Hartford coach and former UConn All-American Jennifer Rizzotti does not square off against the Huskies frequently. But that does not mean that she is unfamiliar with their personnel.
Rizzotti was the head coach of the 2010 U.S. U-18 World Championship team that featured Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley. She was the head coach of the 2011 U.S. U-19 World Championship team that featured Dolson, Hartley, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck. And she served as a court coach last month at the U.S. National Team mini-camp that Dolson, Mosqueda-Lewis and Stewart attended.
Following today’s 89-34 loss to No. 1 UConn at the XL Center, Rizzotti had some fun during her postgame presser.
“Let’s just keep in mind who they got coached by first, OK?’’ Rizzotti said. “Both of them, Stefanie and Breanna. And Morgan. And Bria. And Kaleena. They like to show off to their old coach, so I’m going to take some credit.’’
“I think what’s most impressive about Stefanie and Breanna is how much better they have gotten every year. They’re just not content to be as good as they were before. So they add something to their game every year. And it’s tough, because they both can play on the perimeter. They both bury you on the blocks. They have size. They’re both smart. I told my post players, `I know this is the impossible match-up, but you’ve got to try a little bit harder.’ That is really all you can say, because there isn’t one way you can defend them. You take one thing away, and they are great (at something else).
“What they’re also great at is they facilitate the offense. You think that’s a point guard’s job, but honestly, how much time is the ball in Stefanie Dolson’s hands when you think about it. She was second on their team in assists last year because they want the ball in her hands. So she makes good decisions. They’re both efficient. And they both can facilitate a lot of what’s going on with that offense. They screen, they hand it off, they roll, and then they crash the boards like nobody else. So I’m overly impressed, not just with how good they’ve already been but how much better they look this early in the year.’’