Foul disparity displeasing Auriemma
Considering that UConn was playing against two of the most physical teams in the Big East in Notre Dame and Georgetown, that did not sit well with UConn head coach Geno Auriemma.
"I think the number of fouls that seem to be called on a regular basis is troubling me a little bit," Auriemma said. "We keep playing these teams that don't foul so at some point we have to find a team that fouls so that we can even it up a lot more. We just seem to be fouling more than everybody else. I know we need to fix that. We need to clean that up. In the second half we did a good job of not going that so we kept the rhythm of the game going."
There are a few theories on foul calls. There is nothing that says there needs to be a comparable number of fouls called against both teams. I remember when I covered high school girls' basketball on a regular basis and after one game more than one parent complained to me that their daughter's team was called for significantly more fouls than their opposition. I pointed out that their daughter's team rarely drove the ball to the basket so it would follow that they would not draw a ton of fouls. I see a little bit of that in UConn's case as well. UConn attempted 32 shots and 19 of them were 3-pointers. On the other end of the court, only six of Georgetown's 30 shots were 3-pointers.
However, I also saw UConn called for fouls that while looking at the same live seemed to be iffy at best. One that comes to mind is Breanna Stewart going up and tipping a rebound towards a teammate. It was a very athletic play but from my vantage point, it seemed as if the only thing Stewart did wrong was be more athletic than her Georgetown counterpart. The most vocal Auriemma got was when Brianna Banks was attempting to make a steal but after significant body contact, she was unable to do so, I won't repeat everything Auriemma said but he was none too pleased as he felt that Banks was pushed out of bounds and a foul ought to be called against the Hoyas.
It should be pointed out that UConn has outscored Notre Dame and Georgetown 64-46 in the paint in these games so it is not simply a case of the Huskies living behind the 3-point line.
Auriemma said that trying to get more balance and get the ball into the paint on a more regular basis is a priority. This might be where UConn misses Tiffany Hayes the most. While I am among those who had some fun with how many times Hayes fell down, the fact is she knew how to get to the free-throw line. Bria Hartley is the perimeter player on the current UConn team best equipped to use dribble drives to get into the lane and get fouled but she is still looking to regain her confidence and form from her outstanding sophomore season.
UConn has been called for more fouls than its opponents in each of the last five games so it is something which bears watching.
Auriemma was also less than thrilled at the 14 first-half turnovers committed by the Huskies.
"It's funny you saw that, it got sloppy. You mean right after the opening tip? " Auriemma said in the post-game press conference. "Yeah. Right after the opening tip, The first five possessions were a disaster, I thought. Things that I am not accustomed to. I was dumbfounded. I had no idea I could see some of the things I saw in the first five minutes of the first half and it kind of set the tone. What is does, things like that just frustrate you. You saw when we come down and get a great shot every time down, people feel great, the ball just moves, the right person ends up with an open shot but when the ball has trouble finding people, it is a very frustrating way of playing basketball. I would like to say that Georgetown had a lot to do with us turning the ball over and in a lot of cases they did but most of those were self inflicted, I thought."