you have something TANGIBLE" to point to support your argument, it's an assumption. Show me something right now that proves or supports your take. you can't. She has done some wonderful things against high school competition. She's done nothing against college level players, some who are older, more experienced, BIGGER and faster than she is.

I understand and respect your point of view, I just can't go along with it until I see her play against 1-2 top 10 teams. She'll have 6-7 games under her belt by the Christmas break. Using those games, if you still want to say that she is the best player on the team, you'll have something to use to PROVE your point. Something we can all see and say yea, or nay. Right now, it's mere speculation. I know you don't agree with that. What she did in HS DOES NOT carry over to college, you know that. She's got to put some stats and numbers in the record (game) book first. She comes here with a clean slate, just like every other freshman before her. Right now, her stat line is zeros across the board.
If you reread my post you’ll notice that I didn’t refer to her as the best player on the team. I made the point that when the offense breaks down and a play needs to be made to beat the shot clock, Bueckers is the best equipped to make that play in that moment because IMO she’s the best passer and ball handler they have. And that’s why I would have her on the floor as often as possible. You’ll also notice that I haven’t made any grand predictions about starting fives. I’m only interested in who I have on the floor while the game’s being decided, especially late crunch time. Most games aren’t decided in the first 5-6 minutes. If you want to consider Westbrook a PG, that of course is your prerogative. I just don’t. I believe Bueckers will be the best PG they have.
 
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If Westbrook doesn’t start, who will guard Jackson if UConn meets Miss State in game number 2? Wouldn’t be Griffin if she’s expected to play the 4.
 
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There are people who still think Paige isn't starting? Even after Geno, normally not one to shower effusive praise on freshmen, said she was already a "really, really good college player" just from her few practices in October?

I think you can draw a very good case that Paige won't start at the beginning of the year. That would put her in the company of Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Shea Ralph, and many others. Either way, she will play a lot of minutes.
 
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If Westbrook doesn’t start, who will guard Jackson if UConn meets Miss State in game number 2? Wouldn’t be Griffin if she’s expected to play the 4.
Where is it written (particularly in Geno's book of basketball) that a player must play the same "position" on defense that she does on offense? Remember that Gabby Williams was a front court player on offense, but often guarded on the perimeter on defense. Kelly Faris was typically a guard or wing on offense, but sometimes guarded the opponent's forward if she was a scoring threat (e.g., when they played Maryland with Alyssa Thomas). The same thing could be done with either Aubrey or Evina (which is not to say that will actually happen).

Having different roles on offense and defense is a part of position-less basketball.
 
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While I agree that we don't know how Paige will play against college players because it is far different from High School I would like to point out that she has a lot of experience with the USA teams (U18, U17 etc.). Those teams often played against college kids or even professionals from other countries. She does have a different kind of experience that hopefully will bode her well.
 
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If I'm not mistaken Geno said a while back that Paige's HS team ran an offense similar to UCONN's!
So it's not a complete surprise or huge learning curve if she started.
IMHO Geno and staff will coach this season out of their comfort zone! They have 7 NEW players (including Evina) 8 or 9 extremely athletic! So I see Geno having different personal on the court together.
Remember when often injured Caroline Doty was a junior/senior started at PG/SG she played the 1st 5-6 minutes than turned it over to one of the other G's who watched the pace of the game! Geno is intensely loyal and even though Evina hasn't played games for 2 years he will want to start her experience for several minutes to get the team in the right frame of mind!
So with all that being said my starting 5 will be:
PG Paige
SG Evina
SF CW
PF Anna
C ONO
Aubrey 1st off the bench (ENERGIZER BUNNY)
Edwards next off the bench, (ENFORCER)
Nika PG sub
Mir really athletic see how she improves for playing time
Hopefully there will be NO serious sickness or injuries!
 

MilfordHusky

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I'm not confident I can pick the starting 5 this season, but I'll offer a few thoughts:

--It's not as important who starts as who gets meaningful minutes, especially in tough games. Recall that Morgan Valley, Brittany Hunter, and Caroline Doty, late in their careers, started games but didn't play many minutes due to injury. In contrast, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis didn't start as a freshman, but typically played the rest of each half after she came in off the bench--and she led the team in scoring.

--Geno tends to start upperclassmen, everything being equal, and rarely demotes a former starter to a non-starting role. This bodes well for Anna.

--As has been noted, some of the greatest UConn players ever didn't start as freshmen until injuries to teammates (Shea Ralph for Diana and Kalana Greene for Maya, for example) gave them opportunities.

--Geno has started some freshmen when they were the best options at their positions. I think Renee Montgomery, Tina Charles, Caroline Doty, Stef Dolson, Bria Hartley, and Christyn Williams all basically started from Day 1.

--In Evina's case, her physical status early on may determine how much she plays, including whether or not she starts.

--Last year, we were confident that Crystal, Megan, Christyn, and Olivia would be starters, but most of us had trouble finding a single player who would be the 5th starter. I thought it could be Aubrey, while others thought it would be Kyla, Batouly, or Molly. Some, though not many, thought it would be Anna. In essence, there was a dearth of good options. All of them were unproven or needed to improve substantially. This year is very different. Almost all of us agree that Christyn, Liv, and Anna--the 3 remaining starters--will keep their starting spots. When asking, "Who will fill the remaining 2 spots?" we offer 4 or 5 options, all of which look pretty good: Evina started 2 years for Tennessee, Aubrey was an impact player last year and is now "100 times better," Paige is the most heralded freshman anywhere since Stewie, Aaliyah has played internationally at the highest level and is likely our best option at power forward, and Nika is a tough 19 year-old with years of playing in a pro league under her belt. This year, there seems to be an abundance of options, not a dearth. I really, really like our top 8!
 

psconn

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I'm not confident I can pick the starting 5 this season, but I'll offer a few thoughts:

--It's not as important who starts as who gets meaningful minutes, especially in tough games. Recall that Morgan Valley, Brittany Hunter, and Caroline Doty, late in their careers, started games but didn't play many minutes due to injury. In contrast, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis didn't start as a freshman, but typically played the rest of each half after she came in off the bench--and she led the team in scoring.

--Geno tends to start upperclassmen, everything being equal, and rarely demotes a former starter to a non-starting role. This bodes well for Anna.

--As has been noted, some of the greatest UConn players ever didn't start as freshmen until injuries to teammates (Shea Ralph for Diana and Kalana Greene for Maya, for example) gave them opportunities.

--Geno has started some freshmen when they were the best options at their positions. I think Renee Montgomery, Tina Charles, Caroline Doty, Stef Dolson, Bria Hartley, and Christyn Williams all basically started from Day 1.

--In Evina's case, her physical status early on may determine how much she plays, including whether or not she starts.

--Last year, we were confident that Crystal, Megan, Christyn, and Olivia would be starters, but most of us had trouble finding a single player who would be the 5th starter. I thought it could be Aubrey, while others thought it would be Kyla, Batouly, or Molly. Some, though not many, thought it would be Anna. In essence, there was a dearth of good options. All of them were unproven or needed to improve substantially. This year is very different. Almost all of us agree that Christyn, Liv, and Anna--the 3 remaining starters--will keep their starting spots. When asking, "Who will fill the remaining 2 spots?" we offer 4 or 5 options, all of which look pretty good: Evina started 2 years for Tennessee, Aubrey was an impact player last year and is now "100 times better," Paige is the most heralded freshman anywhere since Stewie, Aaliyah has played internationally at the highest level and is likely our best option at power forward, and Nika is a tough 19 year-old with years of playing in a pro league under her belt. This year, there seems to be an abundance of options, not a dearth. I really, really like our top 8!
The only way it's not the 5 returners starting on opening day is if Evina isn't physically ready!
I say this with the absolute certainty that comes from a dearth of info and a recognition that there are no consequences for being wrong.
 
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I'm not confident I can pick the starting 5 this season, but I'll offer a few thoughts:

--It's not as important who starts as who gets meaningful minutes, especially in tough games. Recall that Morgan Valley, Brittany Hunter, and Caroline Doty, late in their careers, started games but didn't play many minutes due to injury. In contrast, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis didn't start as a freshman, but typically played the rest of each half after she came in off the bench--and she led the team in scoring.

--Geno tends to start upperclassmen, everything being equal, and rarely demotes a former starter to a non-starting role. This bodes well for Anna.

--As has been noted, some of the greatest UConn players ever didn't start as freshmen until injuries to teammates (Shea Ralph for Diana and Kalana Greene for Maya, for example) gave them opportunities.

--Geno has started some freshmen when they were the best options at their positions. I think Renee Montgomery, Tina Charles, Caroline Doty, Stef Dolson, Bria Hartley, and Christyn Williams all basically started from Day 1.

--In Evina's case, her physical status early on may determine how much she plays, including whether or not she starts.

--Last year, we were confident that Crystal, Megan, Christyn, and Olivia would be starters, but most of us had trouble finding a single player who would be the 5th starter. I thought it could be Aubrey, while others thought it would be Kyla, Batouly, or Molly. Some, though not many, thought it would be Anna. In essence, there was a dearth of good options. All of them were unproven or needed to improve substantially. This year is very different. Almost all of us agree that Christyn, Liv, and Anna--the 3 remaining starters--will keep their starting spots. When asking, "Who will fill the remaining 2 spots?" we offer 4 or 5 options, all of which look pretty good: Evina started 2 years for Tennessee, Aubrey was an impact player last year and is now "100 times better," Paige is the most heralded freshman anywhere since Stewie, Aaliyah has played internationally at the highest level and is likely our best option at power forward, and Nika is a tough 19 year-old with years of playing in a pro league under her belt. This year, there seems to be an abundance of options, not a dearth. I really, really like our top 8!
This was a very good post that I will take exception just to one part of one comment. With regards to it doesn't matter who starts, as to who gets meaning-full minutes, for Nika I don't think that is true. If Evina plays many minutes at all at PG, or starts there, then Nika becomes a minor player. Instead of the backup point guard she becomes the third string point guard. Paige and Evina are more versatile in terms of playing other positions, Nika less so.

For other players among the top 8, your comment is true. Aubrey and Aaliyah will beat for the starter at PF, but regardless both will get significant minutes, as Aaliyah will also be needed as the backup center. At the wings, if Christyn and Anna start and Evina comes off the bench, Evina will still get backup minutes at both positions, or the same is true for Anna if Evina beats her out at SF.

So even though Evina could play PG and play it effectively, for the team as assembled, Geno's best use of her to give relevance to the top 8 players he seems to have confidence in, would be to concentrate her minutes at SG and SF regardless of whether she starts or comes off the bench.
 
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The only way it's not the 5 returners starting on opening day is if Evina isn't physically ready!
I say this with the absolute certainty that comes from a dearth of info and a recognition that there are no consequences for being wrong.
Five returning starters? I think two of last year's starters are playing in the WNBA.
 
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No one seems to be discussing one of the major problems of last year's team, the fact that Liv [and Ania] were open a lot but didn't get the ball, courtesy of you-know-who. Hopefully, with Paige and/or Nika on the floor, this problem will be resolved. If so, our team's prospects will be much brighter, eh?
 
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This was a very good post that I will take exception just to one part of one comment. With regards to it doesn't matter who starts, as to who gets meaning-full minutes, for Nika I don't think that is true. If Evina plays many minutes at all at PG, or starts there, then Nika becomes a minor player. Instead of the backup point guard she becomes the third string point guard. Paige and Evina are more versatile in terms of playing other positions, Nika less so.

For other players among the top 8, your comment is true. Aubrey and Aaliyah will beat for the starter at PF, but regardless both will get significant minutes, as Aaliyah will also be needed as the backup center. At the wings, if Christyn and Anna start and Evina comes off the bench, Evina will still get backup minutes at both positions, or the same is true for Anna if Evina beats her out at SF.

So even though Evina could play PG and play it effectively, for the team as assembled, Geno's best use of her to give relevance to the top 8 players he seems to have confidence in, would be to concentrate her minutes at SG and SF regardless of whether she starts or comes off the bench.
Muhl’s defense, passing ability but especially her toughness will lead to her being on the court way more than many of the projections. I read the same opinions about Makurat and they proved to be wrong. And Bueckers and Westbrook’s versatility will make it much easier for Auriemma and Dailey to find Muhl minutes. And don’t underestimate the need for her toughness, mental and physical, it is something Uconn has missed for the last few years. One of the intangibles that becomes very contagious. And from all reports she is one talented, fearless, tough as nails, winning player.
 
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No one seems to be discussing one of the major problems of last year's team, the fact that Liv [and Ania] were open a lot but didn't get the ball, courtesy of you-know-who. Hopefully, with Paige and/or Nika on the floor, this problem will be resolved. If so, our team's prospects will be much brighter, eh?
Last year's ball-handling numbers for the team were not bad, but I also thought by Uconn standards it was mediocre, and Anna was the only player who was in my opinion a creative and very good instinctive passer, relative to her position. Both Paige and Nika are that, even for the point guard position. Paige might play a little off the ball if in with Nika, and we add Evina who played point guard at Tennessee, and I think Aaliyah may be pretty good there as well. I seem to recall Christyn said something about the ball moving very well this year with more open looks for shooters like her. This year we bring lots of passing back into the equation, and next year it will be the year we add incredible shooting.
 
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Rocky, at this point, I'm all tapped out. I'm done trying to figure out who the 5 players Geno is going to use next weekend. Half the BY wants Evina to start, the other half wants Paige to start. :confused: Each side can present a credible argument to support their case. They are BOTH going to get MAJOR minutes. As long as there is a "beat down" of their opponent some where between the tip and the buzzer, I'm good. :)

We don't know who is doing what in practice day to day, who is raising/or has risen above everyone else in the last week. Evina may have been penciled in at pg when practice began, and maybe Paige has come in and learned the system enough to convince Geno that she should start. Geno may put Evina on a "pitch count" with respect to minutes played. I don't know. I'm out of envelopes, and my turban keeps falling off. :eek:

At this point, I don't care who starts. Paige, Aaliyah and Nika are all going to get major minutes. RIGHT NOW, I care more about the cohesion of the 5 players on the floor at any given time. I want to see a crisp and efficient offense and a lock down "in your face" defense regardless of who is on the floor.

I want 2 convincing (30+pts) wins next weekend. I don't care how they do it!! A convincing win over No. 6 Miss St. would be much more impressive, as Quinnipiac is an unranked mid-major. The good thing is we'll have two games to review and look at the play of every player that we may have missed watching it live.
Totally agree. I would just add one thing that I want to see. A full court pressing defense used regularly but not constantly with Mir and Aubrey on the court at some point in time together with either Nika or Paige as one of the two guards or both and Aaliyah as a back defender. Everyone is concentrating on Paige as part of our offense but Geno loves defense and saw what it did to turn around our team last year and he recruited the above four freshmen who are not being given enough BY attention as defenders. I want to see what they can do on D. You want to win by 30? A good way is to prevent the opponent from getting the ball past half court without a turnover.
 
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This was a very good post that I will take exception just to one part of one comment. With regards to it doesn't matter who starts, as to who gets meaning-full minutes, for Nika I don't think that is true. If Evina plays many minutes at all at PG, or starts there, then Nika becomes a minor player. Instead of the backup point guard she becomes the third string point guard. Paige and Evina are more versatile in terms of playing other positions, Nika less so.

For other players among the top 8, your comment is true. Aubrey and Aaliyah will beat for the starter at PF, but regardless both will get significant minutes, as Aaliyah will also be needed as the backup center. At the wings, if Christyn and Anna start and Evina comes off the bench, Evina will still get backup minutes at both positions, or the same is true for Anna if Evina beats her out at SF.

So even though Evina could play PG and play it effectively, for the team as assembled, Geno's best use of her to give relevance to the top 8 players he seems to have confidence in, would be to concentrate her minutes at SG and SF regardless of whether she starts or comes off the bench.
IMO your post is too authoritative. Not enough data to make so many assertions. Do you have a Bill Belichick borrowed camera or something? Come on, you only make yourself irrelevant by being so assertive.
One of the thrills, besides just watching a UConn WCBB game on Saturday, will be actually seeing with our own eyes what right now for ALL of us is just a figment of our imaginations.
 

psconn

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Five returning starters? I think two of last year's starters are playing in the WNBA.
The "the five returners starting" is what I said, as in the 5 players who were on last year's roster. You turned that into "five returning starters"... creative, but a waste of some good snark. That's ok, its preseason for posters also.
 
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The "the five returners starting" is what I said, as in the 5 players who were on last year's roster. You turned that into "five returning starters"... creative, but a waste of some good snark. That's ok, its preseason for posters also.
Wasn't trying to be snarky, just trying to understand your post. Obviously I misread it. My bad.
 

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