Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Numbers don't always tell the story

Yesterday's game against Central Florida was all about number crunching.

Breanna Stewart scored her 1,000th point in as many games as UConn legends Svetlana Abrosimova and Rebecca Lobo, Bria Hartley became the third Husky with at least 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists and when you go a category further, only Hartley and Maya Moore hit those landmarks in addition to recording 200 career steals. Saniya Chong posted career highs with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

However, the numbers did not tell the entire story. UConn shot 54.1 percent from the field in the first half and 46.7 percent in the second half. Yet., UConn coach Geno Auriemma was much happier with what he saw offensively after halftime.

"I asked them one time if I had accidently stepped into a Nike Nationals game where they show up in Augusta, they run up and down and whoever has the ball shoots it so the college coaches can go (wow)," Auriemma said. "We talked a lot at halftime that you want to be the kind of team that has some kind of balance, you want to score in the post, you want to score taking it to the basket and getting to the free-throw line, make some shots on the perimeter and get out in transition and I thought we were just transition and jump shots and I thought we did a little bit better job in the second half of getting more balance in our offense."

Some of the unsteady play in the half-court offense could probably be traced to an ineffective Moriah Jefferson. She just seemed to be a little bit off and as a result, Auriemma played her just four minutes in the second half.

"She was hobbled a little bit in practice," Auriemma said. "She was complaining the other day, nothing serious so I figure why bother. We are going to be traveling a lot, playing a bunch of games down the road and the one thing I have to be conscious of is that when you practice a lot, they have been going since September 10 so that is a long time to take a pounding on your legs, your feet, your knees so anytime I can get a chance (to rest), the big guys I don't know if they take as much of a pounding as the guards do so with Brianna Banks back I thought it would be a great time to get Mo a little bit of a rest."

Speaking of Banks, it is starting to become evident that her tender left ankle had little to do with her being limited to mop-up duty in Sunday's game against South Florida but Auriemma didn't like the way she was practicing. While he didn't come out and say that specifically after Banks played 25 minutes last night, his quote about her extended playing time certainly made it clear that he wants more out of her in practices.

"Brianna Banks probably can play as many minutes as she wants," Auriemma said. "When she doesn't play at all, that is what she deserves and when she plays 25 minutes, that is what she deserves. She is her own worst enemy. When she comes out and practices well, it carries over to the games. When she practices lousy, it carries over to the games. Of those 25 minutes, she earned those and I hope she can keep doing that because that is a huge benefit for us especially at this point in time."

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