Ball is in Huskies' court
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.