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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Interesting day of work for Huskies

Having wrapped up my duties providing reaction to the news that the Catholic 7 have officially negotiated their split from the football schools in the Big East, I can get around to something I have been meaning to blog since yesterday.

Thursday's practice was an unusual one for a couple of reasons. First, Miss Reliability Kelly Faris was held out of drills due to a sprained left foot and second, UConn coach Geno Auriemma had unsolicited praise for Kiah Stokes.

"When you have somebody like that on the sidelines it does change the dynamics of practice especially since she is a senior, she has a pretty good sense of all the things we are trying to do," Auriemma said. "The flip side is it gives everybody else the opportunity  to kind of fill that void and I thought they did a really, really good job today of doing that. I know this is going to come back and bite me in the (butt) but Kiah Stokes had her best day in two years today so maybe she thinks it is next year and Kelly is not here anymore. I think that is what is happening when somebody's missing, it gives somebody an opportunity to step into it."

Faris' teammates admitted there was a void not having their senior leader out on the court.

"It is different," Bria Hartley said. "I can't remember a time when we didn't have Kelly in practice but I think it also helps some people because Kelly is always the player that steps up and makes the big play and the fact that we didn't have her makes somebody else have to step up. It was good for us."

Faris thought she was healthy enough to practice but then again she played 34 minutes after suffering the injury. With no games until Sunday's Big East quarterfinal, it was a time to work on some fundamentals instead of game planning for the next opponent.

Defense was the focus during the time we were able to watch. The post players worked on 2 on 2 isolation drills on one end of the court while the guards worked on keeping players from driving by them on the other end before the teams converged for the final few minutes of a grueling practice. Moriah Jefferson wore a bandage on her chin after she opened a gash when her chin hit the floor. Stefanie Dolson crashed to the floor late in practice when she collided with a male practice player in the lane.

Although Auriemma expressed his displeasure with his team throughout the drill, at the end of the practice he said he was encouraged with what he saw.

"We just kind of reiterated some things about defensively how we want to be, defensively getting out in transition how aggressive we have to be which is maybe is a little different as during the season you are so fixated on who the other team is that you get away from that so we got to slow down a little bit," Auriemma said.

Auriemma was not as pleased at the backlash following Monday's loss as UConn once again failed to close out the Fighting Irish.

"The great thing about coaching at Connecticut is we are used to winning every game and we are used to winning and we have not done that in some instances lately," Auriemma said. "The bad thing about coaching at Connecticut is that the other team is never allowed to win because the only time the other team is allowed to win is we play bad. I have never been asked questions after a loss when 'you know what those guys were really good.' I don't think that has ever happened in 15 years at Connecticut. When you look at how we played defensively for the whole game and how many shots their two leading scorers had to take, I go back if we make one more free throw nobody is asking me these questions.

"If you are a player or coach at Connecticut, that is the world we live in. We are not allowed to lose, the other teams are not allowed to win because if the other team wins it must be because Connecticut sucked, what it does to their psyche. It is the only place in American where you are not allowed to lose any games ever even to the top two teams in the country in triple overtime or my one at home or by six to the defending national champions, that is just unacceptable. Does it wear on them, what do you think? I am not complaining, I am just stating fact that this is the world that we have created here. I don't know what I can do about it." 

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1 Comments:

Blogger MikeMC said...

I'm a great Geno fan and UCONN women supporter, however I take issue with his comment about not being allowed to lose a game. I was not upset when they lost to Baylor because Baylor was the better team and played the better game. On the contrary, ND did not win because they played a great game but rather because UCONN committed 35 turnovers and missed three 'one and one' opportunities to put the game away. If UCONN plays a good game and loses, most fans can deal with that....but to lose the way they did against ND is unacceptable.

9:04 PM 

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