During my time covering sports I've had the privilege to watch the University of Connecticut women's basketball team play several times. The one thing I've always taken from their games is that whenever the basketball's in the air, the Huskies believe it's theirs. On a rebound, offense or defense, they don't wait for the ball to come down to them, they go up and get it. On defense, they're always diving to pick off a pass, slapping at the ball, working for the steal.
Now it's only the first game of the season, and an exhibition at that, but we saw a lot of that UConn ball hawking from the Bearcats against NKU last weekend.
The tempo that this team plays is markedly faster than last year, much of that because of the speed of play of transfer guard Dayeesha Hollins. When she gets the ball from a defensive rebound or turnover, she's headed to the other end of the court quicker than you can say 'UC.' She flies to the front court and if there's an opening in the lane, she's not afraid to take it. If not, she'll pull back and help set up the play.
Dayeesha had a lot of her Winton Woods supporters at the game on Friday, but Dayeesha's not the only new face to watch this season-Lesha Dunn, all six-foot-four of her, will be a great help underneath once she gets used to the pace of the BIG EAST.
And then, of course, there's the 'veterans' -- Kayla Cook, Tiffany Turner, Jeanise Randolph. I say 'veterans' tongue in cheek, of course, because, despite their names being familiar, remember, they're only sophomores. Pressed into action last season, these three got unbelievable experience facing the BIG EAST -- more experience than most freshmen get, playing at this level. That will only pay off for them this season, and seasons to come.
So the regular season starts on Friday against IPFW. Then next week, a big test against I-75 rival Dayton. It's going to be fun to see Jamelle Elliot and her revamped staff put more of a Coach Elliott-inspired UConn stamp on this team. It can only mean good things down the road.
Let the games begin.