UConn women still adjusting rotation ahead of March…

STORRS, Conn. (AP) – Most coaches know their team’s ID and the rotation is decided by the time the NCAA tournament rolls around.

But for Geno Auriemma and second-ranked UConn (29-5), there are still plenty of questions, because two former starters recently returned to help the Huskies start the race to their 12th national title and 15th straight quarterfinal title.

Goalkeeper Azzi Fad missed 22 games this season due to two knee injuries, before returning to the Big East tournament. Winger Caroline Ducharme returned again in mid-February after missing 13 games in concussion protocol. Neither has yet played her way to a pre-injury level.

But with both Vaude and Ducharme back, the Huskies sailed through the conference course. They won their three games by an average of 20 points, after going 7-3 to finish the regular season, with every game decided by 10 points or less.

Vaud, who had averaged just under 18 points a game before she was hurt, averaged just 8.3 points over the three tournament games and Ducharme scored a total of four points.

Both are expected to play important minutes on Saturday when the second seed Huskies open the NCAA Tournament against No. 15 seed Vermont (25-6), the America East champions. The winner faces either No. 7-seed Baylor (19-12) or No. 10-seed Alabama (20-10) on Monday night.

“It changes the way you rotate; it changes the number of minutes people play and it can have an effect on chemistry and fluidity,” said Orima. “But it’s good to have it right? It’s better than the other alternative. The bottom line is we got better and that can only help.”

Only two players — Aaliyah Edwards and Lou Lopez Senechal — are healthy enough to play all season for UConn, which had to postpone a game earlier this season due to a lack of healthy bodies.

The Huskies have 10 players available, but they are still short cut. They were left without Paige Bakers, former National Player of the Year, and freshman Ice Brady for the entire season; Both suffered serious knee injuries before the start of the campaign.

Auriemma even wasted time with illness and while grieving his mother’s death. Assistant manager Chris Dailey missed a game after falling on the field during the national anthem.

UConn is hoping that like last year, when the Bueckers returned from a knee injury prior to the postseason, the return of Ducharme and Fudd can help propel the Huskies back into title contention.

“Over the course of the year, we are used to facing different situations,” Senchal said. “I think we adjusted very well to the Big East tournament. And I think now our mentality is just to have the same mentality that we had during that Big East tournament and bring it to the NCAA Tournament.”

Forward Aubrey Griffin, who underwent back surgery last year, left the Big East title game against Villanova with convulsions, but was running up and down the court on Friday with no apparent ill effects.

Vermont coach Alyssa Kress said she’s not worried about who may or may not play for Connecticut. But it allowed its players, many of whom grew up as UConn fans, to spend part of Friday staring at the banners and names hanging in the Gamble Pavilion and celebrating where they were about to go.

“Have that for a moment,” she said, “but then when the tip drops, we have to go to work.”

Baylor, who is playing in its 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament, finds itself in an unfamiliar position. After losing their last two games and six of their last nine games, the Bears travel to another school’s ballpark in the first two innings for the first time since 2012.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, said frontman Caitlin Bickle.

“While playing on the road, I think everything is more exciting, and the atmosphere is more exciting in March Madness,” she said.

This is Alabama’s second trip to the NCAA Tournament in the past three years.

Both teams have faced tough competition this season. Baylor has played 11 ranked teams, going 5-6 in those games. The Crimson Tide have played 12 games against current NCAA teams, going 6-6 in those contests.

“We’re very similar in the adversity we’ve been through,” Alabama coach Kristi Curry said. “It’s a whole new season and it will be interesting to see whose will is a little stronger than the other.”


AP March Madness coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness, https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll, and https://twitter.com /AP_Top25

DISCLAIMER:- Denial of responsibility! olorinews.com is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email at loginhelponline@gmail.com The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Read original article here

Leave a Comment