UConn-bound Hartley shows she belongs
SAN ANTONIO - North Babylon High guard Bria Hartley had the opportunity to play on the floor of the Alamodome on Saturday night, the same arena at which she saw her future team, Connecticut, play last night against Baylor in the national semifinals.
So while Hartley was out there playing, she tried to emulate the Huskies.
"They play hard every second they're on the floor," said Hartley, who has been to six or seven UConn games this season, including the top-ranked Huskies' game against No. 2 Stanford in late December. "You want to compete just as hard."
Hartley did her best Final Four impersonation in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-America Game, finishing with 19 points, five assists and five steals and shooting 7-for-11. She helped the Red Team to a 101-81 victory over the White Team.
At the Alamodome, she gave a glimpse of what the future holds when, midway through the second half, she stole the ball, immediately put the dribble behind her back, went into a spin move and laid the ball in at the other end.
Hartley said she wasn't allowed to speak to UConn coach Geno Auriemma this weekend - it's a recruiting dead period - but the Connecticut players greeted her with "hugs and stuff and roughed me up a little bit."
She said she will arrive at UConn in July and plans to carry the mentality that she will contribute right away.
"If you want to play at the next level, you have to have the mind-set you can go there and play," Hartley said. "It's definitely an honor to experience playing on the Final Four court. I'm a person that likes to travel, so I'm enjoying myself."
She said she has admired UConn's Maya Moore, who won the Wade Trophy earlier Saturday as the national player of the year, and has been studying the Huskies' every move in anticipation of joining the team.
"Not exactly a part of the team yet," said Hartley, who said she does take note of the Huskies' schemes when she watches them play. "I do just see what they're going to run and get a little feel for it . . . I'm pretty sure I want to be here [the Final Four] the next four years."