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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Notre Dame loss proved to be turning point in UConn's season

With his team down 13 points with 3:11 left to play in the regular-season finale UConn coach Geno Auriemma resorted to drastic measures in an attempt to reach his team.

He pulled Stefanie Dolson, Kelly Faris, Bria Hartley, Tiffany Hayes and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis drawing the ire of some UConn fans who felt he was giving up, something he would never allow his team to do.

Former UConn star Rebecca Lobo knew exactly what Auriemma was doing. Considering that UConn looked like a completely different team when the Big East tournament began it was evident that Auriemma's teaching moment had its desired impact.

“To me it (UConn's improved play) started the last three minutes of the regular season game against Notre when UConn had a chance still to win the game,”  Lobo said. “He put his starters on the bench and had them watch, to me that was when it started. I thought ‘he is giving up this game for the games that really matter down the line.’ That was the catalyst and they refound their identity. It had been missing for a while. It wasn't like it was missing for a week or two, there was a stretch in the season 'who is this team?'”

UConn responded with three straight wins including an impressive win over the same Notre Dame that had beaten them twice during the regular season. Then four came wins in the NCAA tournament and a spot in a NCAA Division I women’s basketball record-tying fifth straight Final Four.

“That was frustrating knowing that there were three minutes of the game that we were on the bench but we didn't deserve to be on the court,” UConn junior forward Kelly Faris said. “After that I think we realized how unacceptable it was. It was definitely motivation to do something about it.
“I think we have been coming together a lot more, we rely on each other a lot more. I think we grasped the concept that it is going to take all of us and we are going to step up at certain times and we can't rely on just one person.”
Lobo was not the only former UConn star saying that the Connecticut squad they saw late in the regular season did not play UConn’s brand of basketball either physically or emotionally.
“I think when we hear it, we felt it and it is one of those things that it was embarrassing and we felt like we let everybody down and they have the right to say that,” Faris said.

UCONN RECRUITS END CAREERS IN STYLEFuture Huskies Moriah Jefferson, Morgan Tuck and Breanna Stewart made their final game as high school players a memorable one.
Stewart had 10 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots, Tuck had eight points and five rebounds while Jefferson finished with four points, four assists and three steals to help the White team to a 74-62 win over the Navy squad in the WBCA High School All-American Game on Saturday.
All three said they can't wait to get to UConn. Jefferson and Tuck are planning to arrive on June 4 and for Tuck that is one day after she graduates from high school. Stewart will arrive on June 13/

FRIENDLY GREETING BETWEEN RIVALS
There have been plenty of times when UConn coach Geno Auriemma and Tennessee’s Pat Summitt greeted each other with icy silence.
However, when the two crossed paths today they exchanged a hug and had a few moments to engage in friendly banter.
“We just kind of talked about (Summitt’s) foundation,” Auriemma said. “She pretty much said she is doing great, she is doing good she is under great care and is being taken care of by the best people. It was only a couple of minutes but I told her that once the NCAA tournament is over we will get a chance to talk a little more.”

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