By Carl Adamec
STORRS, Conn. — Bria Hartley has the streaks and statistics of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team thrown at her after just about every game the Huskies play.
Monday night the junior All-America guard heard one she really liked.
Top-seeded UConn’s 77-44 NCAA tournament Bridgeport Regional second-round win over No. 8 Vanderbilt at Gampel Pavilion was the 100th victory for the Huskies’ junior class of Hartley and Stefanie Dolson.
“It means a lot to me and Stefanie,” Hartley said. “We come out here every day and we want to win a lot of games. To reach 100 is definitely an accomplishment. I don’t know if Stefanie knows about it, but I’m excited about it.”
The juniors are 100-11 since arriving here. In fact, only one current Big East senior class — Notre Dame’s with Skylar Diggins and Kaila Turner — reached the 100-win plateau. The Irish’s junior class has 98 wins heading into Tuesday night’s second-round game at Iowa.
“Wow. That goes to our program,” Hartley said. “It’s the same thing as the other day when we were talking about all of the 30-win seasons. It’s Coach preparing us to go out there and be physically and mentally ready to play each game.”
“It shows how hard we’ve worked as juniors and as a team,” Dolson said.
The Class of 2014 is the sixth straight junior class and the 11th in 17 years at UConn to reach 100 wins.
“That’s a lot of wins, man. That’s a lot,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “One hundred wins in three years? That’s a lot.
“All of those numbers, they’re still supposed to be important but I don’t know how important they are anymore. It’s impressive. But then people say, ‘Well, you’re Connecticut. You’re supposed to do that.’ It’s too bad.”
Of course, all 100 wins in three years gets Auriemma at UConn is grief that his team can’t win the close ones. Meanwhile, 27 wins in three years at Seton Hall gets you a WNBA coaching job.
The juniors will try for No. 101 Saturday against fourth-seeded Maryland at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.
Kelly Faris was emotional as she sat on the UConn bench during the final minutes of Monday night’s game, her last one at Gampel Pavilion.
“I was more mad that I didn’t play as well as I would have liked,” Faris said.
The senior guard picked up two early fouls and sat out most of the first half. She finished with four points, four rebounds, and four assists in 21 minutes of her 150th career game. But she did get to walk off a winner.
“I thought about this was going to be the last time I’d run off this court,” Faris said. “It was good. This gym has been good to me and it’s going to be good to many more.”
Fifth-year senior guard Caroline Doty got the start and had two points and an assist in 24 minutes.
“I looked around at the crowd a lot,” Doty said. “I had a great run here. I just thought about how fortunate I am to have been here five years. Coming out and playing as well as we did to get to the Sweet 16 again, it was pretty awesome.”
Fifth-year senior center Heather Buck played the final 3:16 and did not score.
Former UConn guards Tiffany Hayes and Lorin Dixon were in attendance Monday night … Hartley came off the bench but ended up playing the most minutes (28) … Vanderbilt was held to a season low in points … The Huskies have not lost to a Southeastern Conference opponent since the 2007 Fresno (Calif.) Regional final against LSU … Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb coached once before at Gampel Pavilion in a 1999 NCAA second-round game with Xavier. She also coached at the Storrs Field House when she was an assistant at Niagara during the 1988-89 season.