---Senior guard Shareese Ulis is making the most of her final year in the Queen City. Her 14.6 games per contest ranks in the top ten of the Big East. Ulis has drilled at least one 3-pointer in 23 consecutive games dating back to last March. She also dishes out a team-high 3 assists a game and is averaging a league-high 34.9 minutes.
---Freshman Kayla Cook has been reliable in her rookie year. The ESPN Top 100 recruit has started every contest and is second on the team in minutes. She is scoring a steady eight points a game. Cook had arguably her best half of the season when she scored 10 in the opening period against UConn last Saturday, showing no fear against the No. 2 team in the nation.
---When senior guard Shelly Bellman was granted her sixth year of eligibility after two severe knee injuries, it made for a compelling story. The News Record wrote a feature on her. CBS Sports has a clip on her. What is even more remarkable about her comeback; she has started the last 17 games, pulled down her 500th rebound against Dayton Dec. 3, 2010 and is on pace to hit 1,000-career points, needing 68 more.
---Head coach Jamelle Elliott has to be feeling a lot of nostalgia lately. She faced her former coach and Hall of Famer Geno Auriemma last Saturday and tomorrow will be her first homecoming as a head coach in Washington, D.C. The East Coast native graduated from H.D. Woodson High School. I included the rest Elliott's quotes from my feature from last week instead of letting them go to waste.
Elliott's comments on being in the visitor's locker room for the first time at UConn.
"Last year was the biggest emotional moment -- the first time I had to compete against them at UConn," Elliott said. "Now, they're going to come in here and try to kick our butt."
Elliott on the opportunity that arose after earning her degree.
"Back when I graduated there wasn't a WNBA there was an ABL. That was a league we weren't sure if it was going to last. "I took advantage of my opportunity to go to grad school. Right after grad school he asked me to be a part of his staff."
Elliot's humility about suiting up for every UConn game and practice.
"I was blessed, I was fortunate. God willing I didn't have any knee surgeries or types of injuries that would keep me out. How that happened, I just think that was God. I was fortunate enough to go to practice every day healthy. You always had aches and pains. You always felt tired but it never stopped me from going to practice or playing in games."
Elliot on what it was like playing for a Hall of Fame coach.
"I took my lumps my freshman year. I had to learn how to work, learn how to get into to shape and achieve a certain level all the time. He didn't take anything less than that. Once I became a junior I knew what he wanted and expected from me. I was able to communicate that to the freshman and sophomores. That's kind of how it works [at UConn]. He sets a standard everybody tries to meet that standard. Some people get it sooner than others. I was fortunate as a junior and senior to relay it to the younger guys."
Elliott shares the words of wisdom from her former coach upon getting the Cincinnati job.
"[Auriemma] knows the type of person I am. I want to be great all the time. I want to be great today. I have very little patience. [His advice of doing one thing right every day] really put things into perspective for me, as far as what I'm inheriting and the rebuilding process."
Elliott on her apprenticeship working under Auriemma.
"I was there for 12 years as an assistant. Probably the
first seven or eight years I was still learning. I started to get the buzz
after year eight or nine trying to test the waters. Every year he gave me more
and more responsibilities, which was great."
---Check back tomorrow night for a recap of the Bearcats' contest against the Hoyas.
---You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org