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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Revenge not driving UConn

After Sunday night's quarterfinal win over Rutgers set up a rematch with St. John's, UConn coach Geno Auriemma downplayed any part that revenge will play in Monday's semifinal.

"If we beat them (St. John's) tomorrow night they don't give us the Senior Night win back, that is theirs," Auriemma said. "They took it and it is theirs. We can't get it back so if they were carrying it in their pockets and we could take it from them, that would be different but that is gone and over and done with. They beat us fair and square  but beating them tomorrow just gets you to Tuesday night's game. It doesn't really change anything that has happened in the past so it just gets you into Tuesday night's game and it happens to be St. John's."

It was pointed out to Auriemma that the last time St. John's reached the Big East semifinals was 1988 which is the last year that UConn failed to make it to the semifinals.

"That is a long time ago and a lot has hapened during that time. I wish I had some of the players I had them.  I like these guys we are just a very dysfunctional team right now because we are caught up in the moment and I am trying to get them to understand that they can define the moment and not have the moment defining them. They are like what any young kids would be, they are worried about whether they can handle the moment. I keep making sure they don't think if we don't win this tournament, if we don't win the national championship then they are not living up to Connecticut's basketball standards. I am trying to tell them that nobody expects us to win anything we are the third seed, nobody expects us to win a national championship."

Auriemma was in fairly good spirits even if his team went more than 7 1/2 minutes in the second half without scoring and made the 49-34 win over Rutgers a lot tougher than it needed to be. It didn't help that UConn was the last of the teams to take the court in the tournament.

"That is the only down side to the way the tournament breaks down with the seeds is that you have to wait so long to play and then you have to wait until 8:30 at night, then the game goes into overtime," Auriemma said. "It is the same with the NCAA tournament. When you come back for the NCAAs you know you have 11 days but it is what it is. You always go into this game knowing it is not going to be easy. The coaches mention it all the time, don't get upset it is not going to be pretty, it is going to be a struggle, it is going to be this, it is going to be that."

Having asked West Virginia coach Mike Carey about the possibility of scheduling UConn as a non-conference opponent since the Mountaineers are leaving to play in the Big 12, Auriemma gave a glib answer that made it seem like that was unlikely.

"We will play you home and away. we will play you at Gampel and the (XL) Center and the third year in Bridgeport, the fourth year in Mohegan and we'll rotate all four years. I love Mike and I think Mike has done one of the best jobs in America as a coach with all that he lost and all the young guys that he has. He is one of the most competitive guys I have ever met but until they open a great Italian restaurant in Morgantown, I am not going back there."

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