Hogan's Alley

Monday, March 05, 2007

Women's Big East Basketball Showdown

In the Times today there is a article highlighting the freshman star of the University of Connecticut's women's basketball team, Tina Charles. Charles has become a major contributor to the team's success in her first year.

Last year, Charles' Christ the King High School from Queens won the NY State High School Championship. They played against a team, Murray Bergtraum High from Brooklyn, that featured the other consensus leading player in the country, Epiphany Prince. I had the pleasure of seeing that game in Glens Falls, NY.

These were clearly the two leading seniors coming out of high school last year. Both were heavily recruited and UConn's Gino Auriemma offered both girls a spot on his team. Charles accepted, but Prince elected to attend Rutgers, traditionally a much lower ranked program, where Vivian Stringer is the coach. Both young women have progressed markedly since their final high school game. Charles has assumed control of the middle of UConn's team. Prince has been helped to drop her formerly sluggish, three point dominated game in favor of a more active role as the two guard and good effort on defense.

Tonight, on ESPN, both teams play in the semi-finals of the Big East Tournament. If form holds and both win, tomorrow will bring a rematch of that high school tournament final of last year. I think we will witness a more advanced and self-confident player on the UConn side. Surely it stands a chance to be one of the best women's games this season.

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