STORRS, Conn. - November 5, 2004 - Junior forward Ann Strother (Castle Rock, Colo.) scored 23 points on some solid long-range shooting to help overcome some sloppy ball handling as the defending National Champion Connecticut defeated EA Sports, 75-69, in the exhibition opener for the Huskies Friday night, before a sellout crowd of 10,167 at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion.
UConn jumped out to an 11-2 lead just 6:19 into the contest as senior guard Ashley Battle (Pittsburgh, Pa.) drilled two of her three three-point field goals. UConn stayed comfortably ahead for most of the game before former Husky Maria Conlon led an EA Sports comeback that cut the UConn lead down to just 3, at 70-67 with 39 seconds to play. Conlon scored 10 of her team high 19 points after intermission.
Strother notched her 23 points on eight of 16 shooting from the field, and nailed six of ten attempts from three-point range. She also added five rebounds and five assists. Joining Strother in double figures were junior forward Barbara Turner (Cleveland, Ohio), who finished with 17 and junior center Wilnett Crockett (Harbor City, Calif.) and Battle, who each scored 11. Crockett and Turner led the Huskies with nine rebounds apiece. Freshman Charde Houston (San Diego, Calif.) scored eight points and yanked down six rebounds off of the bench. Freshman point guard Ketia Swanier (Columbus, Ga.) had six assists for the Huskies. UConn shot 46% from the field, including 45% from three-point range, to overcome 30 turnovers.
UConn was without the services of starting center Jessica Moore (Palmer, Alaska), still shelved recovering from off-season knee surgery.
Tonya Washington added 17 points for EA Sports, who also had the services of former Husky Morgan Valley, who scored three points and had four steals.
The Huskies will conclude exhibition play for the 2004-2005 season when they entertain the Houston Jaguars on Tuesday, November 16 at the Hartford Civic Center. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.
GENO AURIEMMA POST GAME QUOTES
Talk about seeing them [Maria Conlon and Morgan Valley] play, how was it?
It was hard at first because youre trying to concentrate on your own guys, but I think one of the differences between some of the things we did tonight and some of the things that these two guys did is there comes a point in time where you try to make plays to win. Theres a constant struggle to win rather that to just go up and down the floor, these guys are used to doing that, they are used to making plays to win, whether its runners in the lane or three pointers.
You said that Ann [Strother] has been pretty much lights out throughout the start of practice, could you just talk about her?
I wasnt really paying attention, there were more walking calls tonight then there were all last year combined so I guess there is an emphasis on walking this year."
What did you think overall?
I thought it was pretty bad, not that it was unexpected, dont get me wrong, but I thought it was pretty bad. I dont think anything happened tonight that I really didnt expect, I didnt expect Barbara to struggle as much as she did early on, shes hurting a little bit physically, so maybe I should have expected that. I can honestly say I think that there was one thing that I saw that made me take a second notice and say wow I didnt see that coming
EA Sports guard Maria Conlon
How does it feel to lose?
Weve lost more this week than we have in four years."
EA Sports forward Morgan Valley
What was it like playing here as an opponent?
It was weird. We go to practice every day and we still have a relationship with all the girls.
Are you upset with what you showed tonight?
Yes and no. Its when we get in a funk we have to do something to get us out of it, whether its a steal, a lay up or a jump three or just getting them to stop scoring.
Are you stunned at how bad you played tonight?
Its been happening in practice a lot, and I am stunned at how we played. Thats why Im a little numb right now, but we have to get better if we want to do well this season.
How do you deal with whats been going on in practices (new players, etc.)?
In the past couple practices weve been having some really good stretches and weve been having some really bad stretches too, but overall, there have been some really high points and tonight none of them came through.
Are you guys mad at yourselves?
In a sense we are because we know we could have done better. You can just tell by how we all are right now.
How was your first game?
It was a lot of fun. A lot of excitement.