Pick one of theses nine options to be true in 2011-12 | The Boneyard

Pick one of theses nine options to be true in 2011-12

Pick one of the below options to be true:

  • Caroline Doty is healthy throughout the season

    Votes: 13 25.5%
  • KML proves to be a lights out shooter as a freshman

    Votes: 10 19.6%
  • Kelly Farris becomes a more consistent offensive threat

    Votes: 7 13.7%
  • Bria Hartley makes a sophomore leap

    Votes: 3 5.9%
  • Stef Dolson makes a sophomore leap

    Votes: 8 15.7%
  • Tiff Hayes provides significant leadership and production

    Votes: 2 3.9%
  • Kiah Stokes can play starter's minutes at the 4

    Votes: 1 2.0%
  • Brianna Banks is a lockdown defender

    Votes: 3 5.9%
  • At least one of Lauren, Michala, or Heather is able to make significant contributions

    Votes: 4 7.8%

  • Total voters
    51
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alexrgct

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As the season approaches, this UConn team has more questions to answer than recent incarnations of the Huskies have had. If these questions are answered positively, UConn will be a legit national title contender. If more of these questions are answered to the negative, UConn could be in for a long season by the program's lofty standards.

I have picked nine options for the poll. All of these options are things everyone hopes will prove to be true in 2011-12, but there's no guarantee with any of them.

My challenge: pick one. The one you pick is guaranteed to be true, whereas the others continue to be question marks.

Which of the items, if true, would give you the greatest confidence heading into this season?

Discussion/explanation of answers is welcome and encouraged!
 

MilfordHusky

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I think there is no wrong answer. I could make a case for almost all of these.

I chose KML, re-interpreting it as "KML is an impact player as a frosh in the same vein as Maya." I am voting 4 years after Maya established--or at least reconfirmed--that a frosh can be one of the best players around. She got us to the next level.

KML could be really, really good, as in unanimous All-BE this year. We lost a 22 ppg scorer. Obviously, that loss will be filled by multiple players, but if Kaleena can establish herself as a superior shooter and scorer and fill over half that gap, that makes it easier for everyone else. UConn wins often because we shoot a high percentage. Kaleena will shoot a very high percentage for a wing.
 

DieHardHusky

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The one would give me the greatest confidence heading into this season by far and away would knowing that Caroline Doty will/would be healthy for an entire season. She would make a huge difference not only with her shooting, but being able to defend around the perimeter as well. Whenever 3s are needed I know I can count on CD to come through.
I would absolutely love for some of the other potential answers to come true as well, including Stef+Bria making the leaps, and KML being lights out, but I feel that CD being healthy for an entire season would/will be astronomical for our team's success this season.
 
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Let's look a little in depth at each of the nine options:
1. We all hope and pray, for the team and more importantly for the individual, that CD has a totally healthy year - I think her play and her drive and her leadership will be a joy to watch.
2. This, KLM continues as a top gun, is I believe the indisputable option. She is a proven shooter - more importantly a scorer - from outside and inside - both long and short - and the level of play for her isn't going to be significantly different (especially since double teaming won't be as prevalent). She'll get her shots within the team framework and will be a joy to watch.
3. Going only on what I've read, Kelly Faris went into the summer knowing she needed to be consistent as a scoring threat to keep defenses honest - her proven defensive skills would not be enough to help the team and give us all the options needed to force individual coverage of our entire five. I think she has worked at this and, given her positive attitude and focus, will be a joy to watch this year.
4. It's going to be difficult to truly measure Bria Hartley's leap - she's going to be spending more time off the ball and I think her scoring will go up while two "point guard" types on the court all the time (see Brianna Banks below as well) will make our offensive guard play a joy to watch.
5. Stef Dolson will leap, literally and figuratively, this year although it may not show in personal numbers. Her developed "smarts" in keeping out of foul trouble and working under and up top along with a cast that isn't looking toward any one player as the "go to" should put her in position to dominate inside, physically overpower opposing inside players, and make our rebounding and inside/out play a joy to watch.
6. Think Tiffany is going to have a higher comfort leval and more confidence within the team structure this year, thus being more consistent and productive. On leadership, she's the senior but she isn't the only leader on the floor - here, significant is the key word.
7. Kiah Stokes may or may not start but, with her defensive skills working in tandem with Stef, I see lot's of breakouts and a real fast tempo offense. This team has the players and the skill sets to be a joy to watch on both fast breaks and in a half court game - as well as a tough defense against the inside shooters.
8. Brianna Banks is going to change games when she comes in - especially since the starters will have already pushed their opponents - Her quickness - hands and feet - will extend defensive pressure and force bad passes and bad shots. Just as we've done in past years with a speedy "pusher", defenses will be on their heels - a joy to watch.
9. Here, again, we have to define "significant". None of the three are going to push starters - but what would be a joy to have is 12 to 15 minutes of strong continuation play from one-two-three to again keep the level of play pushing the opposition. I think we are going to get this type of contribution although I can't speak to one-two-three (each has her own reasons underlying the question itself - familiarity and ability to play at a high level within their role, physical limitations or comparative strength, mental blocks diminishing practice skills).
 

JoePgh

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I think of all these hopes, only #1 is absolutely critical to UConn's chances for a national championship. In my opinion, it doesn't happen without Caroline playing at least 25 minutes in all competitive games. It's also the only one of the nine that depends entirely on Providence (and I don't mean the one in Rhode Island), whereas the others are largely influenced by the work and increasing maturity of the individuals involved.

Of the remaining eight, I think the most likely and most significant is for Kelly to become a reasonable scoring threat. For one thing, by all accounts she has really worked at it. For another thing, she will hopefully have Caroline passing to her, as well as a more mature Bria. Third, she can score a reasonable number of points on putbacks, fast-break layups, backdoor plays, etc., rather than have to rely on her jump shot. If defenses have to worry about 3-point threats from KML, Bria, Caroline, and Tiffany, while guarding Stef in the post (probably with 2 defenders when she has the ball), Kelly will have many opportunities for short jumpers. She can "rise and fire" almost as fast as Maya, though without the accuracy or the range.

I think she will average around 12-13 points per 40 minutes played, and I think she will average about 30 minutes a game -- so maybe a scoring average around 9 is realistic. She will probably score more than 25 in at least one game (maybe 2), and 2-4 points in several games while she fills up the stat sheet in other ways.

Another thread mentioned the chemistry between Caroline and Tiffany. I'm interested in what chemistry develops between Caroline and Kelly, since they each see the floor well, can handle the ball and pass, and can penetrate and dish. They may generate more highlight-reel plays than any other pair on this particular team.
 
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All of these would be great to have. I think Dolson is the easiest to achieve, because she was so good by the end of the season and has only gotten leaner and smarter. This one is more likely than not.

I've got my fingers crossed for Caroline, because it probbly does mean the most to the team, especially in terms of leadership of the freshmen. But this is also he most fragile of them all, and could be taken from her and the team at any time. I agree with those who say that Caroline may be the key to Tiffany.

As much as I admire Kelly faris's game, I am not among those who see her as a breakout scorer. If she gets there, so much the better, but she is hugely valuable even the way she is.

KML is a freshman. As such, I'll believe it when I see it, even though she really looks like the real deal.
 

alexrgct

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My thoughts:

1. I think Caroline being healthy is Priority #1. It's clear that this is her team, even if there are more talented players on the squad, and without her leadership and floor generalship, UConn will struggle at times against good teams.

2. Kiah Stokes's development would be my #2 concern, and that should scare people just a little bit. She won't start, but we will need size at the 4 against bigger frontcourts. I suspect Geno will have a baseline starting five of CD, Bria, Tiff, Kelly, and Stef (pending the development of KML), but Kelly, good as she is, will have difficulty against larger PFs.

3. KML being the lights out shooter she was in high school is a really big deal. She will have a lot of open opportunities. She needs to make them. Remember when UConn pretty much beat the snot out of Notre Dame the second time the teams met? A lot of that had to do with Bria being nails from the outside. KML is going to be open all day from the perimeter. If she makes teams pay, it will open up the rest of the offense because opponents wouldn't be able to clog the lane/post area.

4. Stef Dolson, Stef Dolson, Stef Dolson. I think she has to be the leading scorer. She's 6'5" with a broad build and against anyone not named Brittney Griner (and maybe Kelsey Bone, but I'll believe it when I see it), she has a significant advantage. If UConn isn't exploiting that advantage, we're taking lower percentage shots. If Stef makes a leap, watch out- this team will be really tough to beat.

5. If you tell me that Tiff can be a strong leader on this team and put up consistent (and effecient) numbers against good teams, I will be a lot less worried about Caroline's health.

6. Bria will be a star when all is said and done, and she has not historically shied from the moment. If she becomes someone you can rely on in tight games, UConn suddenly has too damn many weapons. I don't know if the light comes on fully for her this year or next, but when it does, this team becomes incredibly difficult to beat.

7. Brianna Banks being someone you can sick on opponents off the bench would be a huge luxury. UConn doesn't have the brilliance of Maya Moore this year, so being able to utilize depth will be key. If the light isn't on for BB, we don't have as much depth as we think we do. If it's there, UConn will wear opponents out. Notre Dame doesn't have the depth, and neither does A&M. Time will tell about Stanford and Baylor. Even Tennessee's a bit light in key positions such as PG). UConn has potential to have more depth than any team in the country in the best-case scenario.

8. Again on the depth front, man would it be nice to have at least one of Michala or Heather able to play minutes in the frontcourt. Lauren is not as critical because depth at the guard/wing spots is solid, but what happens if Stef gets in foul trouble against a team with a big frontcourt? I want to be able to have Kiah and Heather or Heather and Michala play for stretches in a pinch. And I generally like Lauren and root for her to contribute.

9. It feels weird to have Kelly at the bottom of this list, but honestly, if the above points were true, Kelly's scoring would be a luxury. I definitely would like her to be more confident and consistent when it comes to taking and making open shots, especially from midrange.

It is tempting to think about what happens if most of these items come up positive. A lot of Geno's best teams really haven't been that deep, but a team that can put 9-10 kids out on the floor is one that can withstand injuries, tire out opponents, be versatile with matchups, and generally be aggressive and push pace on offense and defense. Tough to beat, fun to watch.
 
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I think of all these hopes, only #1 is absolutely critical to UConn's chances for a national championship. In my opinion, it doesn't happen without Caroline playing at least 25 minutes in all competitive games. It's also the only one of the nine that depends entirely on Providence (and I don't mean the one in Rhode Island), whereas the others are largely influenced by the work and increasing maturity of the individuals involved.

Of the remaining eight, I think the most likely and most significant is for Kelly to become a reasonable scoring threat. For one thing, by all accounts she has really worked at it. For another thing, she will hopefully have Caroline passing to her, as well as a more mature Bria. Third, she can score a reasonable number of points on putbacks, fast-break layups, backdoor plays, etc., rather than have to rely on her jump shot. If defenses have to worry about 3-point threats from KML, Bria, Caroline, and Tiffany, while guarding Stef in the post (probably with 2 defenders when she has the ball), Kelly will have many opportunities for short jumpers. She can "rise and fire" almost as fast as Maya, though without the accuracy or the range.

I think she will average around 12-13 points per 40 minutes played, and I think she will average about 30 minutes a game -- so maybe a scoring average around 9 is realistic. She will probably score more than 25 in at least one game (maybe 2), and 2-4 points in several games while she fills up the stat sheet in other ways.

Another thread mentioned the chemistry between Caroline and Tiffany. I'm interested in what chemistry develops between Caroline and Kelly, since they each see the floor well, can handle the ball and pass, and can penetrate and dish. They may generate more highlight-reel plays than any other pair on this particular team.

I sincerely hope that your expectations for Caroline and Kelly materialize.

But, my gut leads me to expect a different outcome.

BB will probably be the most significant surprise, contributions wise, on this years team.

By the time we reach the BE tournament, I expect that the starting five will be Bria @ point, Tiffany @ the 2 spot, KML @ the 3 spot, Kelly @ the 4 spot and Stef @ the 5 spot.

If healthy, Caroline will come off the bench @ the 1/2 spots.

These are, of course, just my opinions.

Peace,
John Fryer
 

UConnCat

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My thoughts:

6. Bria will be a star when all is said and done, and she has not historically shied from the moment. If she becomes someone you can rely on in tight games, UConn suddenly has too damn many weapons. I don't know if the light comes on fully for her this year or next, but when it does, this team becomes incredibly difficult to beat.

Yes. The only time Bria shied away from the big moment last season was in the loss to ND in the F4. That hurt, but it was a lot to expect of a freshman. It won't happen again. Bria is this team's next superstar. Geno said it before she stepped foot on campus and she showed glimpses of her willingness and ability to hit big shots at various points throughout the season. UConn does not beat G'town in the Sweet 16 without huge shots from Bria. She'll remember the ND loss.
 

speedoo

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Yes. The only time Bria shied away from the big moment last season was in the loss to ND in the F4. That hurt, but it was a lot to expect of a freshman. It won't happen again. Bria is this team's next superstar. Geno said it before she stepped foot on campus and she showed glimpses of her willingness and ability to hit big shots at various points throughout the season. UConn does not beat G'town in the Sweet 16 without huge shots from Bria. She'll remember the ND loss.
If you're right (and I am not prone to ever disagree with you) then by the time she's a senior, she might be one of THREE superstars, along with KML and Breanna.

The possibilities are fun to think about.
 

EricLA

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the thing about it is that if ONLY one of the 9 comes true while the rest do not, UCONN won't even be a top 10 team by the end of the year. i mean, right now, having CD healthy leads the poll. but if that happens and...

Bria and Stef show no improvement from last year, KML is not a good shooter, Faris lacks offensive pop, Stokes is unable to play at a starters level, Tiff provides no leadership, Banks proves an ineffective defender, and Johnson, Engeln, and Buck all remain firmly stuck on the bench, i don't see how UCONN has a "successful" season.

so having said that, i can see ranking the importance of each item. clearly there are question marks, but clearly most of the items need to be "true" this year in order for UCONN to succeed at the highest level.
 

MilfordHusky

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My thoughts:

1. I think Caroline being healthy is Priority #1. It's clear that this is her team, even if there are more talented players on the squad, and without her leadership and floor generalship, UConn will struggle at times against good teams.

2. Kiah Stokes's development would be my #2 concern, and that should scare people just a little bit. She won't start, but we will need size at the 4 against bigger frontcourts. I suspect Geno will have a baseline starting five of CD, Bria, Tiff, Kelly, and Stef (pending the development of KML), but Kelly, good as she is, will have difficulty against larger PFs.

3. KML being the lights out shooter she was in high school is a really big deal. She will have a lot of open opportunities. She needs to make them. Remember when UConn pretty much beat the snot out of Notre Dame the second time the teams met? A lot of that had to do with Bria being nails from the outside. KML is going to be open all day from the perimeter. If she makes teams pay, it will open up the rest of the offense because opponents wouldn't be able to clog the lane/post area.

4. Stef Dolson, Stef Dolson, Stef Dolson. I think she has to be the leading scorer. She's 6'5" with a broad build and against anyone not named Brittney Griner (and maybe Kelsey Bone, but I'll believe it when I see it), she has a significant advantage. If UConn isn't exploiting that advantage, we're taking lower percentage shots. If Stef makes a leap, watch out- this team will be really tough to beat.

5. If you tell me that Tiff can be a strong leader on this team and put up consistent (and effecient) numbers against good teams, I will be a lot less worried about Caroline's health.

6. Bria will be a star when all is said and done, and she has not historically shied from the moment. If she becomes someone you can rely on in tight games, UConn suddenly has too damn many weapons. I don't know if the light comes on fully for her this year or next, but when it does, this team becomes incredibly difficult to beat.

7. Brianna Banks being someone you can sick on opponents off the bench would be a huge luxury. UConn doesn't have the brilliance of Maya Moore this year, so being able to utilize depth will be key. If the light isn't on for BB, we don't have as much depth as we think we do. If it's there, UConn will wear opponents out. Notre Dame doesn't have the depth, and neither does A&M. Time will tell about Stanford and Baylor. Even Tennessee's a bit light in key positions such as PG). UConn has potential to have more depth than any team in the country in the best-case scenario.

8. Again on the depth front, man would it be nice to have at least one of Michala or Heather able to play minutes in the frontcourt. Lauren is not as critical because depth at the guard/wing spots is solid, but what happens if Stef gets in foul trouble against a team with a big frontcourt? I want to be able to have Kiah and Heather or Heather and Michala play for stretches in a pinch. And I generally like Lauren and root for her to contribute.

9. It feels weird to have Kelly at the bottom of this list, but honestly, if the above points were true, Kelly's scoring would be a luxury. I definitely would like her to be more confident and consistent when it comes to taking and making open shots, especially from midrange.

It is tempting to think about what happens if most of these items come up positive. A lot of Geno's best teams really haven't been that deep, but a team that can put 9-10 kids out on the floor is one that can withstand injuries, tire out opponents, be versatile with matchups, and generally be aggressive and push pace on offense and defense. Tough to beat, fun to watch.
Just a few points:

I totally agree about exploiting the advantage that Stef has. Her sophomore season could be as good as Tina's.

Bria is a confident player who was very good as a frosh. Now she is stronger, much more experienced, and has a better arc on her shot. Look out!

Taking the Brianna point to an extreme ... She plays with an edge and has superior athleticism. Suppose she absolutely neutralizes top players like Diggins, Syms, and Schimmel. If she can do that, we win those games.
 

bruinbball

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My thoughts:

1. I think Caroline being healthy is Priority #1. It's clear that this is her team, even if there are more talented players on the squad, and without her leadership and floor generalship, UConn will struggle at times against good teams.

2. Kiah Stokes's development would be my #2 concern, and that should scare people just a little bit. She won't start, but we will need size at the 4 against bigger frontcourts. I suspect Geno will have a baseline starting five of CD, Bria, Tiff, Kelly, and Stef (pending the development of KML), but Kelly, good as she is, will have difficulty against larger PFs.

3. KML being the lights out shooter she was in high school is a really big deal. She will have a lot of open opportunities. She needs to make them. Remember when UConn pretty much beat the snot out of Notre Dame the second time the teams met? A lot of that had to do with Bria being nails from the outside. KML is going to be open all day from the perimeter. If she makes teams pay, it will open up the rest of the offense because opponents wouldn't be able to clog the lane/post area.

4. Stef Dolson, Stef Dolson, Stef Dolson. I think she has to be the leading scorer. She's 6'5" with a broad build and against anyone not named Brittney Griner (and maybe Kelsey Bone, but I'll believe it when I see it), she has a significant advantage. If UConn isn't exploiting that advantage, we're taking lower percentage shots. If Stef makes a leap, watch out- this team will be really tough to beat.

5. If you tell me that Tiff can be a strong leader on this team and put up consistent (and effecient) numbers against good teams, I will be a lot less worried about Caroline's health.

6. Bria will be a star when all is said and done, and she has not historically shied from the moment. If she becomes someone you can rely on in tight games, UConn suddenly has too damn many weapons. I don't know if the light comes on fully for her this year or next, but when it does, this team becomes incredibly difficult to beat.

7. Brianna Banks being someone you can sick on opponents off the bench would be a huge luxury. UConn doesn't have the brilliance of Maya Moore this year, so being able to utilize depth will be key. If the light isn't on for BB, we don't have as much depth as we think we do. If it's there, UConn will wear opponents out. Notre Dame doesn't have the depth, and neither does A&M. Time will tell about Stanford and Baylor. Even Tennessee's a bit light in key positions such as PG). UConn has potential to have more depth than any team in the country in the best-case scenario.

8. Again on the depth front, man would it be nice to have at least one of Michala or Heather able to play minutes in the frontcourt. Lauren is not as critical because depth at the guard/wing spots is solid, but what happens if Stef gets in foul trouble against a team with a big frontcourt? I want to be able to have Kiah and Heather or Heather and Michala play for stretches in a pinch. And I generally like Lauren and root for her to contribute.

9. It feels weird to have Kelly at the bottom of this list, but honestly, if the above points were true, Kelly's scoring would be a luxury. I definitely would like her to be more confident and consistent when it comes to taking and making open shots, especially from midrange.

It is tempting to think about what happens if most of these items come up positive. A lot of Geno's best teams really haven't been that deep, but a team that can put 9-10 kids out on the floor is one that can withstand injuries, tire out opponents, be versatile with matchups, and generally be aggressive and push pace on offense and defense. Tough to beat, fun to watch.

First of all, let me say I voted Caroline. I want a healthy team.

Alex, I agree with much of your post. The one thing to remember is that is UConn is successful with the 4 + 1 concept and Kelly has to play larger forwards, they will still have to run with Kelly to the other end. Trying to run with Doty, Hayes, Hartley, Faris and Stef is really a tough task for any opponent. Kelly's position defenisvely will play a large role in her success, but even good position against a larger scoring threat doesn't always lead to success. Her ability to rebound, outlet and/or push the break will be a huge asset.

Per Kelly's own words she has worked on her shot and is really focusing on becoming more vocal - which I think she is the best person besides Caroline to take the reins and guide them team in the right direction. I don't care is Kelly only scores 8 points per game again this year, the focus is about one thing - winning the Championship. I would love to see her hitting more consistently and believe she will, but with other legitimate scorers on the floor, I only want to see taking her shot when it's available. - even if it's only 3-4 attempts per game.
 
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