Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Huskies prove their mettle

I'm sure those in attendance at the XL Center last night would rather have seen UConn have its normal sizzling shooting performance but the reality is that the slugfest style of play the Huskies found themselves in might have proven more beneficial more than just another 30-40 point blowout.

Maryland's strategy was pretty obvious, to be as physical as possible with Stefanie Dolson and Breanna Stewart. With few calls being made, Dolson and Stewart simply had to either fight back or go away. They chose to fight back. In my opinion that is the best thing that came out of the Maryland game.

"We can definitely learn from this game on how tough we know we can be," Dolson said. "Every team that is going to go out and play us is going to come out and give us a good game, think they can push us and hit us we have to know that we can push and hit them back."

UConn coach Geno Auriemma liked the grit his star players displayed.

"From a coaching standpoint you kind of know who your tough players are and  guys who are going to be affected by something like that," Auriemma said. "Guys who I thought were pretty tough handled it pretty well and  guys you were worried about didn't handle it so well but it was good for them to see it.  The coaching staff, we know who is going to do what when the punches start flying and we want the other guys to be like that."

During her freshman season Brianna Banks had the best seat in the house when the Huskies played top 10 teams.

UConn had seven such games a season ago, Banks did not play in two of those and managed a mere 22 minutes in the other five. Banks was 1 of 8 from the field and 0 of 4 from 3-point range. It was a different story last night as she played 19 minutes, was 3 of 4 from 3-point range including a clutch trey after Maryland pulled with seven in the second half. She ended up with 11 points off the bench.

"I don't have any reservations about putting her in the game," Auriemma said. "She has exceeded my expectations already. I thought it was going to take her half the year to kind of use that transition from where she was last year and becoming a player you can trust. She took the ball to the basket a couple of times, sometimes something good happened, sometimes it didn't but she didn't stop being aggressive. She is getting to the point where she doesn't listen to me that much which I guess is a good sign. She is a pretty good player. She launched the one 3 right in front of our bench and I was (ticked) and then I saw it go in and I said 'all right.' We had just talked about we got them in a 1 and 1 so Bria Hartley kept going to the basket and we kept going to the free-throw line. Once we got them in a 1 and 1, we wanted to keep attacking them on the dribble. Right in front of me and if I could have reached out, grabbed her hand and pulled it back ... But she has a lot of confidence right now, God bless her."

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