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Some thoughts

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#51
Geno will ride the stars, but at least we have them. I said it 2 months ago and got killed on here but I'm more worried about next year when we're down two key cogs. Is Walker going to "get it " next year? Who's replacing Kia? Lou is s 3 and so is Walker. We know most freshman are not ready for big time minutes. Don't worry about this year.
I was thinking the same thing. No Gabby and Nurse. Definitely a good thing for opponents but Geno always comes up with someone to step in
 

the Q

BY Misanthrope
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#53
I was thinking the same thing. No Gabby and Nurse. Definitely a good thing for opponents but Geno always comes up with someone to step in
That’s a lot of defense to lose.

Gabby may be the best female defender on the planet and nurse is solid. She’s not the quickest, but the game plan last night suited her far better than almost any other one imo.
 
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#54
The good news is next year they'll be sophomores.

And one of those spots on the starting 5 will be Z's.
Yeah. Personally I'm not worried about Z. I think she will learn from this year and be fine next year. Then again maybe she'll still think she's a guard next year.. Time will tell.
 
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#55
I was thinking the same thing. No Gabby and Nurse. Definitely a good thing for opponents but Geno always comes up with someone to step in

Yes. It's usually fine. I agree.
Next year if walker is killing it, and Kyla is a 10 and 10 girl and we see wonderful flashes from ONO and CW then I'll gladly say "Hey I was wrong nothing to worry about here".
 
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#56
I know that many Boneyarders are upset with the double digit win last night. And I agree that some things could have gone better. But so many things did go well. As to the drop off in the second half, I heard each player comment on how big a deal it was for CD to get the honor she deserved. Lou even said that she had to refocus after halftime. Not an excuse, but maybe there was a distraction factor at work. Just speculation on my part, and I am sure many things played into the second half action; most notably Louisville playing some tough,physical ball.
 
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#57
It would seem that some are implying Uconn get the less than coachable recruits or those not ready for Div 1 BB! ? Or is it the intimidation factor of playing with 5 of the best in Div one BB? Uconn played against a Frosh of two last night, in the Tx game a few more, SC some frosh were on the floor a long time. But most of Uconn's frosh never left the bench. I don't know the answer but it can't be the search for perfection because those that do get to play --are not yet perfect.
the way it has been explained on numerous occasions by both the Coach and some of our more strident posters.......if you don't practice well, you don't play......obviously there's a whole lot going wrong in practice
 
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#58
I know that many Boneyarders are upset with the double digit win last night. And I agree that some things could have gone better. But so many things did go well. As to the drop off in the second half, I heard each player comment on how big a deal it was for CD to get the honor she deserved. Lou even said that she had to refocus after halftime. Not an excuse, but maybe there was a distraction factor at work. Just speculation on my part, and I am sure many things played into the second half action; most notably Louisville playing some tough,physical ball.
against the best competition, a win is a win is a win.....I sure hope we get to be just as "dissatisfied" after winning the NC by barely double digits....
 
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#62
Yeah. Personally I'm not worried about Z. I think she will learn from this year and be fine next year. Then again maybe she'll still think she's a guard next year.. Time will tell.
Or she just might decide to enter the draft, which is a possibility that no one wants to think about.
 
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#63
When Louisville watched film on UConn, they saw the same things we see. At this time, Gabby does not have a consistent mid-range jumper. That's just the way it is. If anyone would care to differ, I'm listening. :oops:
I agree. And if Nurse can get in the gym and work on her shot , then why can't Gabby !
 

caramel

A potential star is born from the dust over time
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#64
With the exceptions of Maya and Diana, just about every freshman, has struggled or stumbled in their first year, until--------the light comes on in their mind. Some take a little longer than others. In my opinion, come tournament times, Megan will be just fine.Maybe even a little more than fine.
Z will supply offense, and it would not surprise me if coach spot plays her at tournament times just for that offensive spark.
These last few regular season games should say a lot for the rest of the bench, and, if given the green light soon and she gets her rhythm back, our other transfer in may just start to surprise many of us.
 
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#65
Or she just might decide to enter the draft, which is a possibility that no one wants to think about.
That is indeed a possibility. I would add that last time I talked to Geno( 3 weeks ago) he did tell me that he fully expects Z to return, he preceded to tell me that she's not ready for the rigors of the WNBA grind, and the money is not enough to tempt most girls.
I think he had some agreement that if he took her it would be for two years( on court).
 
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#67
Well, I understand what you are driving at. But . . . I am sure you agree that there is a helluva lot more to be satisfied with than just the wins. I mean, you see it all over this board. The fans L-O-V-E watching these remarkable young women play--the athleticism, the beauty, the poetry, the passion. That's what keeps us watching.[/QUOTE

Of course, I pre-digested as usual
The question is: when that beautiful game is absent and/or the team struggles
I suggest that we may win despite being somewhat less than beautiful as per last evening.
 

iamcbs

Buckeye Guest
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#68
Read the entire comment!! "which is why she won't be an impactful player AT THE NEXT LEVEL."
 
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#69
Watching Z playing offense and defense it points out to me what she didn't get in her 2 years at Duke! She was allowed to play HER game no-matter what mistakes she made because she (with her mistakes) was better than anyone Duke had!
Geno and staff are breaking old habits implanted during her freshman & sophomore years under JPM!
They say, "old habits die hard!" It's true as we watch Z play!
As far as Meg is concerned, it's hard to compare yourself to the most talented players in college today, unless you're named Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird, etal! Right now she doesn't see herself comparing to her peers! No confidence!
 
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#70
That is indeed a possibility. I would add that last time I talked to Geno( 3 weeks ago) he did tell me that he fully expects Z to return, he preceded to tell me that she's not ready for the rigors of the WNBA grind, and the money is not enough to tempt most girls.
I think he had some agreement that if he took her it would be for two years( on court).
We never heard anything official from the coach's office about the terms of her being accepted into the program, but I always thought she had to agree to stay for two years. It didn't make any sense for her to come to UConn for only one year. Stevens coming to UConn for two years is a win win for everyone.
 
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#71
Azura had 8pts 4rb in 17 minutes. Napheesa had 14pts 6rb in 36 minutes. Z will be fine. On offense as others have noted Gabby needs to look for her foul line jumper. The played off her basically most of the game. Gabby did not even look to shoot the ball. When she plays against the taller post in the tournament. They are going to give her that shot because driving to the basket is her strength. Make her hit 4 or 5 at least instead of letting her drive to the basket for a layup. Also Azura and Napheesa need to look for the 10-15 foot jumper more instead of always trying to take it to the rim. You can do it against AAC teams but not Top 5. Hitting those jumpers opens up the lane for penetration.
An addendum to your points, it is critical that Z and Napheesa hit all of their bunnies. Collier has a tendency to miss bunnies in big games that she makes normally. We're talking 10-12 additional points if they are all made. Collier is usually money in the bank with the ball in the paint or on the block. Z must improve her proficiency when putting up shots in the paint. If they can do this, I'm happy.
 
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#72
As we close out the regular season and prepare for tournament play, I'm not going to lament at this point what might or might not be. I'm going to enjoy the post-season one game at a time, and hope that whatever we get from Z and Megan is enough. They are going to be the bench Geno will use going forward. I'm hoping that Geno and company will take it one game at a time, and figure out how to do whatever they need to do to win. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.
 
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#73
As we close out the regular season and prepare for tournament play, I'm not going to lament at this point what might or might not be. I'm going to enjoy the post-season one game at a time, and hope that whatever we get from Z and Megan is enough. They are going to be the bench Geno will use going forward. I'm hoping that Geno and company will take it one game at a time, and figure out how to do whatever they need to do to win. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.
Why are all posters down on Z and Megan ? I believe that next year Z will become an all-American just needs to tighten up defensive fouling- Megan will be a super star and All American by her 3rd & 4th year. You heard it here. Ps. She is not playing afraid any more
 
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#74
Why are all posters down on Z and Megan ? I believe that next year Z will become an all-American just needs to tighten up defensive fouling- Megan will be a super star and All American by her 3rd & 4th year. You heard it here. Ps. She is not playing afraid any more
My perception of why some posters are disappointed with Megan and Azura is because of their disappointment to date, based on the "media hype" that preceded their arrival. When the news broke of Stevens transferring to UConn, the BY was ecstatic. When the news broke that Megan Walker committed, UConn fans began having visions and expectations that were based on a heightened sense of speculation based on all the great things she did in high school. They assumed that Z would bring her 18.6 points a game with her, and that Megan would do the same. They also assumed Z would come in game ready since she already had two years of full-time duty and experience under her belt. When it didn't materialize, they were disappointed.

It's a huge jump from high school to college. Since other freshmen have come in and made that adjustment quickly at other programs (Evina Westbrook at Tenn and Chennedy Carter at Texas A&M), many here are wondering why Megan hasn't. The difference is that those other freshmen aren't playing for Geno, Megan is. His expectations are far different from those of most other coaches. We all know what those are. Geno has said time and time again, freshmen do not come to UConn and "get it" that first year. Perhaps with Megan, it's suppose to be different.

Many feel that with Megan's skill set and basketball IQ, she should have made that sophomore leap by now, she hasn't. When you're viewed as the best high school player in the country, in most programs, you're expected to come in and play almost right away. Not at UConn. Megan has shown flashes of good basketball instincts and ability on several occasions. Unfortunately, she has not been able to do so on a consistent basis......yet. There 4 games left. There's still time. Everyone (including Geno) is getting impatient, especially because of the team's dire need for help from their reserves. Megan and Azura are perceived by most to be the two most capable and potentially consistent/dependable bench players they have right now.

It was perceived that the skill set that served Azure at Duke, would serve her at UConn. Periodic reports were coming from the team's practices last year that said Stevens was tearing it up. That no one could handle her, and that she was doing whatever she wanted to without restraint. The fans heard that and began formulating visions and expectations for this year.

She could not (upon her arrival) play defense to Geno's satisfaction (she's still a work in progress there). She was seldom asked or expected to play in the paint on either end of the court at Duke. Elizabeth Williams was handling all of the post player duties for the Blue Devils at that time. It's a different ballgame in Storrs. Her height is desperately needed in the paint on BOTH ends of the court. Now she's being asked to do things she's not use to doing.

We all assumed that she could make whatever adjustments that were deemed necessary last year, as she was allowed to practice with the team the entire season. She's been in the program now for approx 20 months (since June of 2016). Even the casual observer would think that would be more than enough time to adjust her game to UConn's style of play.

Bottom line, they (fans) don't think she's playing at the level that a 6'6" fourth year player should be playing at. She still finds herself out of position at times on defense, and continues to foul a lot. Recently (I believe it was the Wichita State game), she picked up 3 fouls in 3 minutes. Not the kind of play you expect from your 6th man. I think if she were playing and producing numbers similar to that of A'ja Wilson, they would be happy. Others may not agree with my take, but that's how I see it.
 
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#75
Tonite exposed why we need our non starters to hurry up and get developed. Its a little late in the season but there is still time. We came out like a house on fire. I thought we let up especially in the 4th qtr. Then seemed to run out of gas. Kia playing defense didnt really allow her to shoot the ball. CD looked a little slow from the lay off trying to heal her injuries. Gabby Phessa and Lou were very good.

We came out on fire and up 20 at the half. We looked tired, we slowed down. We didnt look as energized or crisp as did did in the first half. UConn needs some help from Z and MW. IMO they should be at another level this late in the season. A level of take charge and a level of Making It Happen. They have their moments and when they do theyre really good. Tonite that wasnt there.

UConn did not shoot the ball as good as they can tonite. IMO CD hurt and all that time off, and Kia was focused on Durr. Hey we didnt play on all cylinders and the game was never in question. So we look forward to the rest of the season. CD needs to get healthy. I expect her to see less playing time then usual. We need her for the post season. I also expect to see Z and MW get alot of play time and alot of attention from the coaching staff to get them ready for the post season. If theyre not ready I dont expect to see them get alot of time in big games. I expected a we would win by alot more. We played the second half to stay out of foul trouble because we didnt have a bench we were confident in, in this game.

It will be interesting to see what what happens over the next 4 games, and the AAC tourney. We need non starters to step up and be counted on.
I have not posted since the beginning of the Season (duty calls Down Under), so I am going to use my take on the UCONN/Louisville game to comment on a few things. These are my opinions based on the replays that I have finally have time to watch. And in genuine Boneyard tradition, I expect to be pilloried and turned into a pulp…anything else will be sorely disappointing…lol!

Game

· Awesome game! Starters tired out late in the game from extreme exertion in the first 2 periods. Also, much slower pace, and stagnate offense in last 2 periods (probably due to coaching decision imo). Overall, good strategy on Geno’s part to shorten game (thus limiting # of Louisville’s possessions). Also, from my layman watching of the game, another probable reason for the offensive stagnation in the 2nd half was because Louisville closely guarded Lou and sagged considerably off of Gabby in the high post to double the low post (Pheesa or Z), and Gabby’s reluctance or inability to hit an open 10-15 footer affected the offensive flow.

· Louisville – Impressed with them, especially in the 2nd half! They are NOT a fluke! At least one genuine shot creator/scorer (Asia Durr) and one inside banger, albeit undersized (Hines-Allen). Those two plus a non-awestruck (UCONN usually has that effect on players) supporting cast will make some noise in the tournament. Their no. 4 ranking is genuine, imho.


UCONN players

· LOUCONN (aka Katie Lou Samuelson) – the primary offensive weapon (primary beneficiary of the offensive sets), and she did/does not disappoint! She has grown into her own this year.…her game continues to improve every year (mainly offense, but also defense, at least within the UCONN system). What I especially like is that she embraces her role and WANTS to be that alpha! She is no shrinking violet! She’s more grits than the SoCal beachy reputation would have you believe (for Christ sake, how many bruises can one head take!). She is improving her game, outside of her comfort zone (post ups, dribble drives, continuous movements, you name it!) For me, that is the mark of a potentially great player….. staying ahead of the competition, as teams find ways to guard you, show them other ways to score.

· Napheesa – Very similar to Lou in terms of continuous improvement. Unlike some here, I believe that she played well against Louisville, and has played well for the most part this year – clearly another beneficiary of UCONN’s offensive sets. Continues to expand the tools in her toolkit. Her game has evolved significantly from last year (due to Z and to some extent her desire to add other skill sets). Numbers a little down, but imo, nothing to be concerned about. I believe that she is now playing more as she would in the Pros (a genuine 3 – too undersized for a 4 in the WNBA obviously-more mid- to three-point range shots, dribble and pop, own-shot creator type player-still a little raw but hopefully next year results of the reps will be evident).

· Crystal – an impressive sophomore jump that completely caught me, and probably others by surprise. Most impressed with her defense (almost MoJeff like- quick lateral movement, quick hands) and her 3-point shooting (beyond even WNBA range-which is critical for her size at the next level). Crystal definitely put her last Summer break to good use.

· Gabby – what can one say-most athletic on the court in any women’s college game, tons of intangibles and completely selfless. But IMO, she has underwhelmed this year and has not really added much to her game from last year (in fact, she may have probably regressed-maybe due to the reported hip problem?). Don’t get me wrong, I love Gabby and want her to succeed very much at the next level, but she has not improved on the one thing that her game lacked consistently last year- a genuine, consistent mid-range shot. Her game today, just like two years ago, is mainly hustle play, and obviously passing and setting others up. Those are good, but at the next level, she may not be in a system whereby she plays at the top of the key with the ball in her hands a lot (Pro sets are mostly pick-and-rolls and isolations with individual shot creations under duress). Also, she will definitely not play in the post in the WNBA (can’t imagine her guarding Big Syl/Griner/Liz Cambage in the post, or Candace/Stewie/EDD at the 4 position-she will be eaten alive-the size and strength differential will overwhelm any athletic advantage!). I am not sure if it is the coaching staff or just her lack of interest in working on it, but she needs to diversify her game by having a consistent outside shot to succeed at the next level. For example, in the 2nd half of the Louisville game, Gabby’s defender continuously sagged off her and essentially doubled the post player (Z or Pheesa), literally daring her to shoot the 10-15 footer. If she is reluctant or incapable of making that shot at a respectable click in college, what will she do in the Pros?

· Kia – Similar to Gabby’s (lots of intangibles, hard worker, tenacious defender), but has one major advantage over Gabby – a genuine three-point shot. While she may not be a great individual shot creator, she defends well and can make shots when left unattended. I actually think that she has the potential for a more lasting pro career compare to Gabby if things stay as they are currently. Just my opinion!

· Azura- Overall, impress with her production. Yes, her defense still needs improvement (she undervalues her length by flailing unnecessarily to block shots leading to foul calls, genuine or not), but it will come with repetition with the rest of the squad. Remember, she is learning new ways (like playing in the post), while trying to break old habits honed over many years (wandering outside, shunning contact, etc.). I know many have said that she (along with Batouly currently, and Natalie previously) should have gotten the UCOON system in their first year of eligibility, considering that they were with the team for a whole year after they transfer. My opinion is that being with the team and practicing with the first team (where the coaches’ attention and energy are focused) are two different things. Geno, (I believe in one of his shows-forgotten which one exactly) indicated that for the most part, his attention is usually on the team (the guys that are going to be playing) during extensive game prep practices (my paraphrasing). And while individual players (especially ineligible ones) may get occasional one on one time with some of the coaches, those are usually individual workouts and are few and far in between. So, while Z may have played with the Practice guys against the UCONN starting squad last year, she probably did not play with them within the UCONN scheme as much. So, this is probably the first year that she is really playing with the UCONN first unit.

· Others – Not much to say for now except that Megan, while not lighting up the place, is doing the most she can with the limited opportunities given to her so far (ND and UCLA games are two good examples). To those who say she needs to earn playing time in practice by execution and playing defense, I will only say that she is a freshman (albeit late in the season) and is still learning the system. If playing mistake free defense was the only means to earning playing time, then Lou would never have played a single minute in her freshman year (she was horrible defensively, and she basically stood in the corner and just chuck threes- with not a very good percentage to add…). Yet she replaced Gabby in the starting lineup when Gabby was clearly the better defender and productive player (remember the starting 5 that dismantled Ohio State in the first game of 2016-Mo, Kia, Gabby, Morgan and Stewie!). But by playing Lou with Mo, Kia, Morgan and Stewie in her freshman year (when she clearly could not carry her weight defensively), Geno built her confidence and allowed the other players to help her develop during real game actions. Her confidence was boosted and by the end of the season she improved dramatically. My point is that there is a fine line between motivation and de-motivation, and that sometimes, a carrot is better than a stick in getting desire results. I am not saying that Megan becomes a starter, all I am saying is that it would be good if she gets more minutes with the starters during real game time actions to help her development as was done with Lou in her freshman year.
 
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