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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Lopsided win over protege stirs emotions in UConn's Auriemma


Geno Auriemma was clearly a tad bit uncomfortable throughout Saturday afternoon’s game at Cincinnati and his discomfort had little to do with the loss of his voice.

There are few people who have crossed his path over the last three decades who he holds in higher regard than Cincinnati coach Jamelle Elliott, a starting forward on UConn’ first national championship team and an assistant coach on five more title-winning teams.

Knowing that Elliott’s Bearcats were without their top offensive player as Dayeesha Hollins has decided to retire from basketball due to the various injuries she has had to deal with Auriemma was concerned that the game could get out of hand early. His fears were realize as Cincinnati was held scoreless for 11:38 in the first half and 3 ½ minutes into the second half the Bearcats were still stuck on 11 points.

“I am not going to lie it is very difficult,” Auriemma said. “It would be difficult in any circumstance but especially this circumstance. I know she was pretty upset with what happened with her point guard not playing, I think that is what she is trying to do she is trying to build a culture here where players want to play, love the game and compete every day and she is trying to build something in her self image because that is how she was. Unfortunately in this day and age it is harder than it has ever been so she is struggling but she is a fighter and she will figure it out.”

Elliott knows it won’t be easy but she is going to try to take whatever positives she can out of the loss to the Huskies.

“We have to maintain our confidence,” Elliott said. “Right now as the coach I have to go into that locker room and find as many small victories as I can, whether it is holding the two post players (Stefanie Dolson and Breanna Stewart) under double figures in the first half, getting stops, as a coach you have to continue to find positive things because we lost our best player and we were without our backup point guard so we are a fragile team right now. I have to depend on guys who haven't been involved in our offense to have them believe that they can be more of a presence offensively.”

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