Hartley has found her shooting touch
Philadelphia - Since colliding with a practice player and jamming her thumb in practice 11 days ago, UConn's Bria Hartley is enjoying the hottest shooting streak of her career.
The 5-foot-8 senior guard, in the three games since suffering the injury, is averaging 25.3 points per game while shooting 61.7 percent from the floor (29-for-47) and 61.7 percent from 3-point range (12-for-19). It's the first time in her career Hartley has scored 20 or more points in three straight games.
And did we mention she has 16 assists during that span?
Hartley's clutch play couldn't have come at a better time for the nation's No. 1 team, which visits Temple at 7 tonight (SNY) for an American Athletic Conference game.
The Huskies (21-0, 8-0), who have already beaten the Owls (10-9, 4-4) once this season (80-36 on Jan. 11), used only six players for the majority of Sunday's 81-53 victory over South Florida at the XL Center.
UConn had only two healthy scholarship guards - Hartley and sophomore Moriah Jefferson - because junior Brianna Banks (sprained ankle) and freshman Saniya Chong (illness) were unavailable.
No worries. Hartley and Jefferson combined for 37 points, 13 assists and only one turnover.
Banks, who practiced Monday, is expected back tonight, but the Huskies are certainly in good hands with their two starters, along with guard/forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who had six assists herself in the USF win as UConn assisted on 25 of its 30 made field goals against the Bulls.
"We really try to get those people who are hitting shots the ball more, and we did that today," Hartley said after Sunday's win. "It was just really exciting."
Hartley, who was named to the AAC honor roll on Monday (she was the AAC Player of the Week the prior week), has improved her scoring average to 15.6 and is part of a starting lineup that features five double-figure scorers. Sophomore Breanna Stewart, who tied her career high with 29 against USF, continues to lead UConn in scoring (18.7) followed by Hartley, senior center Stefanie Dolson (12.8), Mosqueda-Lewis (11.1) and Jefferson (10.2).
If Banks and Chong are unavailable, the Huskies' only experienced reserve is junior center Kiah Stokes, who is averaging 5.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game and playing 19.4 minutes off the bench. Her play is particularly important because sophomore forward Morgan Tuck has opted for knee surgery and is lost for the season.
Following tonight's game, the Huskies have another road game on Saturday at Cincinnati (2 p.m., SNY) before returning home to play SMU on Feb. 4 and No. 5 Louisville (20-1, 8-0) on Feb. 9 (1 p.m., ESPN) in a rematch of last year's national championship game. Both games are at Gampel Pavilion.
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