Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

UConn women celebrate another Big East title

By UConn's incredibly lofty standards it was a difficult regular season as the Huskies lost, gasp, four whole games. One of those losses came to St. John's and Connecticut ran the Red Storm right off the XL Center court in Monday's semifinal. Notre Dame beat UConn twice including a 13-point loss eight days ago in Hartford so that made a 63-54 win over the Fighting Irish in the Big East tournament final all the sweeter for the Huskies.

"We as a team knew it was in us but we had to prove it to everybody else," said UConn senior Tiffany Hayes, who had 14 points and eight rebounds. "We had to go out and show everybody not (just) do it for
35 minutes and at the end give it up like we have done in the past. Tonight was definitely a 40-minute game and we definitely took it to them for all 40 minutes and we didn't give up.

"It was amazing. I think this one feels better than all of the other ones because we had to fight for this, we had to fight hard. We were the underdogs and we had just lost to them three previous times so we had a lot of prove coming ‌to this game."

Eight days ago the UConn players sat up at the podium in the XL Center media room and said they needed to be tougher, needed to push back when things got tough in the next game at Notre Dame.

That is exactly what the Huskies did. UConn could have folded after playing a 10-point lead and falling behind by three points early in the second half. Instead they were the ones beating Notre Dame to loose balls, grabbing tough rebounds in traffic and making the winning plays.

"I questioned whether or not they believed in themselves," said UConn coach Geno Auriemma, who registered his 800th win in the game. "We would go to practice and they would give up on themselves and
we have a half hour of atrocious practice. We would practice for two hours and the first 1 1/2 hours would be great and the last half hour would be awful because it would get really hard and they would give up. I kept seeing it over and over again so I started to doubt them and (thought) 'maybe they don't have it, maybe they just can't sustain it, maybe they can't keep it together.'

"What they have done in the last week it really means a lot to them because I think they have come so far mentally because they were forced to - they had no choice. Up to now maybe they felt like they had a choice but when this happened with the Notre Dame game (on Feb. 27) and with the way the season ended, I think they felt like the had no choice. I am probably happiest about the growth that they have shown rather than the fact that they got this trophy."

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