Preparing for Penn State

The Connecticut women's basketball team has reached the sweetest spot in the NCAA Tournament for the 19th consecutive time. That's right 19 consecutive appearances in the Sweet 16 for the Huskies.

No. 1 seed UConn will meet No. 4 Penn State Sunday (4:34 p.m., ESPN2) in the Kingston, R.I., Regional. In Storrs Thursday, UConn coach Geno Auriemma and his players met with the local media.

Here is a quotebook, followed by some news regarding honors for three UConn players.

Head Coach Geno Auriemma

On facing Penn State:

"At this time of the year the sixteen teams left are good teams. We're playing the Big Ten regular season champion and they won that for a reason. Their guards are very good. They shoot the ball well. They get to the free throw line and are great free throw shooters. It is going to be a challenge for our guys to get back on defense and match up real quickly. In games where Penn State has gotten off a lot of shots they have been extremely successful. I think we'll be fine scoring but we are going to have to do a good job of limiting their possessions."

On pressing Penn State:

"Some teams if you press them you play the way they want you to play. I think you have to be careful pressing teams that have excellent guards. It doesn't mean that you can't do it, it just means that you have to do it at the right time and the right way."

On Penn State Head Coach Coquese Washington:

"I thought when she [Coquese Washington] got the job it was a great hire by Penn State. They have done a great job since she has arrived. I have been on a bunch of committees with her and she is one of the most impressive young people that I have come across. She has a lot of great things in place and does it at a place like Penn State. It's not just any school. I'm really impressed with the job she has done."

Junior Guard Kelly Faris

On thoughts of winning it all at the start of the season: "You never know what is going to happen throughout a season. You can't sit there at the beginning of the season and say we have this person, this person and this person and we're going to win it. It doesn't work that way. You could play amazing the entire season and get to March and not win. I definitely say you never sit there in the beginning and say you are going to win it all."

On this year being different than previous years:

"I think coach has put a lot of thought and time into this team to see what it is going to take to win the national championship. It hasn't been an easy ride for him this year. Like anything, the more you put into it the more excited you are when something good comes out."

On the ups and downs of the season:

"It has not been an easy season. We have met some ups and downs. We have had to figure out what it will take to get us to the championship. If we get there, then it will be that much more satisfying."

Sophomore Guard Bria Hartley

On this being an exciting time of year:

"I think this is the most exciting part of the year because everything is so competitive. The best teams in the country are trying to win it all. We all go out there and compete as hard as we can."

On being confident:

"I have always had the mentality that if you don't believe in yourself then how can ever do anything. If there is any doubt in anything that you do then it hinders you. I always try to go out and have confidence in everything I am doing. It is something my parents instilled in me since I was young and something that the coaches reinforce."

THREE HONORED BY ECAC

Freshman University of Connecticut women's basketball standout Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, sophomore Bria Hartley and senior Tiffany Hayes have each been honored by the Eastern College Athletic Conference as announced by the ECAC on Thursday. Mosqueda-Lewis was honored as the ECAC Rookie of the Year while Hartley was selected to the First Team and Hayes was named to the Second Team.

Mosqueda-Lewis leads the team at 15.0 points per game and was honored as the 2011-12 BIG EAST Freshman of the Year. The Anaheim Hills, Calif. native established a new UConn record for 3-point field goals made in a season by a freshman and is ranked in the top-20 nationally in 3-point field goal percentage. She was also honored as the BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player after leading the Huskies to their 18th title and is averaging a team-high 18.8 points per game this postseason.

Hartley, a BIG EAST First Team honoree, is third on the team at 13.8 points per game and is second on the squad with 130 assists. The North Babylon, N.Y. native is also second on the squad at 14.2 points per game this postseason. Hartley was recently honored as an All-Region I selection by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and is still in the running for a spot on the State Farm WBCA All-America Team.

Hayes was selected to the All-BIG EAST First Team for the second-straight year and is second on the team at 14.8 points per game. She has been a dynamic player for Connecticut this season, averaging 5.7 rebounds and leading the squad with 77 steals. She is also second in the BIG EAST with a 3-point shooting percentage of .426. Hayes, who is also a WBCA All-Region I pick, has won seven BIG EAST Championships in her time as a Husky.

Quotes and news release provided by UConn Athletics.


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