Junior All-American Bria Hartley seemingly took a step toward overcoming her season-long struggles Tuesday by scoring 20 points against Marquette. The point total was refreshing in itself as it one shy of her season-high (21 vs. Oakland Dec. 19). But it was not as refreshing as her shooting accuracy.
Hartley finished 7-of-12 from the field (5-of-7 3-pointers) against the Golden Eagles, establishing a season-high in made 3-pointers. She was coming off of a 3-for-13 effort at St. John’s last Saturday when she missed all seven of her 3-point attempts.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma said that he noticed a difference in Hartley during practice Thursday.
“I think any time you have the kind of success that our team had the other night I think it lifts everybody up,’’ Auriemma said. “And I could see it in everyone’s demeanor (Thursday) at practice that there was a carryover from the game before. And Bria certainly was one of those people. Again, she’s another one who’s her own biggest critic and her own worst enemy in that it’s hard when you get down on yourself to come back easily. But a game like the other day I think speeds up the process and I noticed that she had a different demeanor, no question about it, (Thursday) than say she had a week ago, certainly last Saturday at St. John’s.’’
Auriemma credited the confidence level of both Hartley and Caroline Doty, who had 12 points against Marquette (4-of-4 3-pointers), as being keys to the Huskies’ fortunes.
“I think when the two of them are playing with a lot of confidence and it comes across that way and they exude it on the court I think that infects everybody else,’’ Auriemma said. “And that makes our entire team react and behave much differently. So if both of them have it we’re a really, really difficult team to beat. And if one of them has it, obviously, we’re really good. But the other night they both had it.’’