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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Aggies assistant no stranger to UConn

There aren't too many coaches around who can lay claim to authoring an NCAA tournament win against UConn and even fewer that engineered a 23-point throttling of the Huskies.

Texas A&M assistant coach Bob Starkey is just one of those people.

He was the interim coach at LSU when the Lady Tigers crushed UConn 73-50 in the 2007 Elite Eight.

Starkey, who came up with a brilliant game plan in helping LSU stun UConn 73-50 in the 2007 Fresno regional final in what was the second fewest points and second most lopsided loss in the NCAA tournament in UConn’s proud history. However, he was quick to deflect the credit for that memorable performance for the Lady Tigers.

“As (UConn coach) Geno (Auriemma) was quick to say, I had Sylvia (Fowles),” Starkey said. “It certainly ranks up there (as memorable wins) because of what we were going through at the time. I have a lot of admiration for those kids. People used to say you took that team to the Final Four and I am always quick to say that they took me and that was a special group.”

Starkey is in his first season as an assistant coach at Texas A&M and he was handed the keys to the Aggies’ defense. So will that experience seven years ago come into play on Monday night when Texas A&M takes on the defending national champion UConn, a team with five starters who A&M coach Gary Blair predicted would all be first-round WNBA picks.

“Sometimes, working with Gary we do differently here,” Starkey said. “Geno, although he has a wonderful system that works for him, what makes Geno so special is he tweaks it based on his personnel. Last year he had a really deep team and this year now (UConn) is not quite as deep. The way he plugs those people in is what makes him special.”

So what is the point of emphasis for Starkey and the Aggies in slowing down the top-ranked Huskies?

“The first thing is you have to get by defensively and give yourself a chance,” Starkey said. “They are a really good transition team. We've had a pretty good progression of opponents. James Madison was an outstanding transition team that helped us get ready for DePaul. DePaul is an outstanding transition team to get us ready for Connecticut. I think the thing is, Dolson is doing such a good job shooting the ball from the perimeter. She is dangerous from the high post shot down so they can really stretch you in transition. We have to get back and get in front of them to get a chance (for the win).”

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