Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Welcome to the real world

Back in December I remember watching the first half of the St. John's/Baylor game at Madison Square Garden and thinking to myself that when Da'Shena Stevens comes back after her offseason knee surgery, St. John's is not going to be a fun team to play especially later in the year. Then St. John's point guard Nadirah McKenith went down with what appeared to be a torn ACL in the same game and I wondered if it just wasn't meant to be for this St. John's team.

Well, McKenith's injury was not as serious as it appeared to be. She missed just three games and Stevens is back playing to the form that she displayed throughout her remarkable career at St. John's. A team with a rock-solid point guard like McKenith, go-to scorer like Stevens and athletic wings like Shenneika Smith and Eugeneia McPherson is one that I thought could test the vaunted UConn defense and offense.

Did they ever. Other than failing to protect the 3-point line late in the first half and second half, there was little wrong with the Huskies' defensive effort but offensively, they were never on the same page.

As a result UConn lost its first home game since 2007, suffered its first loss at Gampel in six years and first home loss to an unranked team since 1993.

"There are a lot of teams that are ranked that aren't as good as St. John's so you look at it and winning that many games is hard to fathom no matter whether you are ranked, unranked, conference, non-conference," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "We have done some thing that the average person and other basketball coaches find (inconceivable). When you tell them they say that can't be possible and yet we have done it. It is a blessing and a curse. It is great that we have been able to put up those kinds of numbers, the consistency of our program day in and day out but the coaches, we don't know any of that stuff. We don't pay attention to any of that stuff. They (UConn's players) don't know that the list time St. John's beat us was 1993, what do they know. They just know that we play at home and we are supposed to win and a day like (Saturday) is a reminder of 'no you aren't supposed to win all the time, you are only supposed to win when you play really well and you beat the other team at certain parts of the game.' Well, if we don't beat you in the paint, in the turnovers and we don't beat you in the second-chance (points) then we don't deserve to win I don't care if we won 900 in a row at home. If you don't do the things you are supposed to do to give yourself a chance to win, you don't deserve to win."

The good news is that the goals that UConn began with are still attainable. If UConn wins its final three regular-season games, the Huskies will earn at least a share of the Big East regular-season title and the Huskies are still a major contender to win both the Big East and NCAA tournaments.

The big question is whether this loss will have a similar impact that the loss to Villanova in the 2003 Big East final had for the Huskies that season. That year UConn's players refocused and promptly won six straight games to win the second of three straight national titles. Or will the loss resemble what happened in 2007 when UConn's tumble to Rutgers in the Big East final served as a warning that the Huskies weren't emotionally ready to make a run at a national championship.


Anonymous Luigi Codardo said...

In 2007, you never heard Geno say, we have [name] and you don't.

Ditto for 2012.

6:14 PM 

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