UConn women's scrimmage report

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the Pavilion...okay it didn't happen on the way and it wasn't that funny. What did happen is I caught some exciting hoops action by the Husky women. I had planned to watch the men scrimmage, hoping to catch a glimpse of some potential future Huskies that arrived for their official visit, but I was too late.

Now since I'm not as familiar with the women's team I will start out with the players that I have a high probability identifying correctly.

It was nice to see some familiar faces. Maria Conlon and Jessica Moore were back mixing it up with the current players. Maria was her usual steady and heady self as she led her team to a win or two. Jessica was a force in the paint and was very impressive putting the ball on the floor and driving the lane. Shamefully I must admit, I was thinking how tough we'd be with her in the middle when someone kindly pointed out that she's already in the WNBA…ooops! I did have some recollection of her graduation.

As for the returning players, those who played seemed to pick up where they left of last season without missing a beat. Barbara Turner was outstanding. She was strong off the dribble, taking it the basket and finishing in traffic all afternoon. She didn't take many deep Js but did knock down a bunch of midrange jumpers. She looks to be in the best shape I've ever seen her. I would best describe her as athletically lean. She's the women's equivalent to Rudy Johnson, for those who go back that far. BT was moving very well and seems to have put her leg problems that plagued her last season behind her.

Like Conlon, Mel Thomas displayed sound guard play and nailed a bunch of Js beyond the arc. She had her share of creative passes displaying her knack to find open teammates.

Now here's where things get a bit fuzzy. I'm quite certain that sophomore guard, Ketia Swanier mixed it up with two of the freshman, Tahirah Williams and Kalana Greene. Both freshmen looked very good. Tahirah was strong with the ball and hit a couple nice Js just inside the arc. None from this trio seemed to back down on D, giving up little room for any of them find opens shots, but always looking for an opportunity to get out on the break and score ahead of the pack.

Rounding out this trio of freshman guards is Renee Montgomery. There were two little water bugs out there; one seemed like a walk-on, the other was quick with the ball and not afraid to drive it among the trees. I believe this was Renee. At times she played a bit too quick losing the ball in traffic. She struggled finishing around the basket, but did knock down a couple nice Js and showed some solid lead guard instincts.

The 4th recruit in the 2005 class, Cassie Kerns, was very active in the paint, but surprisingly, at least to me, stepped out and knocked down a number of intermediate jump shots. She's a very long player who bothered a lot of shots, but will need sometime to get bigger and stronger to make up for what appears to be a lack of foot speed.

Another new face, though she was seen on the sidelines all of last season, is Brittany Hunter. I didn't know who she was and thought she hadn't played but I believe she was this big strong athletic forward who had some very impressive moments on the floor. She struggled early with her shot but showed some very good skills for a 6 foot plus 4/3 or 3/4 combo who could put the ball on the floor and create for herself. She was very aggressive, taking the ball to the basket, but also spotted up from out side and did nail one or two beyond the arc. Like BT she wore those leg straps below both knees. Hopefully I did match the right player with the right name. She was a little stiff in the way she ran the floor, which led me to believe that she was Brittney who is coming back from knee surgery.

Lastly, a few notables did not participate but sat cheering on their teammates. Nicole Wolff and Ann Strother sat front row but never stopped cheering on their teammates and the group of male athletes whose efforts did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. I don't remember seeing Willnett Crockett and I don't believe Charde Houston participated either, though I might have got her confused with some of the new wing players who were mixing it up in the early games.

Now if I mixed up a few of the players, please forgive me. I frequently watch our women play, but rarely go to the games. If I did make a mistake or two, I'll try to do better next time. It was fun to watch them play, and similar to what I observed a couple weeks ago with the men, our women played very hard for such an early fall scrimmage. Let me leave you with one last observation. This team looks to be a great deal quicker with and more athletic than last year's team. The don't have the size they've had the past few seasons, but should be able to get out in transition more often and also play some lock down D at the perimeter that seemed to be a struggle at times last season.

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