HARTFORD, Conn. (Dec. 29, 2005)
- The senior duo of Barbara Turner
(Cleveland, Ohio) and Ann Strother
(Castle Rock, Colo.) combined for 35 points on Thursday night as the No. 8/8 University of Connecticut women’s basketball team posted a 78-44 victory over Albany at the Hartford Civic Center before a crowd of 13,364.
Turner scored a game-high and season-high 18 points for the Huskies as Strother netted 17 points. Turner was seven of 10 from the field, a new season-high, and went four of five from the free throw line. Strother connected on two three-point field goals in the game and both players also had four rebounds. The game marked the tenth time this season that Strother has scored in double figures.
UConn improves to 10-1 with the win, the Huskies fourth in a row, while Albany is now 3-6 on the year.
Sophomore Brittany Hunter (Columbus, Ohio) led UConn in rebounding with five boards and also contributed six points. Freshman Renee Montgomery (St. Albans, W.Va.) dished out six assists in the victory, her second-highest total of the season.
Sophomore Charde Houston (San Diego, Calif.) returned to the court for the first time in four games due to injury, scoring six points and pulling down four rebounds in 11 minutes off of the bench.
The Huskies took control of the game quickly, as they scored 18 of the game’s first 21 points in the opening nine minutes of play. Connecticut limited Albany to a 23.3 shooting percentage in the first half and led at halftime by a 38-17 count. The 17 points were the least amount surrendered by the Huskies in the first half this year and the lowest since UConn held Providence to just six points in the first stanza on Feb. 5, 2005.
All 12 Huskies had appeared in the game by the 6:45 mark in the first half and it was also the first time this season that all 12 players on the roster scored points in the game.
Connecticut committed a season-low seven turnovers while forcing 22 turnovers by the Great Danes. The Huskies converted the 22 miscues into 28 points and also picked up 32 points in the paint.
Albany was led in scoring by Amanda Ward, Gia Sanders and Sherri Mikus, who each had eight points.
Connecticut returns to action on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. when it plays host to Army at the Hartford Civic Center. The game will be televised by CPTV.
ü UConn extends its winning streak at home vs. non-ranked opponents to 177 consecutive games.
ü UConn improves to 58-9 all-time at the Hartford Civic Center.
ü Tonight’s game marked the first time UConn and Albany met in the sport of Women’s Basketball.
ü UConn improves to 45-17 all-time vs. opponents from the America East Conference.
ü All 12 UConn players entered the game by the 6:45 mark of the opening half.
ü Albany’s 17 first half points marked the fewest scored against the Huskies this season and the fewest since February 5, 2005 when the Huskies played at Providence who scored six points in the first half.
ü Ann Strother’s 17 points marked the tenth time she has recorded double-figure points this season and the 73rd time in her career.
ü Barbara Turner’s 18 points mark her fifth game this season with double-figure points and the 67th of her career.
ü Turner’s 18 points represented a season high.
Post Game Quotes
University of Connecticut
On tonight’s game:
“You look at a game like this and on the surface it is kind of meaningless. You play against a team that, unfortunately for them, has to play us. It is difficult for them to match up with us talent wise, so you don’t go in to the game thinking how many we can win by. That is not the point of the game. The point of the game is if we do what we are supposed to do we are going to win. As you look at the game you try to find areas where you know, down the road, things like that are going to help you. We didn’t turn the ball over. For long stretches we got the right shot at the right time. We executed some things pretty well. You look at the other side too. In a game like this we should get a lot more rebounds than we got. They out-hustled us and outworked us in that area. We should shoot free throws better. To me, the two things that we really have to go back to are making free throws and getting rebounds. That doesn’t take a whole lot of talent to be able to do those two things. You leave thinking we played pretty good defense. We took good care of the ball. We got people involved on offense that we wanted to get involved. We got the right shot at the right time. We accomplished a lot, but at the same time like in every game, you find a couple things you know down the road are going to haunt you if you don’t fix them.”
On Charde Houston:
“I don’t think she broke any new ground today. She is Charde. She did a little bit of all the things Charde does. I looked out at the floor at one point and said to Tonya and Jamelle that she is so much bigger than everybody else out there. She is quicker, faster, stronger. If she just gave this game a little bit of thought it is just unlimited how good that kid could be. Maybe she will. This was a good start.”
What was it like to see Trina Patterson and coach against her?
“It is always good to see Trina. I see her a lot during the summer in recruiting. It is interested when you know somebody when they’re 17 and they come out of high school then you spend some time with them on the college level. Now you look at her and they are struggling a little bit and playing us without their best player/leading scorer. It is kind of bittersweet. I am happy for her, and I am happy that she’s at a place that she enjoys being at. You hate to see them in that situation.”
Is the lack of turnovers a sign that your point guards are understanding the offense?
“A little bit. We forced the ball to places. I don’t think we tried to make plays that are hard to make. We tried to keep it simple. You look at it and think how many turnovers should you have when you play Albany. Seven is a good number. If it were 17 I would be disappointed. Those seven could easily be 17 or 20 next week against a better team. It is something you hope will just get better and better every game where people start to see things.”
On leadership of Ann Strother and Barbara Turner:
“When you have played here the longest then you should have a pretty good idea of what you need to do. Barbara was a little bit under the weather today. She wasn’t feeling real well before that game. That’s why she didn’t play a lot of minutes, but the minutes she did play I thought were pretty productive.”
On her ability
“I think it’s great that I’m getting more minutes and that everyone’s starting to get playing time. As far as my opportunities, tonight I wasn’t myself. I wish I would have done better because coach wanted me to rebound more and I didn’t quite do that until the second half.”
Do you feel like things are starting to come around for you?
“I’m excited that I know elbow now, both wing and post positions. I’m really happy that I know more of the positions.”
Are you happy that you’re picking things up now?
“This isn’t high school anymore so obviously I’m not going to pick things up as quickly. It’s more complicated and at the next level. It’s good that I’m picking things up now.”
On the game
“The way we came out was really great and we sustained it through out the whole game. It’s good when you can actually play the whole forty minutes and really attack.”
Do you see a difference in the team?
“Everyone came back from break with a different attitude. We just seem more attentive and more aware of what’s going on. It’s really good to see from everybody.”
On the schedule
“I think this is a crucial time. I don’t think it’s something that you can look past to just get through it. I think right now is a time when we really need to come together and figure out who we are and what we need to be to go into the second half of the season.”
“I actually think that this is one of the most important parts of the season no matter who we play. Right now we know what we need to do and get some sort of rhythm going.”
On Charde Houston
“It’s great to have her back. I’ve been really impressed, especially at practice. She’s been going hard and doing a lot of ball handling. It’s great to have her back.”
How comfortable are you with the way the season is going and the “meat” of the schedule coming up?
“I feel really good and I feel like we’ve made a lot of improvements especially from the very beginning of the season. I feel like everyone’s more comfortable. After break everyone’s come back with a different attitude, being more attentive and more aware. We really want to get things going and play the right way.”
You and Barbara (Turner) are really working well together. Is that just a maturity and leadership that you bring to every game?
“We’ve been through a lot and we’ve seen a lot so it’s time for us to step up and take over. (We need to) be that leadership that the team needs. I think we’re both doing a great job at making sure that that’s being done every night.”
University of Albany
“…Our team is young and I am proud of their competitive nature, we made some big plays and a couple of blocks. We made some good aggressive plays, and that’s what I wanted to see against this team. We just couldn’t shoot the ball. Against this team, since we knew what they were doing to all the other teams, shooting 35 percent from the floor, you know we just couldn’t put the ball in the basket, but again I’m proud of the way our team performed.”
You had said before the game you were worried that your players might come out scared, against this team, in this atmosphere; did you see that at all?
“Our goal was that we didn’t want to enter this game with fear, and they didn’t enter with fear. Sometimes you’ll look at the glassy eyes and kids not knowing where to go on offense and defense. Connecticut is a great team and Geno has done a great job. We’re a mid-level program and in most of the teams we’ve played in the mid-levels, with the exception of Marist, it looks like a cookie-cutter kinda thing where it’s all the same. We chose not to sit back in a zone. We wanted to challenge them and go man-for-man. I think in the second half, they shot a little bit more, less than they did in the first half 46 percent. We didn’t want to sit back and let the game be not in our control.”
Do you have any stories from Virginia with Geno?
“Geno is the same coach, he was cool then and he’s cool now. He recruited me out of high school, I remember him calling. He was young then, and he had the same hair cut. He was a little darker then and he had the same strut. He’s the same guy, he’s never changed. He’s done so much for women’s basketball; it’s amazing what he’s done for the game. He’s elevated it. He’s been with the women since day one, back then he was coaching with Debbie Ryan, that was in 82, that’s when he called.”
Why did you say he was cool?
“You know, he’s from Philadelphia, Philadelphia has a certain flavor, a certain taste. He can stay on his level with adults but he also has the ability to get on the level with the kids and he’s been able to maintain that, so he’s never lost touch. That’s important for a coach.”
Are you still happy you took this game?
“I’m ecstatic that I took this game, there’s no loss for us. Our players had to elevate their play and they’re better coming out of it.”
About her previous coaching experience with Connecticut players:
“What was interesting was that I coached Barbara and Ann two summers ago at the USA basketball team, we were together in Cuba and I remember that when we played Cuba, the game was televised. The team was able to go out on the town afterwards, and all they could say was “you’re Barbara Turner, you’re Barbara Turner”; they knew Barbara, they just loved her. So I had some experiences with Ann and Barbara.”
Have they come along as players? do you see a maturity in them?
“They were mature then, but I think Barbara has matured since. She would get rattled over there. We played against the fifth-best center in the world, a 32 year old woman, in Cuba, but I don’t know if anyone is rattling her now. She just seems more mature, more composed and playing without emotion. I wish her continued success.”
What was it like against UConn?
“It was great, we had nothing to lose, we just all played our hearts out. It was a great experience for all of us. To step out on the court in front of a couple thousand fans, it’s amazing, a once in a lifetime chance.”
When you were a kid, did you used to dream you would play for UConn?
“Yeah, definitely. I went to all their games, I remember Kara Wolters, Jen Rizzotti. Just being in the arena, when I was little to being in it now is such a great feeling, like a dream come true.”
On her team’s play:
“I think overall my team did well against them.”