Huskymania

By Ken Best

Tracking Huskymania on and off the field.

Baseball Team Hears Some Major Fatherly Advice

Among the faithful fans of the Huskies baseball team are parents of the student-athletes. One of those regularly in the stands at J.O. Christian Field over the past three seasons stopped by the team’s preseason practice on Thursday at the Tolland Bubble to talk with the Huskies, who gave him their full attention.

Lee Mazzilli, the former Major League Baseball player, coach and manager and father of Huskies’ second baseman LJ Mazzilli ’13 (CLAS), offered some tips to the team on base running and the art of stealing bases at the end of the practice session. Lee averaged 22 stolen bases a year during his 14-year career in the big leagues.

LJ is one of the nation’s top collegiate baseball players and was the Huskies’ leading hitter last year with a .339 batting average, including 9 home runs. He was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the MLB draft last year but opted to return to Storrs for his senior year.

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The snowstorm due to arrive in the Northeast on Friday has caused a change in this weekend’s men’s hockey series against Bentley.

Games scheduled for Friday and Saturday night have been moved to Sunday and Monday night. The Huskies will play at Bentley on Sunday at 7:05 p.m. Bentley will come to Storrs on Monday at 7:05 p.m. The games will be broadcast on WHUS 91.7 FM.

Tickets for Monday’s game are available at uconnhuskies.com. Fans can also purchase tickets at the Freitas Ice Forum beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday night.

The Huskies are in a three-way tie for eighth in the Atlantic Hockey Association standings with 18 points. Teams fifth through eighth in the standings will host teams ninth through 12th in the AHA First Round. Bentley is tied for sixth with 19 points.

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The student part of the 700 student-athletes who represent UConn in NCAA competition was recognized on Tuesday during halftime of the women’s basketball game against Marquette, as nearly 400 members of the Huskies’ 24 varsity teams were honored for earning at least a 3.0 semester grade point average in the spring 2012 and/or fall 2012 semester.

Nineteen student-athletes in majors ranging from finance and nursing to chemistry and biology also were recognized for having achieved a 4.0 GPA, including:

Sean Cook ’13 (BUS), men’s swimming and diving; Danielle Dakin ’13 (ED), women’s soccer; Mary DeMarrais ’13 (ED), women’s swimming; Stephanie Ellis ’15 (NUR), women’s indoor; Kelly Faris ’13 (CLAS), women’s basketball; Alexis Henry ’16 (CLAS), women’s swimming; Julianne Hubbard ’15 (CANR), women’s soccer; Kathryn Hughes ’15 (CLAS), women’s rowing; Istvan Kanyo ’16 (CLAS), men’s soccer; Hillary Lackman’13 (CLAS), women’s soccer; Kennedy Meier ‘ 16 (CLAS), women’s swimming; Julia Roth ’15 (CANR), rowing; Linda Ruutu ’13 (CLAS), women’s soccer; Stephen Vento ’15 (BUS), men’s indoor track; Jackie Wattles ’15 (CLAS), volleyball; Maxene Weinberg ’14 (CLAS), women’s tennis; Sioban Wilcox ’13 (NUR), lacrosse; Hillary Whiles-Lafayette ’13 (CLAS), rowing; and Kyungsoo Yoon ’13 (BUS), men’s swimming.

Twelve UConn teams had a team grade point average of 3.0 or above, led by the men’s cross country team, which had a GPA of 3.50 and each team member had a GPA of over 3.0.

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Kevin Ollie ’95 (CLAS) insists that his student-athletes give their best effort at all times on the basketball court. It is no less than he expects from himself.

Ollie told reporters during Thursday’s Big East teleconference that he was watching videotape of the Huskies’ 71-65 loss to St. John’s in New York on Wednesday until 3 a.m.

The Huskies fought back from a 15-point deficit in the first half to take the lead late in the second half before the Red Storm went on a 9-0 run to regain the lead for good.

“We missed 17 layups. We’ve got to make those shots and convert our free throws,” Ollie said in assessing the game. “We’ve got to go out there and play with a sense of urgency from the [opening] tap. It’s up to me as a coach to look at tape and prepare my team to go forward. I do like my team when we get down in an adverse situation and we have the ability to come back. I don’t want to be put in those situations. Hopefully we’ll start playing from the start against Seton Hall.  I don’t have life figured out, but when life hits me I’m going to challenge my team to come back and my coaching staff to come back and respond.”

The Huskies (15-6, 5-4 Big East) travel to New Jersey on Sunday for a noon game against Seton Hall (13-10, 2-8), which has lost four of the last five games. Junior guard/forward Fuquan Edwin leads the Pirates in scoring with 15.2 points per game and the team’s leading rebounder is redshirt junior center Eugene Teague, who averages 7.0 rebounds and 10 points per game.

The game will be broadcast on SNY and on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.

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The No. 3/2 women’s basketball team (21-1, 8-1 Big East) is 9-1 all-time against DePaul (17-6, 6-3), and have won nine consecutive games against the Blue Demons, who arrive in Gampel Pavilion on Sunday for a 3:30 p.m. game that will be televised on ESPNU and broadcast on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network and WHUS 91.7 FM.

DePaul is coached by Doug Bruno, who served as an assistant coach to his longtime friend Geno Auriemma on the U.S. Olympic Basketball Team that won the gold medal in London.

Sophomore Brittany Hrynko and senior Anna Martin, both guards, average 16.2 points per game each for DePaul, while the team’s leading rebounder is senior forward Katherine Harry, who pulls down 11.4 per game.