Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Hayes proud of the journey

While Tiffany Hayes, UConn's only senior, wanted nothing more than to have her final game with the Huskies to come in the national championship game she was able to grasp the big picture following Sunday's season-ending loss to Notre Dame.

"You definitely don’t want it to end now," Hayes said. "I think it was a good four years here and I wouldn’t have done it anywhere else. It was a great run here. I wouldn’t have done it anywhere else if I had the chance.”
“We accomplished a lot. Not a lot of people thought we were going to make it this far. Some people might think we’re crazy for saying that, but in the beginning nobody thought we would be here. I am definitely proud of our team, proud of how far we got and proud of how we fought to the end.”

Hayes finished tied for second in games played (154), fourth in minutes (4,381), 10th in points (1,801), eighth in 3-pointers (186), second in free throw made (431), ninth in assists (483), 12th in steals in UConn hisrtory.

The loss hit junior Kelly Faris especially hard. Faris made a serious a huge players to allow UConn to storm back and take a two-point lead with 11.6 seconds left in the second half but she was very critical of her play in the first 30 minutes.

"I didn't do a whole lot throughout the game to help anybody out so that was the few minutes I had to try to get something done," Faris said. "I should have been doing that the entire game and for some reason I didn't.

"It wasn't enough. If I made some steals, that is great but it didn't get us the win. No player should come in here and play the way I did especially if you are a senior or junior and you are relied upon to make things happen. I am disappointed in myself and I hate it because this is how I left Tiffany and it is frustrating."

When the preseason national polls start coming out in about six months I'd expect UConn to rank only behind Baylor considering that Hayes is the only player the Huskies lose and UConn brings in what looks like one of its best recruiting classes ever.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma wasn't sure if this UConn team had all the pieces necessary to make it to the Final Four. After the game he offered a different opinion about next year's squad.

"It would have been great if we would have gotten one more rebound, to be playing Tuesday night would have been wonderful for this group," Auriemma said. "Maybe we are not there yet. I remember Tampa and we kind of had a similar scenario (when UConn lost to Stanford in the 2008 semifinals) and we said we'll be back here. We'll be back next year, there is no doubt in my mind."

The Huskies are always challenged by their non-conference and next season is no different. UConn will play 11 teams which finished in the top 25 in the final Associated Press poll including home games against No. 1 Baylor, No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 5 Maryland, No. 6 Duke, No. 11 Penn State and road games against No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 Notre Dame and No. 22 Texas A&M. The Big East schedule grid will need to be adjusted since West Virginia is leaving. When I spoke to BIg East associate commissioner for women's basketball Danielle Donehew told me during the Big East tournament that if the Big East stays where it is now there will be two home an dhome series in the conference schedule. To me adding No. 14 St. John's to Notre Dame as the team to playUConn twice makes the most sense but we will have to wait and see.

UConn will also play at Hartford and Oregon and play three games in the U.S. Virgin Islands. While the complete field for the Paradise Jam has not been announced Purdue and Wake Forest are among the teams UConn could draw.

Maryland and Penn State bring some new blood to UConn's non-conference schedule. I asked Maryland All-American forward Alyssa Thomas her thoughts on playing the Huskies next season when I spoke to her following the State Farm All-American ceremony.

"We are looking forward to playing them next year, they are a good team and a good program," Thomas said. "Playing other teams from different conferences gives you different looks and prepares you going into the NCAA tournament."

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Anonymous Lorena Wood said...

Any team twice but Rutgers and Seton Hall, please!

7:42 PM 

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