No player in the nation has received more attention from an ankle injury this season than junior All-American Bria Hartley. When she has played poorly, it is has been a topic of discussion. When she has played well, it has been a topic of discussion.
Hartley again came up Tuesday night at Providence after she produced 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals in 25 minutes in extending her current run of stellar play.
Hartley is averaging 16.7 points over the last three games. She is shooting 60.7 percent from the field (17-of-28) and 62.5 percent from 3-point range (10-of-16). But, arguably, an even better indicator as to just how far she has risen in her comeback is the fact that she is also averaging 6.0 rebounds and a team-high 4.3 assists in 25.3 minutes during this stretch.
Auriemma might be growing tired of discussing Hartley’s status after each game. But he definitely likes what he has seen from her of late.
“There’s been a marked difference in her approach,’’ Auriemma said. “When Bria has a night where she has six assists, I think that’s indicative of that she’s on her way back. It seems like we’ve talked about it so much all year long with this injury thing and her struggles. But so much of it is just what you do for your team. I said that to her one time in the second half (Tuesday). I said, `Help these guys out out there.’ She was out with kind of a strange kind of team. And I think when you put your focus on helping other people and you take the focus off yourself, I think the comeback is a little easier. I think that’s where she is right now.’’
FYI: There are less than 500 tickets remaining for Monday’s showdown against No. 1 Baylor at the 16,294-seat XL Center.