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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Notre Dame loss not sitting well with Huskies

UConn coach Geno Auriemma tried to play down the ramifications of Saturday's loss at Notre Dame but his players were signing a different tune when meeting with the media on Monday.

Kelly Faris, who addressed the team in the locker room after UConn squandered an eight-point second-half lead en route to an overtime loss, said that the team needs to take ownership and learn from the second-half meltdowns in losses to Baylor and Notre Dame.

Freshman Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who was held to seven points and had a costly turnover in the final minute of the second half, admitted that she took this most recent loss extremely hard.

"I let myself get out of the game, let my teammates down and that should never happen again," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "I really don't know what happened, I just got into a funk and I blacked out, zoned out.

"I expect a lot out of myself so when I am not performing at my best and not helping out the team in some sort of way, it really hurts. After the Notre Dame something in me just changed, I just have to fix something within myself, I have to be more committed to the team. I have to be more for my all teammates for anything to get better for anything to change.

"The same thing did happen in the Baylor game and it did happen in the Notre Dame game, hopefully I have gotten those feelings out of the way and hopefully now coming to practice with a different mindset is going to get me ready for those other games."

Auriemma said that of the concerns he has with this group, getting Mosqueda-Lewis shots in high-profile games isn't even on the radar screen.

"It is so much earlier for guys like Bria Hartley, Diana Taurasi to get any shot any time you want because they have their ball in their hands all the time and they don't have to worry about anybody getting it to them," Auriemma said. "There were times when I thought she had a chance to make a play and didn't, there were times when she was open and we didn't get her the ball and then there were times when she just hid because she was probably a little bit gun shy. That is why you play all of these games and that's why it is hard to win on the road most times. I am not worried about it."

Auriemma said that is focus with the team was more on how UConn built up the second half leads at Baylor and Notre Dame rather than the fact that the Huskies failed to seal the deal.

"I think it is probably trying to figure out a little bit of how you manage the expectation of this what the expectation was of last year's team and the year before and the year before," Auriemma said. "You have to be careful that you don't get frustrated that 'we should have won at Baylor, we should have won at Notre Dame.' Because we didn't, we aren't as good a team as we were last year.

"I just think that is a very difficult balancing act for our team. They have to understand that we may be the only team in America that will go up to Baylor and be up 11 and will be up 1 with 4 minutes to go. We might be the only team in America that will be at Notre Dame up two and with the ball with 25 seconds left. If that is the team that we are then they need to understand who we are but then letting those two get away, that's OK, we are that team too but which team are we more of. I think it is important that we realize we are probably more of the team that did those two really good things than the team that gave both of those back to other guys. It's not like we gave the game back to two teams that didn't deserve it. It's not like we played a Division II team and we are up and say 'here take the game back.' It's a balancing act. Don't think you are so good that you don't have to work at it but also don't let those two games define, at this point in the season, who we are. I would venture to say that what team this year is dealing with the loss of a player more important than the one we are dealing with. How many teams lost what we lost and are second in the country? Nobody. Our job as coaches is to make them see what that line is and see that we are doing a good job balancing it."

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