By Carl Adamec
Welcome to the XL Center in Hartford as the second-ranked University of Connecticut women’s basketball team takes on No. 9 Maryland in the annual Jimmy V Classic. The Huskies (6-0) are 2-2 in the event while the Terrapins (4-1) are making their first appearance.
Sophomore Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis returns to the UConn starting lineup after missing last Wednesday’s Colgate game with a concussion. That means fifth-year senior Caroline Doty will come off the bench for only the second time in her 100th career game.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma has expressed concern in the past about Doty, with her three-time surgically repaired left knee, going through warmups and then cooling off before coming in in a reserve role.
“That’s something we’re going to have work through and monitor and see how she’s doing and see how she
handles it,” Auriemma said. “In a perfect world you’d be able to just not worry about that when you play her, how many minutes you play her and all that stuff. But I do worry about all that stuff. Ideally, you’d like to get her into the game as soon as possible, but we’re going to have to work through that and figure that out as we go along. Right now having Caroline on the floor is really, really, really good for us. She really, really is playing great. This is the best I’ve seen her look since her sophomore year.”
But Auriemma didn’t really want to start with the four-guard look the Huskies had to use a year ago. With freshman Breanna Stewart, he doesn’t have to.
“We came up short a little bit last year because we weren’t big enough and we didn’t have enough options,” Auriemma said. “And there is a practical side to it, too, that when you have Caroline and Bria (Hartley) in the game at the same time and you sub one of those guys out you’re not exactly bringing in a kid who’s had a lot of college experience. So you’re not necessarily getting a lot better. You’re getting different. And I think in Caroline’s case if you get her on the court at the first TV timeout in some way you’re getting a lot better. You’re getting better because you’ve got another experienced ballhandler, an experienced guard who’s been there and done that and knows what we want. If she’s out there with Moriah Jefferson or if she’s out there with Brianna Banks or she’s out there with some of the younger guys that are post players everything changes. A lot of our younger guys, they’re good. But they’re really good when they’re out there with some of the older guys.”
The ESPN2 broadcast begins at 7 p.m.