UConn outlast Penn State in foul-plagued affair
Three fouls were called in the first 31 seconds, four in the opening 57 seconds. By halftime two Penn State starters had three fouls, Lucas had two fouls as did three UConn starters. What followed was more of a stop and go slugfest than a showdown between a pair of offensively-gifted teams.
It almost seemed fitting that the team's respective leading scorers fouled out one second apart in the second half.
Both Penn State coach Coquese Washington and UConn's Geno Auriemma said the way the game was officiated prevented the teams from showcasing their skill.
"It was a frustrating game to play," Washington said. It was a frustrating game to coach. It was a frustrating game to watch. Geno got a tec, I was in the referee's ear, I got a couple of warnings. It was hard to get into a flow and it was frustrating when there is that much contact. It took until the last 14 minutes of the game for there finally to be a flow and unfortunately for us it was UConn that got into the flow.
"I didn't think the referees called the game like there were two top 10 teams playing and I think that is unfortunate. I don't think the fans and anybody watching on TV got to see the caliber of basketball both teams are capable of playing because of the way the game is called and because of the physical game and I think that is unfortunate."
Auriemma did not disagree.
"We just needed about three minutes without a whistle, that would have helped," Auriemma said. "When the game is played like the game was played tonight, it was impossible to get any kind of rhythm going, any kind of rhythm going. You are just trying to survive the offensive set and hope you can make a play because in a term of running any offense, that wasn't going to happen. In the second half when we kind of changed our strategy a little bit and made it much more of a full-court game than it was in the first half, we were just looking for a spurt. We were looking one three-minute stretch where we would go on a run and we got it. That kind of turned it into the type of game we wanted to play.
"I know two of those guys did the game last night, the Baylor/Notre Dame game so maybe they are suffering jet lag, I don't know. I think we have some real issues in women's basketball and unless they get addressed you are going to see more of these games and that is not fair."
The stretch of free flowing play began with Lucas missing an open 3-pointer which would have tied the game. Mosqueda-Lewis came down and hit one of her four 3-pointers and suddenly the lead was six.
“We came back after Maggie missed the shot,” said Mosqueda-Lewis, who wasn’t cleared to play until a few hours before opening tip. “First of all, she shouldn’t have gotten the shot because we should have had her but she missed it. We had to come down and capitalize on that.”
Brianna Banks added a floater in the lane on the next possession and suddenly it was a three-possession game. Penn State was able to pull back within six but five straight turnovers including three in a span of 13 seconds ended any hopes the Lady Lions had to leaving Connecticut with a victory.
"Coach (Auriemma) at halftime said we have to be more aggressive and as aggressive as they were on us, we just have to fight back," Banks said.