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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, January 16, 2012

UConn crushes North Carolina

Considering that North Carolina was coming off a stunning loss to Clemson, nobody was expecting the Tar Heels to come into Gampel Pavilion and end the Huskies' NCAA women's basketball record winning streak.

However, there was no way of anticipating the event which unfolded on Monday night as UConn rolled to an 86-35 win over the Tar Heels. It was the most lopsided defeat in North Carolina's history and fell two points shy of UConn's biggest win over a ranked opponent.

"We don't base our win off the score but it is still a little bit surprising for a program like that and a team like that," UConn junior forward Kelly Faris said. "You don't expect going into the game where you are going to play UNC, you don't expect to comer out with a gap in the score like that so it is a surprise."

Bria Hartley led six players in double digits with 17 points. UConn was aided by 26 North Carolina turnovers (against just four turnovers).

"They had the pedal to the metal and were really rocking and rolling out there," North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "We were just a step slow and couldn't get anything going. I don't think we quit, but I think we got real frustrated."

Later in the post-game press conference, Hatchell went into a long dissertation bemoaning the excessive physicality prevalent in today's game. She opened longed for a return to the days when finesse ruled the sport (perhaps in 1994 when the Tar Heels won the program's only national title).

Naturally Auriemma was asked for his opinion and he did not hold back.

"That is her opinion," Auriemma said. "I don't think Stefanie Dolson is physical at all so if Sylvia is worried about how physical Stefanie Dolson is, she should try to play in our league for about a month and then you could see what physical really is. I think the stuff off the ball and obviously if you watch the game, you see the fouls off the ball impact the game. I didn' t see a lot of that tonight. There wasn't a lot of that tonight, it was just run up and down and I didn't see any of that tonight. I would like for our big guys to be physical, that is part of being a big guy. That is what you are supposed to do.

"I don't want to disrespect anybody but in their league, they don't guard anybody so in our league we do.
(Former New York Knick stars) Bill Bradley and Dave DeBusschere were really good. I don't know how good they'd be today. Games change, men, women, high school, college, games change in some instances for the better and in some instances for the worse. I don't think we did anything today where you would say 'wow, that Connecticut team  was really physical.' I remember when Shea, Sveta and those
guys were playing, you are talking about physical games we would have against Rutgers, Tennessee or anybody else. In some ways I think they cleaned up some of that. I don't think they let you play like they used to let you play. Yes, there was finesse back in the game when I was coaching at Virginia in 1983. I think those days are long gone. The kids are quicker, faster, they are better It doesn't mean they are better basketball players, don't get me wrong, but the game we played against Notre Dame, nobody could open. The game we played against West Virginia, nobody could get open. That is not good."

BANKS ON THE MEND
The play when freshman guard Brianna Banks suffered the head injury which sidelined her for Monday's game against North Carolina was pretty innocuous.

"It wasn't one of those things that was evident," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "She slipped and fell down and as she was going down she banged into somebody's knee and the next thing you know she is in the training room. Nobody really saw it, there was just too much activity going on. They went in and Rosemary said they went through the routine and they asked her a bunch of questions and
couldn't give them any straight answers. I thought, not much has changed why are we worried? In today's day and age, I think you want to be careful with those things. It was good to keep her out and we'll see how she feels on Wednesday."

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