Special day for Kelly Faris, Huskies
The biggest question coming into the game was whether Kelly Faris would record her 1,000th career point, being the first senior to do it on Senior Day since Ashley Battle 2005.
Faris needed 18 points coming into the game and was stuck on the 10 points she had at halftime for what seemed like an eternity. She hit a 3-pointer with 11:48 to play and another with 8:34 remaining to get within two points of her milestone.
She missed a pair of 3-pointers as her teammates were running plays to try to get Faris the ball which wasn't lost on Faris.
"I eventually figured it out because I saw Coach (Geno Auriemma) call a few people over," Faris said. "I think we were forcing it a little too much. They got really excited and I said 'wait a second, I see what they are doing.' I pulled them in and said 'I know what he is telling you to do but it will come within the offense and don't force it too much.'
"I am not usually the one who has to take every shot and I am not sure I like that position but it was good. It means more to me that they were bound and determined to give me those shots. I am usually the ones trying to get people those shots so it is different. It is a great accomplishment and definitely credit a lot of my teammates for those."
Nobody was happier to see Faris scored her 1,000th point than teammate Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who scored her 1,000th point earlier in the game. She thought it was fitting that Faris' milestone basket came after a steal.
"I wouldn't have it any other way that for Kelly to get her 1,000th on a hustle play, that is Kelly Faris all the way," Mosqueda-Lewis said.
"For her to be able to have her 1,000th point on senior night and to have us win the way we did, I couldn't be happier for her. I wouldn't rather have scored my 1,000th point with anybody else."
As for Mosqueda-Lewis, only Maya Moore (55 games) and Svetlana Abrosimova (63) got to the milestone in fewer games than the 64 it took Mosqueda-Lewis. It was also the first time that two UConn players scored their 1,000th point in the same game since Nykesha Sales and Carla Berube accomplished the feat on Nov. 17, 1996.
Since I look at Mosqueda-Lewis filling the same role of being the young, talented shooting star like Sales was in the 1996-97 season while a jack of all trades player like Faris plays a game similar to the way Berube did in the mid and late 1990s.
"I see a similarity there," Auriemma said after the game.
"Kaleena, the she started the game was kind of a reflection of what I think all great players do. What great players do is they impose themselves on the game right away and they continue to impose themselves on the game the entire time they are out on the floor.
"What Kelly does is sometimes Kelly's contributions are a little less noticeable, they don't hit you right between the eyes like those first five minutes that Kaleena was on the floor, not everybody can do that and that takes kind of a special player. The two of them have a lot in common, the both want to impact the game, they both want to win and they are both changing their games to suit the occasion. I am hopeful that today was an omen of things we can do down the road. It is a good day for our seniors and I think some of our younger guys made sure that it was."