CONQUERING THEIR DEMONS
Huskies defeat DePaul Blue Demons 91-44
UConn center Stefanie Dolson dribbles the ball up the court in a recent game against the DePaul Blue Demons at Gampel. JESS CONDON/The Daily Campus
Despite a winter storm that pounded the Northeast for much of the weekend, the UConn women's basketball team did not appear frozen in their game against DePaul Sunday evening.
The game was far from pretty, as the Huskies turned the ball over 15 times and struggled to stay away from sloppy play during some stretches, but the effort was overwhelmingly positive when the Blue Demons came to town.
"I think it shows a lot more maturity than we've shown in the past," Bria Hartley said of her team's ability to stay crisp despite the issues caused by the storm. "That's good and I think that's a step in the right direction. We want to continue to come out here and be focused like that for every game regardless of what the circumstances are."
Those circumstances - which severely hindered DePaul's travel plans and forced them to arrive in Storrs just an hour and a half prior to the game - were unfortunate in the eyes of Blue Demons' Coach Doug Bruno, but he did not want to use them as an excuse after the game.
"I don't want to minimize what our kids, our players, went through," Bruno said, "but at the same time, I just saw [former UConn men's basketball coach] Dee Rowe and I talked to him on the way down here and that's what these teams did all the time - except they took buses. You know, five hours on a bus and then they'd have to get out and play."
Though Bruno may not have wanted to use the less than ideal travel schedule as an excuse for his team, they did appear sluggish and struggled mightily throughout the night.
Brittany Hrynko, DePaul's leading scorer, finished the game with six points and was held to an 0-for-15 shooting performance, and Katherine Harry, their leading rebounder, was held without a rebound on the evening.
Preventing Harry from crashing the glass was a point of pride for UConn center Stefanie Dolson, who chose that accomplishment over her game-high 23 points when asked about which she statistic she was happier with after the game.
"I mean, going into the game we knew she was averaging double-figure rebounds and for all the posts, that was definitely an emphasis for us," Dolson said, " and I think we did a great job of just playing great defense and finishing off with the box out."
The Huskies certainly did their fair-share of boxing out, as they beat the Blue Demons up on the glass and finished with a 49-27 advantage.
Seven of those rebounds came courtesy of Bria Hartley, who added 18 points in the effort.
For Hartley, who missed the first month of the season and has struggled to return to form, this marks the second-straight game in which she felt she played at her pre-injury level.
"It's good to have two games in a row now - I just want to start stringing some more games along," Hartley said.
Bruno too was able to detect the difference between Hartley's early-season performance and the strides she's made to where she is now.
"Bria looked a lot more like herself," Bruno said. "She's getting better and she needs to and she is. And that's a very important ingredient for this team."
Hartley's next chance to keep the confidence rolling will come on Tuesday night in Providence.
The Huskies will not be able to practice on Monday due to the cancellation of classes and closing of the school, but they will take on the Friars at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.
That game can be seen on SNY and heard on WTIC 1080 AM.
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