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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

UConn's defense is dominant again

All you need to know about the 2011-12 UConn women's basketball team at the current time can be summed up by the following numbers 7 and 34 as is that the Big East's top three scorers coming into Saturday's games have shot 7 of 34 against UConn.

Georgetown's Sugar Rodgers, who came into the game averaging a conference best 19.9 points per game, was held to 10 on 4 of 13 shooting. That Rodgers actually got to double digits did not sit well with Kelly Faris, the Huskies top defensive player.

"We have said that we take a lot of pride in our defense and if they one of their best players and we don't stop them we are going to hear it, those are the types of things that we focus on and go over in film, scouting," Faris said. "The more and more we see it, they expect us to stop it every single time. For Sugar Rodgers to get 10 points, it is not as much as she usually gets but at the same time she still got 10 points off us somehow so we have to go into film tomorrow and see where we didn't stop her."

Rodgers has plenty of company as DePaul's Anna Martin was 0 of 6 and Seton Hall's Jasmine Crew 3 of 15 against UConn.

On Saturday it was more than just Faris locking up on the opposing team's top scorer. Bria Hartley, Tiffany Hayes, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Brianna Banks all had turns guarding the electrifying Rodgers.

"We take it very serious," Auriemma said. "We say we have to do this, this and this. They listen and they try to do it. I don't think there has been more than once or twice where I have really questioned our team's effort this year or questioned our intensity level or our willingness to outwork people and maybe that is why our defense is where it is right now. If you are just going to go out there and think you are going to get your average on Kelly Faris, you have another thing coming. It is not going to happen.

"She softens them up a little bit, gets them tired a little bit and then we bring in the other guys. Kaleena loves the challenge, Tiffany is rising to the challenge so we have a number of players. We even had Brianna Banks out there and usually she is the poster girl for what a defensive player should look like. She is in her stance, her arms are out, her knees are bent, she has her game face on and she's got you and then when the guy dribbles, she goes right by you. She is like in the Indiana Jones one when the guy is doing the whole thing, Harrison Ford is watching and then he shoots him. That is Brianna. Even she was playing it. I think it is contagious. I think we can do more defensively this year than we could last year."

Auriemma admitted that he voiced his displeasure in a rather boisterous manner at halftime. Auriemma wasn't enamored with how the Huskies responded to Louisville's roughhouse tactics and after seeing UConn not respond as well as he would have likes when Georgetown began to get physical in the first half, Auriemma let the Huskies know he was not very happy.

"I probably get it out of my system with the coaches before I go in there," Auriemma said. "Mostly that is what happens, I get it out of my system - 90 percent of it. By the time I get into the locker room there isn't much left. Some days I only get about 20 percent out and there is 80 percent left. I actually feel good because it means I still have my fastball, I don't have to throw curves or changeups."

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