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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

DePaul coach not using travel issues as a crutch

The first time DePaul coach Doug Bruno was asked to recap the, let's call it challenging journey to Connecticut, he really wasn't in much of a mood to discuss his ever-changing itinerary.

It mattered little to Bruno that the Blue Demons arrived less than 90 minutes before the opening tip, not when his team got run off the court by the third-ranked Huskies.

"I was (more concerned) with what transpired between the two hours from 3:30 to 5:30 because we just got our butts handed to us," Bruno said. "I just don't feel like this group has ever competed against UConn and that just bothers me I don't expect us to beat UConn necessarily, it is hard to say that, but I have to expect us to do some little things better. They are great, they are going to fight for a national championship, I think that is agreed it is a strong given that they have the talent in the end to be competing for a national championship and that is a really talented team, a really well coached team so they have a lot to do with you.

"The score is not UConn's fault, it is our fault. It is our job to make the score different. Whenever there are numerical differences in the score, I can't stand coming in here and I am tired hearing the other coaches (complaining). Our job, when you are on the losing side of those metrics is to not let those metrics happen so that is our job. When I say competitive, I am saying little things like scouts and don't let Bria Hartley go right and at the start of the game you let her dribble to her right or if there is . I just wish we were more competitive."

The frustration with the way his team played aside, the traveling issues made for an intriguing side note.

The team was originally planning to leave Chicago around noon local time (1 p.m. here in Connecticut) on Saturday but with Bradley Airport being closed all day Saturday, that simply was not a realistic option.

Plan B, or perhaps Plan C, D or E might be more accurate, began when the team left campus at 8:11 local time and took off at 9:48. They arrived in Windsor Locks at 12:20 p.m. but the bus ordered to pick them up was stuck behind a jackknifed tractor trailer. They boarded the bus at 1:04 p.m. and arrived at Gampel Pavilion at 2:09 p.m. Even with the start time pushed back five minutes from 3:35 to 3:40 to accommodate ESPNU due to the length of the Georgia/LSU game, that didn't leave the DePaul players with much time to stretch out their legs and prepare to face UConn.

When he was asked about the traveling adventure for the second time, Bruno did address it.

"I don't want to minimize what our kids went through. I just saw (former UConn men's basketball coach) Dee Rowe and was talking to him and that is what teams (did), they took busses, spent five hours on the bus and had to get off and play. It is something that our athlete in this day and age is not used to. But I can't have that be any part, I just can't have excuses like that. The game is played, the game is scheduled and  and the only reason we wouldn't do everything in our power to get here is the safety of our players, one of the most important things is the safety of our players and if that was going to be in jeopardy we wouldn't have shown up. As long as that wasn't going to be the case and as long as our players were going to be safe, we would get here.

"Last year we got beat by the asymmetrical 88-44 at home so what is the excuse?"

The rest of Bruno's press conference, as they tend to become, turned into a chance for him to pay homage to the way the Huskies go about their business on the basketball court beginning with leading scorer Brittany Hrynko's 0 for 15 shooting performance.

"That is a function of the defense. It is not the function of 'we missed shots' that is another thing that drives me crazy 'we got shots but we missed them.' It is because you are put under duress by the competition. I thought Katherine (Harry, the Big East's leading rebounder who was held without a rebound) with the rebound situation, that is a function of them being really focused on them not letting her rebound however I thought Katherine did a nice job finally in the last minute and a half to two minutes of fighting, there has to be a vigorous fighting attempt to get every rebound, that is a function here."


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