Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Huskies survive and advance

If anybody was tuning into see the UConn women's basketball team play for the first time they were fortunate enough to witness the Huskies at their very best and absolute worst.

In some ways that 40 minutes that the Huskies were on the court for Monday's Big East tournament semifinal against Syracuse was a microcosm of the season with all the ebbs and flows.

There were brilliant runs on offense especially in the first half when the Huskies turned a two-point game into a 14-point cushion seemingly in a matter of moments. Then there was the hard to describe stretch of sloppiness in the second half which enabled Syracuse to hang around within 10-12 points and put a scare into the Husky faithful when the lead was whittled down to nine points.

It was a perfect example of why Geno Auriemma has called this group "Team Sybil" on more than one occasion due to their multiple basketball personalities.

"You never would have known we had a 19-point lead at one time (with 14:40 left to play), it just looked like of a 'ew (ugly) kind of game.'

"I think you see that a lot in conference tournament, team thaty played each other a lot of times. It has been a long season and there are a lot of factors to it. I think you are finding that a lot of players and a lot of teams have a hard time sustained great play for long stretches of time."

UConn had seven turnovers in the first 7:55 of the second half and leading scorer Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis went 17:23 without scoring. Auriemma also shortened his bench. Bria Hartley and Kelly Faris played all 20 minutes in the second half, Mosqueda-Lewis was out there for 18 minutes, Breanna Stewart and Stefanie Dolson were out on the court for 16 and 15 minutes. Had Dolson not gotten into foul trouble Auriemma likely would not have made a sub in the final 10:56.

"I think sometimes it is just rushing because we know what the right decision is," Hartley said. "A couple times me and Kelly just bobbled the ball and that is definitely just rushing, those are turnovers that are unforced. We just have to settle down a little bit and keep our composure."

For all the issues listed above, there were plenty of highlights as well including a strong defensive game, Hartley dishing out some timely assists, another strong offensive game from Stewart and a hard-earned win over a talented Syracuse team.

It should be noted that Notre Dame has hardly looked like a world beater for all 80 minutes in the tournament as well. Perhaps the teams were guilty of keeping one eye on each other but whatever the cause, the matchup everybody was expecting is slated for Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

"We have been the only two teams from our league to win national championships," Auriemma said. "Us and Notre Dame have been to the most Final Fours.  There is not a whole lot of nostalgia going on, though in conference realignment.  I don't think anybody goes to the meetings and goes, for old time's sake I think we should do this. 

"I don't know that anybody else is paying attention to it.  I'm glad we're playing in the game tomorrow night, I'm sure Notre Dame is glad they're playing in the game tomorrow night, all the schools that are leaving and some of the other schools probably wish it was somebody else. It seems like it's been us and Notre Dame for a long time but we're the two best teams in the league and it's fitting that the two best teams should play. "


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. What a shocker. Geno went back to a 6 player rotation. Shea and Geno can't blame Stokes, Jefferson, and Tuck for all the turnovers. Faris had 6, Hartley 4, KML 3. Some were outright insane.

5:23 AM 

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