UConn-Holy Cross: in terms of the question marks for this season | The Boneyard

UConn-Holy Cross: in terms of the question marks for this season

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alexrgct

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So, I've been harping a bit on there being nine prominent questions that will dictate how good UConn can be this season. Those questions are (in my personal order of importance):

1. Caroline's health throughout the season
2. Kiah- can she play meaningful minutes at the 4/5?
3. KML- how good, how quickly?
4. Tiff- can she be a conistent player and a senior leader?
5. Stef- how big a sophomore leap?
6. Bria- same question
7. Banks- how ready will she be to contribute at a high level off the bench?
8. Can the Huskies get meaningful contributions from some permutation of Buck/Michala/Lauren?
9. Kelly- will she more consistent on offense?

Well, what do we know after one game against an overmatched opponent? Not as much as we're going to know by 10:00 PM on 11/21, but there are certainly some early indications.

1. Obviously, we're not going to know about Caroline's health throughout the season via any way other than letting the season unfold. However, Bionic Woman though she looks with that heavily braced left leg and ankle, she underscored tonight why this is Question #1 for this UConn team. She is without a shadow of a doubt the leader of this incarnation of the UConn Huskies. She can still make good passes, play D, and hit the three ball. We need her to be able to go. Period.

2. UConn is deep with guards, but not so much at the 4/5. Kiah's progress is something to keep an eye on because Kelly, God love her, is going to be overmatched against elite, bigger PFs. You know what? I felt like Kiah looked the part. She didn't do anything especially awesome, and I fully expect her to be taught some valuable lessons by the Fighting Ogwumikes, but Kiah's big, imposing, strong, and capable. There is a good chance she'll be able to play meaningful minutes against good teams by tourney time. Right now, I'm optimstic.

3. KML- I actually LOVED this game for her. Yes, her shots were just not falling today. However, she a) kept shooting, and b) kept playing with intensity and found other ways to contribute. Those two points are really key and a sign of a young woman whose game is mature beyond her years. And when she does finally hit that first three, watch out- they're going to keep falling. Even on a day where she went 0-7 from behind the arc, you could see how pure her shot is. And she looks terrific. Kudos to her for the hard work she's put in along those lines. She played 28 minutes today and didn't appear to break a sweat.

4. Tiff- Hmm...I'm not sold on this point yet. She missed some bunnies, but overall filled the stat sheet. But Tiff is going to do that against HC; she's far more athletic than anyone HC can put against her. That's not going to be the case against elite competition. In those scenarios, can she be a steady hand and a leader? Totally up in the air right now.

5. Stef- 100% shooting is good. 6-6 is not. Give the big girl the ball! In 2009-10, it didn't matter how outmatched the opponent was- we were dumping the ball into the previous #31 and letting her do her thing. It's not fair to compare Stef to Tina Charles as a senior, but I feel like Stef needs to be the focal point of the offense. Today, she didn't need to be, and perhaps part of the strategy for this game was to get the guard situation more sorted out. Having said that, establishing an identity on offense is critical to the success of the team, and I didn't feel like UConn did that today with Stef only taking six shots.

6. Bria- the light isn't quite on in terms of being a star, but she's going to win some games for UConn by herself on her good days. She's still going to have some bad days, though.

7. Banks- her offensive game needs work, but that girl is ready to be part of the rotation. She's a smooth, lanky, disruptive force on defense. UConn has depth in the backcourt. No doubt about it.

8. Heather/Michala/Lauren- well, apparently Michala and Lauren are still stuck in garbage time, though Michala did a couple of nice things on D today. Buck looked good enough to be part of the rotation, and the reality is that she absolutely has to be. A Stef/Buck or Stef/Kiah lineup has to be viable against the Stanfords, NDs, Baylors, and Tennessees of the world.

9. Kelly- anyone can have a bad shooting night, but to be safe, I'm going with "no" in terms of whether she'll be a more consistent offensive threat this season.

So, there are still a lot of outstanding questions. I kind of expect a loss next Monday (certainly, the performance I saw today would produce one), but I expect it to be a positive loss if it happens. We're going to get exposed a bit on defense and limited on offense unless someone catches fire from three-point range. You play Stanford-caliber teams early to learn your weaknesses, and that's going to happen. The good news is that this team is going to mature and develop an identity, and, if UConn steers clear of the injury bug this season, I think we may just have a viable nine-girl rotation.
 
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So, I've been harping a bit on there being nine prominent questions that will dictate how good UConn can be this season. Those questions are (in my personal order of importance):

I really like this post. I liked the original when you posed the team's areas of concern. I enjoy dispassionate analysis. My comments on your comments are commented below.

1. Caroline's health throughout the season
2. Kiah- can she play meaningful minutes at the 4/5?
3. KML- how good, how quickly?
4. Tiff- can she be a conistent player and a senior leader?
5. Stef- how big a sophomore leap?
6. Bria- same question
7. Banks- how ready will she be to contribute at a high level off the bench?
8. Can the Huskies get meaningful contributions from some permutation of Buck/Michala/Lauren?
9. Kelly- will she more consistent on offense?

Well, what do we know after one game against an overmatched opponent? Not as much as we're going to know by 10:00 PM on 11/21, but there are certainly some early indications.

1. Obviously, we're not going to know about Caroline's health throughout the season via any way other than letting the season unfold. However, Bionic Woman though she looks with that heavily braced left leg and ankle, she underscored tonight why this is Question #1 for this UConn team. She is without a shadow of a doubt the leader of this incarnation of the UConn Huskies. She can still make good passes, play D, and hit the three ball. We need her to be able to go. Period. Yea verily!

2. UConn is deep with guards, but not so much at the 4/5. Kiah's progress is something to keep an eye on because Kelly, God love her, is going to be overmatched against elite, bigger PFs. You know what? I felt like Kiah looked the part. She didn't do anything especially awesome, and I fully expect her to be taught some valuable lessons by the Fighting Ogwumikes, but Kiah's big, imposing, strong, and capable. There is a good chance she'll be able to play meaningful minutes against good teams by tourney time. Right now, I'm optimstic. I too am optimistic. She did not appear lost against Holy Cross. Appeared to have a reasonable understanding of the offense. Yeah, she will be schooled along the way, certainly by the Ogwumikes but by January she will be a postive contributor.
3. KML- I actually LOVED this game for her. Yes, her shots were just not falling today. However, she a) kept shooting, and b) kept playing with intensity and found other ways to contribute. Those two points are really key and a sign of a young woman whose game is mature beyond her years. And when she does finally hit that first three, watch out- they're going to keep falling. Even on a day where she went 0-7 from behind the arc, you could see how pure her shot is. And she looks terrific. Kudos to her for the hard work she's put in along those lines. She played 28 minutes today and didn't appear to break a sweat. She is a very talented frosh, but a frosh nonetheless. She will be streaky good and bad for a while but should become very consistent so enough. She will see significant mintes.

4. Tiff- Hmm...I'm not sold on this point yet. She missed some bunnies, but overall filled the stat sheet. But Tiff is going to do that against HC; she's far more athletic than anyone HC can put against her. That's not going to be the case against elite competition. In those scenarios, can she be a steady hand and a leader? Totally up in the air right now.
I am more optimistic. Although I did not like the weak finishes on several drives. But overall her game was good. You are right. We must see how she does against elite competition, such as Stanford. What stood out was her not going into a funk after missing the layups. She continued to contribute in all areas of her game.

5. Stef- 100% shooting is good. 6-6 is not. Give the big girl the ball! In 2009-10, it didn't matter how outmatched the opponent was- we were dumping the ball into the previous #31 and letting her do her thing. It's not fair to compare Stef to Tina Charles as a senior, but I feel like Stef needs to be the focal point of the offense. Today, she didn't need to be, and perhaps part of the strategy for this game was to get the guard situation more sorted out. Having said that, establishing an identity on offense is critical to the success of the team, and I didn't feel like UConn did that today with Stef only taking six shots.
Geno addressed this in his presser. It did not bother him since he didn't see the point. She was going score every time. He said against better competition she would see the ball a lot. But why not practice running the offense through her against the weaker teams. It may not just turn on against Neka and Chiney.

6. Bria- the light isn't quite on in terms of being a star, but she's going to win some games for UConn by herself on her good days. She's still going to have some bad days, though. Too many TOs, poor passes, and too much dribbling. But she does score and rebound. Just have not seen that big jump in skill and capability that is supposed to happen between the freshman year and the sophomore year.

7. Banks- her offensive game needs work, but that girl is ready to be part of the rotation. She's a smooth, lanky, disruptive force on defense. UConn has depth in the backcourt. No doubt about it. She needs to stop worrying about doing the wrong thing. This will take a month or so. At least I hope only a month.

8. Heather/Michala/Lauren- well, apparently Michala and Lauren are still stuck in garbage time, though Michala did a couple of nice things on D today. Buck looked good enough to be part of the rotation, and the reality is that she absolutely has to be. A Stef/Buck or Stef/Kiah lineup has to be viable against the Stanfords, NDs, Baylors, and Tennessees of the world. In the presser Geno said he and the coaches talked to Heather about just focusing on the things she does best like chasing down rebounds, defense, and 15' jumpers. Simple fact, she cannot score in paint. So don't try. Just get the ball and pass it out. He thought today was a perfect example of doing what she is good at.
9. Kelly- anyone can have a bad shooting night, but to be safe, I'm going with "no" in terms of whether she'll be a more consistent offensive threat this season. I agree. Don't expect points here. She is still the head of the bricklayers union. She played at a low level today. Even Geno commented.

So, there are still a lot of outstanding questions. I kind of expect a loss next Monday (certainly, the performance I saw today would produce one), but I expect it to be a positive loss if it happens. We're going to get exposed a bit on defense and limited on offense unless someone catches fire from three-point range. You play Stanford-caliber teams early to learn your weaknesses, and that's going to happen. The good news is that this team is going to mature and develop an identity, and, if UConn steers clear of the injury bug this season, I think we may just have a viable nine-girl rotation.
Ditto!
 
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Fantastic analysis!

All I can add about Ms Lewis. Shooters just need to keep shooting until the coaching staff suggests otherwise. And that is not likely to happen. Quite often, all it takes is to hit a layup or a short gimme.
 

Zorro

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KML is just as likely to drain five or six in a row. I think her outside shooting is NOT one of Geno's main concerns.
 

MilfordHusky

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KML is just as likely to drain five or six in a row. I think her outside shooting is NOT one of Geno's main concerns.
If Kaleena's shooting were his biggest concern, all of Alex's questions would be moot.

I like Alex's questions. I doubt that the mods would pin them to the top of the board, but I'd ask Alex to repeat them periodically, maybe even every game, so we can see what progress has been made.

I thought #9 was a negative yesterday. I love Kelly, but her entire stat line was down. It seemed like a rare off-day for her, though I did not see the game.

I thought all of the others were at least qualified successes. Whether they were 1-game flukes is another question. I doubt that some of them were.
 

alexrgct

RIP, Alex
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MH, I appreciate the kudos. I think I will periodically update these. Perhaps not every game (for instance, I suspect we're not going to know a ton more after the Pacific game than we know now), but after certain milestone games, such as Stanford, A&M, Baylor, and at various points during conference play. With there being so much youth, I could see a lot of these storylines evolving rapidly!
 
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