Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

There's more to basketball than making shots

At first glance it would be easy to look at last night's UConn/Stanford box score and say that the Huskies won in spite of play of their three most experienced players. After all, Tiffany Hayes, Caroline Doty and Kelly Faris were a combined 7 of 30 from the field. Many of those shots were downright ugly as in lucky to catch iron ugly. However, the trio brought more to the table than their horrendous shooting numbers would indicate.

Hayes, who was clearly a little too ready to go early on and played a step or 10 too fast, pulled down 13 rebounds including five offensive boards and added six assists, three steals and one turnover in 35 minutes. Doty was 2 for 10 but those two were absolutely huge 3-pointers just when it looked like Stanford might charge all the way back. Although she had just one assist, she was able to be a calming influence in the second half. Faris missed all five of her shots and did not score but anybody who watched even a second of the game had to come away with the way she hung in there against bigger and stronger Stanford players. The Ogwumike sisters jostled with her all night and Faris played a key role in limiting Chiney Ogwumike to seven points on 3 of 12 shooting.

"The key is how do you beat a really good team when they don't go in and that is what we did," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. :We didn't win the game because we made every shot tonight. I think you feel better when you win games when shots don't go in

"This is Caroline's first game, I mean real game, in a long, long time but you didn't think she was going to keep missing them so she made a couple. Same with Tiffany, once Tiffany made a layup and she had 13 rebounds. You like to see 'what are kids going to do when the things they like to do aren't working for them?' All of those things are positive. I don't know if there are going to be a lot of teams that are going to score 75 or 80 against Stanford, it is not going to happen.

"I was hoping that this would be a different Tiffany this year from what we have seen in the past. In the past, when she didn't make shots she would get down on herself. It kind of happened a little bit when she lost her man defensively a couple of times. She got real frustrated because she wanted to make some plays and couldn't. She was trying too hard. Once she settled in to the flow of the game. She came over to the bench one time and said 'look, you need to contribute. I didn't say you needed to score but you need to contribute.' Those 13 rebounds, that's a hell of a contribution. She had six assists so I think Tiffany had a lot to do with us winning the game."

A day after moving up to No. 2 in the Associated Press poll, UConn jumped from fourth to second in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll.

Baylor continues to be the runaway No. 1 pick, garnering 29 first-place votes. UConn is second and was had two first-place votes followed by Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Stanford. Four of the top nine teams have one loss already, a signal that the top teams aren't afraid to challenge themselves with some early tests.

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