Huskies dazzle in second half in road opener
In so many ways the events that transpired Sunday afternoon at Reed Arena were just what the doctor ordered for the Huskies.
UConn was pushed at times by host Texas A&M and freshmen Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson played like - well, like freshmen in the first half. But when the Huskies stepped onto the court for the second half what transpired was a clinic of crisp, nearly perfect offensive execution.
The Huskies made 12 of their first 15 shots in the second half to turn what was once a competitive game into a runaway.
"That is kind of where this program is usually at," UConn senior guard/forward Kelly Faris said. "We usually don't play that bad in the first half but when we come out for the second half that is our time to shine. We are excited because we know in those first couple of minutes if we punch them and punch them they will back down and if they do we have to keep at it and I was proud of how we came out."
Faris was not the only person who was impressed by the response in the second half.
"We felt that the would be segments of the game where we would struggle a little bit," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "That is why you play games like this, that's why you play in places like this. We know it's not going to be easy, it is not supposed to be easy. I think we found out a little bit about our team and how good we are and we want to get better from here. I am happy with the outcome."
Auriemma was also thrilled with the way the Huskies executed late in the first half. Auriemma called a timeout so the Huskies could run a play to get the final points of the half. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis flashed to the elbow and took a pass from Faris before delivering a pass to Dolson on the baseline. Dolson calmly drained a short jumper just before time expired.
"He (Auriemma) drew that one up," Faris said. "The time came a lot faster than we thought so we kind of ran out there. K did a good job of (passing the ball) and Stef did a great job of finishing."
Texas A&M coach Gary Blair, who led A&M to the 2011 national championship and will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013, knows a talented team when he sees on and he in very impressed with this UConn squad.
"They don't have great speed but they have great heart where they play hard" Blair said, "They don't run fast they run hard all the time so they look like they are quicker than they are. When you watch that it is like watching a Kentucky and Duke on the men's side, it is not all about speed because it is only 94 feet but you have to have the ball skills.
"I don't think he (Auriemma) can afford injuries, he has 10 players and (Bria) Hartley, he just can not afford that major injury this year but his first six or seven are as good as anybody's in the country."