Huskies Starting Without Hartley

Hartley out indefinitely (US PRESSWIRE)

STORRS – The Connecticut women will play their first exhibition game against Indiana University (Pa.) on Friday night, but they will be without All-American guard Bria Hartley.

Hartley, who has been missing practice time with a left ankle injury, was ruled out indefinitely by UConn on Thursday. She did not practice with the team Thursday and there is no timetable for her return.

"As far as I'm concerned I don't care if she sits out until January," coach Geno Auriemma said Thursday after practice. "I just want her to get to the point where it's 100 percent healthy and we're not worrying about it the rest of the season."

Hartley has been in and out of practice for most of the preseason and has been wearing a protective boot on her left foot. She has participated in individual stretching and agility drills on the side court during practices, but did not get the response from her ankle that she wanted. Hartley was not made available to the media after practice.

"Her presence brings a lot. . . . but we're still trying to push through and do what we can without her," sophomore guard Brianna Banks said.

The exhibition game (7 p.m. Gampel Pavilion) will give UConn fans their first look at highly-touted freshman Breanna Stewart, a 6-4 forward who figures to see substantial playing time. Stewart will make her debut along with newcomers Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck.

Although the Huskies obviously want Hartley back on the floor, both Banks and Jefferson will likely benefit with more playing time. With Hartley out and Caroline Doty on a short leash due to her past knee injuries, Banks and Jefferson will get more minutes according to Auriemma.

The starting lineup for the first exhibition remains a mystery. According to Auriemma, Stefanie Dolson, Kelly Faris and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis are three likely starters.

"I'll just pick two names out of a hat and go for that," Auriemma said of the other two spots.

UConnPlaybook.com publisher Ken Davis contributed to this report.

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