Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Ball is in Huskies' court

The words uttered by Kelly Faris and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis weren't that much different from the ones spoken by UConn players following the other two losses this season or the ones following each of the four regular-season losses a season ago.

There is a vow to learn from this loss and until the earlier losses, it is now or never time for the Huskies.

It goes without saying that Monday's game was one UConn should have won. They found various ways to squander leads in both the first and second overtime.


“I don't know how many times you can play the same team and keep getting the same result,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “Whatever it is something has to change in our team. It can be but you have to start with individuals and finding out whether you want to change.”

So what is the solution to UConn’s late-game swoons?

“We are trying to figure that one out,” Faris said. “This is our third game this year that has come down to that and the same thing happened last year.”

The answers won't come Sunday night when UConn returns to the court for the Big East quarterfinals against the survivor between DePaul, Marquette and Pittsburgh. The average margin of victory between those three teams this season was 40.3 points and when you add in the fact that the Huskies may be a tad bit ornery having to wait nearly a week to play following the triple overtime loss to Notre Dame and the game doesn't figure to be a nail biter. They likely won't come in Monday's Big East semifinals either. No, the story to the UConn season will likely be written based on what happens the next time or two times the Huskies square off with Notre Dame.

Last year UConn was swept by Notre Dame in the regular season only to have the Huskies get a measure of revenge by beating the Fighting Irish in the Big East final. Notre Dame got the last laugh by eliminating UConn in the national semifinals for the second year in a row.

I certainly would love to see two more UConn/Notre Dame games this season and fully expect that to happen. Other than Notre Dame's stunningly routine victory in the 2011-12 regular-season finale, the games between the teams have been captivating.

I believe last night was the end of the an era. Perhaps the teams will be reunited in the ACC in a couple of seasons. If not, even if UConn and Notre Dame play a non-conference series it will not be the same.

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw called it the best rivalry in women's basketball last night and it is exactly that. It's great theater and thanks to the wild world of conference realignment, it is about to just go away. That is a shame. Sitting through the 91-44 games night after night is all worth it when you get to witness what I saw last night. Was it a flawed performance by the Huskies? Absolutely. But even with all the turnovers, the foul issues, missed free throws the Huskies were leading the No. 2 team in the nation by six points in one overtime and five in another. So assuming Notre Dame isn't in the league next season, who is going to step into that void as the team capable of challenging the Huskies? Perhaps Louisville, in its final Big East (or whatever the conference is called) will be that team. Will it be a new conference member like Memphis or SMU? Highly, highly unlikely.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Holly Tyler said...

Did you ever ask yourself how certain scholarship players at the 2nd best WCBB program of all time could be on the team for 4 or 5 years and NEVER get any better? There is no way Buck received the same attention in practice by the coaching staff that regulars got. Sure seems like Buck just stood on the sidelines in practice for 5 seasons. How else do you explain that Buck will graduate with a BSN degree but has no idea what to do on offense?

Doty's basketball IQ is no better now than it was in HS. Neither is Hartley's. The only injuries that affect your IQ are brain injuries. Not knee or ankle injuries.

And all that hype about UConn's practices being more difficult than games no longer applies. This team has mental breakdowns under adversity.

Geno has lost more than one step in his coaching. He cannot complete sentences during interviews. He has trouble putting his thoughts together. During timeouts cameras catch him standing their befuddled and bewildered. Just hope that Geno does not end up like Pat.

6:01 AM 
Anonymous Joe said...

How can you simulate in practice hitting the first end of a one-and-one free throw when you are tired and under pressure? UConn had two one-and-ones in the final minute of the game (regular time) and missed both; Tuck then missed the first free throw (but made the second) when the Irish were over the penalty. Add one more made free throw anywhere in the final minute and UConn wins (or even imagine a no-call on Dolson's screen, UConn wins then too).

11:23 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe-

you're supposed to practice free-throws when you're tired and under pressure during practice (ie. run suicides; when you finish a suicide, a player shoots 2 free-throws. If they make them both, the don't have to run the next suicide, but if they miss, they have to run).

2:02 PM 

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