Huskies learn lesson from Notre Dame loss
In that game the Huskies trailed by two at halfime but rallied to take five-point lead with 11:55 to play. Unable to deliver the knockout blow, UConn allowed Notre Dame to walk out of Gampel with a 73-72 victory.
Faris, who struggled defensively against Notre Dame junior Kayla McBride, took blame for the defeat and vowed not to repeat her mistakes when placed in a similar situation.
That time came last night with Duke only down by two at halftime. All Faris did was have 11 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals in the second half alone as the Huskies pulled away for a 79-49 win.
This is our home court and we've already lost one this year," Faris said. "It is a horrible feeling so you are sitting there at halftime saying 'dang, I am coming into this locker room feeling like that again."
While Faris' performance attracted the headlines, she had plenty of help.
Bria Hartley, who has been battling ankle issues all season long, showed flashes of the play which earned All-American honors as a sophomore during the game. Although she only had six points, she did have a career-high nine assists in the game.
Another highlight was the defense that freshman Breanna Stewart played on Duke's Elizabeth Williams in the second half after Stefanie Dolson went to the bench with four fouls with 16:15 left to play and the Huskies only up by eight.
Williams scored three seconds after Stewart checking into the game but after that had as many points (two) as she did turnovers the rest of the way. Meanwhile Stewart had 13 points, three rebounds and three blocks during the remainder of the game.
"She is actually pretty good at following directions," Auriemma said. "You tell her 'I want you to do this' she will do it. There are stretches there when you tell her 'look, I want you to try to score every time you touch the ball and on defense I want you to block her shot every time down the floor. It was like 'OK, that was all you needed to tell me.'"
Auriemma admitted that the coaches had to do a better job of getting Stewart touches after she failed to take a shot in the second half. He also apologized publicly to official Bonita Spence for his over the top reaction to Dolson's fourth foul. He obviously saw the replay before coming into the press conference and admitted that Dolson did commit the foul.