Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Now it is Baylor time

With the recent stretch of games it would be hard to excuse the members of the UConn team as well as the media to be peaking ahead to Monday's showdown between third-ranked UConn and No. 1 Baylor.

Well, now that Baylor dispatched TCU and the Huskies overcome a shaky start to win at Rutgers, the focus will be on Monday's nationally televised non-conference showdown.

After the TCU win Baylor coach Kim Mulkey addressed the looming road test against UConn.

"It’s good for women’s basketball," Mulkey said. "It’s good for television. It’s good, I guess, for our program. We’re going to fight and coach hard and play hard and try to win, but I’m ready for next Saturday. I’m ready to celebrate a Big 12 Championship. If we go to UConn and we win, then it’s great. You’re supposed to win; you’re number one in the country. And if we lose, what have we lost? Nothing.”

While it was not good to hear that junior All-American guard Bria Hartley was under the weather and it was scary to see the way UConn's leading scorer Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis reacted after getting hit in the eye during the season half, the play of freshmen Morgan Tuck (team-high 15 points, 5 rebounds) and Moriah Jefferson (10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals) was encouraging.

Tuck could barely contain her excitement about playing against Baylor.

"This is a game I have been looking forward to," Tuck said. "I can't wait to see the crowd and being out there and playing in a big game."

While more about Baylor will emerge after we talk to the team following tomorrow's practice, UConn coach Geno Auriemma did address the showdown with the Lady Bears on Monday.

"It is kind of good to get away from conference games for a while,"Auriemma said. "It is a game that doesn't really affect your ability to win a championship. Every conference game has an impact on whether you win the Big East championship or not and this game doesn't. I think anytime you do that and just play a game that is kind of a preview of the kind of game you hope to play in March, it is always good regardless of whether it is January, February. I don't know if we have played on this late before, I guess we have. It is a little different. It is not ideal by the middle of February. I think by now you'd like to be in a rhythm but I think it is good for your younger guys to see this is what potentially it could look like in March."

So does Auriemma consider Baylor the team to beat in the NCAA tournament?

"Until somebody beats them in the NCAA tournament they are the defending champions, they have everyone back," Auriemma said. "They should win it. That is what everyone said about us in 2009 and '10 I haven't seen anything during the season to make me think they aren't as good as they were last year if not better. It is probably the feeling that most people around the country have that somebody would have to play a great, great game and they would have to play a less than their best game to beat them but in the NCAA tournament that could happen."

If you don't have a ticket and want to go to the game, I'd check because I'm hearing that a few hundred tickets remain for the game.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both Kim and Geno are down playing this game if they lose it. Both have said it's "nothing" if they lose. YEA~~~. Both will be urinated with their teams and both will have exceptional practices afterward.
This will be a big game for both.
If one has to gamble, my money on this game would be with Baylor. From what I see Uconn is a year away from winning the NCAA championship. Stewart, Tuck, Stokes and Banks will be good to great next year. Stewart and Stokes aren't ready for Big games this year. I would hope the prove me wrong--but I don't think so.

9:56 AM 
Blogger Anthony Coppola said...

Im picking UConn 68 Baylor 53. Bria is back and UConn has too many scorers and a great defense. Last season UConn was up 11 and didnt get to the foul line until just minutes left and Baylor finally took the lead. LOL I dont think that will happen this year at UConn. Kinda hope Baylor dosnt get to the line much this season.

4:28 PM 
Blogger Anthony Coppola said...

UConn 68 Baylor 53 This season UConn will get to the line before there are minutes left in the game. Last season UConn was up 11 at Baylor and hadnt been to the line. Kinda hope UConn dosnt foul much this time and they win big.

4:30 PM 
Anonymous Holly Tyler said...

Griner is the POY. Sims is better than any guard UConn has. That is not slamming any UConn player. That is giving recognition to the best tandem since Tina and Maya.

UConn is 0-5 in the last 5 games decided by 5 points or less, including Baylor and Notre Dame. That is as much a coaching fault as it is the players.

Media and players hype that UConn's practices are more difficult than games, yet the Huskies have difficulty closing out close games.

Like the rest of those interested in women's college basketball, Mulkey knows Stewart hates the phyical nature of the game. Look for Baylor to rough up Stewart, even at the expense of extra fouls.

As much as UConn needs Doty to help run the offense, expect Mulkey to have quicker guards blow by Doty, thus putting Dolson and Stewart at risk of a foul while rotating over to help.

Dolson should not attempt to block Griner's shots, unless she wants to sit on the bench in foul trouble. Dolson cannot reach the ball when Griner is shooting, so Dolson risks hitting Griner on the elbow.

Hartley is well know for dribbling too high and has been picked by guards not named Sims.

I see only two ways that UConn can defeat Baylor. Sims or Griner miss most of the game. Or the Huskies make 20 three pointers on 40 attempts.

7:20 PM 

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