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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

UConn fell one rebound shy of reaching title game

In a game when sophomore center Stefanie Dolson missed more than seven minutes in the second half with foul troubles and UConn's most experienced players had long stretches of ineffective play the Huskies still came one rebound away from advancing to Tuesday's national championship.

Four free throws by junior Kelly Faris gave the Huskies a two-point lead with 11.6 seconds to go. If UConn, the stingiest defensive team in the country this season, got one stop it would be playing for the program's eighth national title on Tuesday night.

UConn actually got the desired result as Skylar Diggins missed in the lane but Natalie Novosel grabbed the rebound and scored to tie the game with 3 seconds left. UConn had one last chance but by the time Tiffany Hayes passed the ball to Bria Hartley time had expired.

"Those are plays we have to make at the end of the game and that rebound hurt us a lot," Hartley said.

Hartley was also involved in key play in overtime. With Notre Dame leading by a point Hartley and Hayes had a 2 on 1 with only Skylar Diggins back for Notre Dame. Hayes passed the ball a little early to Hartley allowing Diggins to come over and make a block on Hartley. Notre Dame quickly counterattacked and Brittany Mallory drained her second huge 3-pointer in overtime.

“That was game saving,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “That was huge. That would have turned the game around had they made that layup.”
Hartley gave credit to Diggins for making the sensational play.

"It was a great play on her part," Hartley said. "When you see that you have numbers like that, you have to score. It is a play you have to make and I am mad I didn't make that play."

Speaking of being disappointed, UConn coach Geno Auriemma was quick to second guess himself for pulling out 6-3 freshman Kiah Stokes in place of 5-10 Caroline Doty leaving the Huskies with a five-guard lineup on Notre Dame's last series. The lack of size proved costly when Novosel grabbed the offensive rebound and scored the basket which sent the game into overtime.

"It is funny what you do as a coach," Auriemma said. "Kelly's on the free throw line shooting to put us up two and genius me I send in Caroline for Kiah figuring we could switch on every screen and (then) we give up an offensive rebound. Maybe Kiah would have gotten the rebound, who knows so you second guess yourself in almost every (instance)."


Hartley gave the Huskies

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Brent Samuelson said...

3 academic seniors on UConn.

1 does not even get the chance to play, even though she is a very good defender and 6' 3"

1 plays 22 unproductive minutes and does not score again

1 scores only 10 and her 6 turnovers negate her assists and rebounds

When is Auriemma going to stop being stubborn?

Yes he coached 7 national champions but he is now 7-6 in the Final Four and 0-3 against ND

11:13 PM 
Anonymous Justin Thomas said...

It would not surprise me if Auriemma left UConn at the end of the 2012-13 season when is contract is up. I know, blasphemy.

This season took a huge toll on Auriemma. The strain was clearly visible on his face and in his voice and in his words. I think the stress of not being able to reach the younger kids is wearing on him. And the way UConn lost those 5 games (only 5) was still a stress on the perfectionist.

Add to that the stress from coaching the USA WNT in the Olympics. Talk about stress. You know how Auriemma will feel if the USA WNT doe not win gold. That would most definitely dull the shine on his legacy.

It is conceivable that Auriemma could be burnt out by the end of the 2012-13 season, after 2 full years of non-stop coaching, between UConn and Team USA.

Jim, what are your thoughts? Do you think Auriemma could be burnt out by the end of the 2012-13 season? Do you see Auriemma moving on to other things soon? Or do you believe Aurieamma and UConn will agree to extend his contract at least thru Stewart graduating?

6:49 AM 
Anonymous Justin Thomas said...

If UConn did not lose 21 turnovers, many unforced, UConn wins.

If UConn did not lose their composure for the 5th time this season, UConn wins.

If UConn made two more free throws in regulation, UConn wins.

If Dolson didn’t go completely over the back for her fourth foul, UConn wins.

If KML didn’t lose her composure and throw her elbow, UConn wins.

If Hayes attempts a shot at the end of the game, UConn has a chance to win.

8:08 AM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

No I do not see him retiring after next season. Somehow I think having one of his best recruiting classes ever might energize him just a bit. He doesn't get the chance to sit back and recharge his batteries with his Olympic responsibilities but that will be over with soon enough.

12:11 PM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

7-6 in the Final Four? You have to win two games in Final Four to win national title so pretty sure UConn would be 14-6 in the Final Four.

5:13 PM 
Blogger dominicfrank said...

This team was not supposed to be here. Notre Dame had one shot at beating us and it was the same as it has been for their group of Seniors. They needed the whistles. They more than doubled our FT attemps. End of story, that was Geno's big concern is that this ND team begs for calls and really has less talent than I think anyone realizes. UCONN will meet up with Baylor next year for the title since it will be the giants last year but with Stewart, Jefferson, and Tuck we are primed for another historic run.

Let us not forget that Geno made his teams to be winning right now with DElle Donne, she put a wrench in that plan so I think that is why we see Geno stressed, he wasnt supposed to having a down year (Final Four OT loss, huh?) With DD we easily win last night and would have a tough but another NT in our hands. The NCAA Womens crowd got EXTREMELY lucky DD left UCONN.

6:13 PM 
Anonymous Brent Samuelson said...

Yes, I know 14-6 overall in the Final Four. But many people including some in the media take a short cut and leave out "semi-final". Thus FF and NC. Wasn't trying to discredit UConn's accomplishments. Yes, 13 semi-finals since 1991 is awesome. Just pointing out that Auriemma is near .500 in the semi-final. Muffet has Auriemma's number in the semi-final much like Auriemma had Summitt's number in the championship. Coaches are the common factor.

7:48 PM 
Anonymous Justin Thomas said...

Jim:

Some fans once again have used the FT attempt discrepency as the reason why UConn loss.

"They more than doubled our FT attemps. End of story" - DominicFrank

FT complaints are on the Courant blog as well.

Here are reaons why I think UConn lost. What are your thoughts? Thanks.

21 turnovers, many unforced.
Lost composure for 5th game.
Doty not scoring in 22 minutes.
Dolson's over the back foul.
KML's elbow and technical.
Hayes running out the clock.
Hayes not asserting and leading.

Auriemma not giving Buck 1 minute to see if she can rebound and defend.
Auriemma not giving Banks 1 minute to see if she can score or steal.

- Justin

7:59 PM 
Blogger MikeMC said...

Jim, these same two "experts," Thomas and Samuelson, posted almost verbatim comments on Altavilla's Blog in the Courant and obviously enjoy inflaming fans and berating Auriemma. They probably do likewise on the CT Post. They add nothing of value to to the process and should be ignored.

8:28 PM 

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