Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

UConn questioning its own toughness

When Candace Parker, Shannon Bobbitt and other questioned UConn's toughness after beating the Huskies in this very same building back in January of 2007, there was a collective sense of outrage coming out of the Connecticut camp.

Well after Monday night's loss to Notre Dame in the regular-season finale at the XL Center, there were more questions about the fighting spirit of a Connecticut team but this time the questioning came from the players as well as head coach Geno Auriemma.

"They put great pressure on us and we backed up, we didn't fight back," UConn sophomore center Stefanie Dolson said. "We didn't play Connecticut basketball at all. When things weren't going right, we just took it 1 on 1 to the basket. It cant be like that. When things like that happen, you have to fight back as a team. The five people who are out there (have to) know what's going on, know what we are running and execute. We didn't play Connecticut basketball."

When asked about his team's lack of fight, Auriemma didn't hold back.

"No, we have none. If they had it, it would have come out. When Maya left, she took all of it with her and we have been trying to find 'where is it?' If anybody comes from Mars lands in this room in the next five minutes and says 'man that coach must be in deep (trouble) with his bosses. They must be 4-27 and we are (26) and 4 but our team has no fight., I will tell you a lot of good things that our team does but that is not one of them, You know what kind of fighters we are? We are the kind of fighters that throws punches and if you back up we will keep punching you but if you punch us back we are going to run and hide, I don't think you win any world championships doing that."

Tiffany Hayes, the team's only senior, believes her squad does have some moxie and spunk.

"We have to not let ourselves get pushed back, we have to fight," Hayes said. "We can't just talk about it, we have to do it. It has been happening to us a lot this year, we just have to dig deep inside ourselves and learn how to fight back when somebody gets us back on our heels. I know we have it. I have seen it before, I have seen it in practice and in games, we just have to learn to dig down and get it whenever we need it."

Auriemma had seen enough when he called his final timeout with 3:11 to play. He pulled Hayes, Dolson, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Kelly Faris and Bria Hartley and finished the game with Brianna Banks, Lauren Engeln, Kiah Stokes, Heather Buck and Michala Johnson.

"If you only knew how many times we come out of a timeout and we do absolutely nothing that looks like anything that you could possibly imagine we need to be doing and you ask three guys and they have no idea what you were talking about in the huddle so at that point it is pointless," Auriemma said.

Hayes, who had a game-high 22 points, was hoping to remain on the court so the Huskies could make one last push even if UConn was down 13 at that point.

"I was just saying that we had three minutes and if we came together, we had a chance," Hayes said. "I guess the other five, he wanted to give them a chance and we had to sit and cheer."

UConn signee Morgan Tuck saw her high school career (except for the WBCA and McDonald's All-American games) end when her Bolingbrook (Ill.) team lost to Whitney Young 74-65 in 4 overtimes in the Illnois 4A quarterfinals.

Tuck finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds but failed to score in the final three overtime sessions.

UConn incoming freshman Breanna Stewart is one of three finalists for the Miss New York Basketball award.

Joining Stewart, a 6-foot-4 senior forward for Cicero-North Syracuse (N.Y.) High, as finalists are Shenendehowa senior guard Emily Weber and Aquinas High guard Nicole Bini. Weber is committed to Canisius while Bini will play at Saint Rose next year.

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Anonymous Joseph M. Smith said...

When one starting guard takes only 1 shot and one starting forward takes only 2 shots, you are not going to defeat top teams. When your lone senior has a great first half but a lousy second half, you are not going to defeat top teams. When the coaches fail to give players 8 thru 11 meaningful minutes thru out the season, they have no bench to count on at the end of the season.

8:52 AM 
Anonymous Joseph M. Smith said...

Jim, how would you characterize this UConn team?

(a) Overachievers who won 26 games

(b) Underachievers who lost 4 games late after leading in the 2nd half

(c) Team with "no All-Americans" (Auriemma's words) and no leadership

(d) Combination of a, b, c

(e) None of the above

6:44 PM 

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