Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

UConn forces the issue

Texas A&M has long been considered one of the nation's best pressing teams, beating more talented teams simply by flustering them with full-court pressure.

However, in Tuesday night's Jimmy V Classic it was UConn's pressure defense and ability to handle the A&M press which keyed UConn's 81-51 demolition of the defending national champions.

"We kept our compsure and we stayed within (ourselves)," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "We let the offense just kind of flow. We weren't in a hurry to make a play. We weren't anxious to create something out of nothing and we just kind of let it happen for us. The kids did a great job of finding the guy that was open because we got a lot of layups, we got open jump shots. They were doing some things defensively I thought we could score on and luckily we took advantage of it

"Beating Texas A&M by 30 tonight, that is not realistic. I think what happens is when you are willing to go at that pace for 40 minutes, I think the other team gets to the point where they go 'I just can't keep this up.' You can see it in their faces some times and in their body language. We just keep that pace and it is one of the things I am proudest of that we are able to do that."

UConn not only won the turnover battle 20-11 but scored 27 points off the Aggies 22 turnovers while A&M managed just seven points off the 11 UConn miscues.

"You win games because of talent and intensity level and that is something that he gets on us every single day in practice and it is something that we work on every day," UConn junior forward Kelly Faris said. "The second we take a play off, he is in our ear and we know that. Especially the older guys we have been around long enough to know that the second you take a play off, he is not going to be happy with you."

The Huskies were surprised by the final margin, never expecting to beat a team returning three senior starters off last season's national championship team by 30.

"I don't think by 30," Faris said. "They are still a very good team. We came out from the very beginning. It is something we try to do every single game, come out and be the first one to take that punch and set that intensity level and keep that the whole game."

A&M coach Gary Blair admitted that he felt powerless at times to stop UConn, which had six players score in double figures.

"They had 18 points in the first four minutes of the game and they only scored 18 in the next 16," Blair said. "We went to zone and we were in HTM. Do you know what that is? You 'hope they miss.' That was all it was instead of making them miss. Normally we can make people miss but today we looked lost in the matchup, they were overloading in the corner and the other side wasn't coming over.

"We were not able to consistently get the ball inside. I think that was the difference in the ball game
to not get it inside and the open looks that they had. They shot 7 out of 20 were wide open. You can not give those, you can not give that many good looks."

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