Revisiting my nine preseason questions post-Baylor | The Boneyard

Revisiting my nine preseason questions post-Baylor

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alexrgct

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So, I figured I’d revisit my nine questions from before the season. A few people, MilfordHusky in particular, found the analysis useful. What’s also interesting to me is how questions I thought were critical either have become less critical or less relevant.

Heading into the season, my nine questions were (in my personal order of importance):

1. Caroline- can she stay healthy?
2. Kiah- can she play meaningful minutes at the four?
3. KML- how good, how soon?
4. Tiff- can she be a consistent senior leader?
5. Stef- how big a sophomore leap?
6. Bria- same question
7. Banks- can she add significant bench depth?
8. Can we get meaningful minutes from at least one of Buck, Michala, and Lauren?
9. Kelly- can she contribute more consistently on offense?

I postulated that UConn could field a championship caliber team if most of these questions were answered positively, but if not, UConn could be in for a rough season by UConn’s lofty standards.

Here’s where I think we are:

Caroline- This remains a TBD throughout the season, but she’s certainly playing and at times playing quite well. I’m not sure what happened yesterday, but she was obviously not effective. However, I continue to believe her presence is critical, but perhaps not the #1 question for the team’s success, as the plurality of the board thought heading into the season.

Kiah- Although this is a negative so far, the combination of Buck’s emergence and, especially, Kelly’s incredible, herculean efforts as an undersized PF, have rendered this less important. The real question was whether we would be exploited by larger frontcourts because Kelly was undersized, and if so, could someone else step up? Well, Kelly is doing the exploiting, so I’m going to say this has been answered positively. So that’s one for UConn, even if it’s not how I thought the question would be addressed.

KML- Really good, right now. This has been answered positively. She’s a slam dunk for league FOY honors, and I feel pretty good about national FOY honors and maybe some AA consideration (like third-team or at least honorable mention). Two for UConn.

Tiff- You know what? She’s been good. Really good. She’s playing with a controlled intensity. She takes charges better than anyone one the team (and yes, that was a charge on Griner last night that Tiff took and paid dearly for). Her shot isn’t always falling, but she’s consistently a serious asset to this team. Good for you, Tiff. That’s three for UConn.

Stef- Now this is a weird one. First of all, I thought UConn would be more of a post-first offense this year, but that hasn’t really come to pass. Secondly, when Stef’s had opportunities, she hasn’t really shown me that she’s better than last season. However, here’s what I will say. One, she is getting better and better at sealing off driving lanes. Secondly, last night notwithstanding, she’s playing pretty good D. Gary Blair praised her, and I thought she was terrific against Stanford too. Third, she’s stepped into a leadership role on the team. That’s not something you see on the court all the time, but that’s a big deal for a young team and for a sophomore. So overall, I’d say there’s both good and bad here, but if Stef’s role as this team develops over the next few years is kind of a goofier Tamika Williams-type leader, that’s a pretty exceptional outcome.

Bria- Now we’re talking. Bria has worked her way into second-team AA consideration if she keeps playing at this level. And she still has so much room to grow. Will she get there? We’ll see, but this is four for UConn so far.

Banks- BB looked very promising at the beginning of the season, but she’s not earned Geno’s trust yet. So this is a TBD. The good news is that UConn doesn’t play Baylor every night, so BB’s going to have the opportunity to play a lot more minutes and show what she can do.

Buck/Michala/Lauren- Heather has arrived. She is what she is, and that should be good enough for everyone. Five for UConn.

Kelly- This is a no. And although I had this rated at the bottom and still do, when Kelly is hitting her shots, damn it’s tough to beat UConn. But it’s just not going to happen for her consistently. Boy does she do everything else at an elite level, though.

So five of nine questions have been answered positively. Two are TBD (Caroline and Banks), one is neutral for now (Stef), and one is negative. Where does that leave us? At worst, the third best team in the country, and if I had a ballot, I’d definitely rank UConn #2. A little push from Caroline, Stef, or Banks could just be enough to get to the next level in April, and if some of the positives get even more positive, that might not even be necessary.

Never enjoy a loss, but this is still going to be a fun season.
 
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If we are talking about the same play that Ms Grinter and Mr. Dickerson disagreed upon, it was clearly a block. It was a block upon first look, and definitley a block on the replay.

What happened yesterday with Caroline is that she was physically overmatched and could not figure out a way to contribute offensively; she was content to pass the ball, cut, and stay out fo the way. Just not a good matchup. She will be fine. Defensively, it is my opinion that the three knee surgeries have severely hindered her first step, thus her ability to close out on shooters. As a righty, one's left foot is the pushoff/takeoff foot. As we all know, it is her left knee that has been operated on three times.

We all hope for the best. Five of nine positives is outstanding and UConn's play is indicative of that; Two of the positives involve Ms Hartley and Ms Mosqueda-Lewis. Cannot go wrong there.
 

MilfordHusky

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Thanks, Alex. I had forgotten about your key points for the last few weeks. This is definitely a good time to revisit them.

Just a few random points:

Caroline has mostly been very good. Not seeing the game last night, I am not sure what to make out of it.

I hope Kiah is close. Geno talks about her huge potential. She apparently needs to raise her intensity and learn a little faster. I hope she is a contributor within another month. Basically the same for Brianna.

Kaleena started the game at 100% of 6 shots or so and finished at 0% on the last 5 or so. She may be a little streaky, but still very, very good and more than a shooter.

Tiff has been mostly very good too. I am not sure if she was one of the top 4 players on the court last night--as she could be--but she needs to keep doing what she's been doing and choosing shots judiciously.

I think Heather is earning PT. Good to see. She does some things very well.

Kelly's scoring is as consistent as I would like. I don't need 10 ppg, but 7 would be nice.

I am puzzled by Stef. The offense is supposed to run through her. Her scoring has been lower than expected, but her percentage is good. Last night was a tough one, for the second game in a row.
 

UConnCat

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Regarding Caroline, figuring out how she is going to be effective against the varying levels of competition will be an ongoing process for the first 1/2 to 3/4 of the season. Last night's game was the most intense and against the quickest and most athletic opponent. She wasn't prepared to make plays and didn't try to force the issue. It's too early to know whether it'll be the same if the teams meet again; she needs more time to figure things out, get her confidence, etc.
 

VAMike23

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RE: Tiff taking charges

I seriously believe that if the other team started Shaq at center, Tiff would be in the lane attempting to draw the charge. She simply Has. NO. Fear.

..........................
shaquille_oneal_01.jpg


It's almost as if she regards her body as property of the Connecticut Women's Basketball program, to be utilized at all times in advancement of program goals.
 
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