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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Despite gaudy numbers, UConn's offense still a work in progress

One look at the latest NCAA statistical database might indicate that all is well with the UConn offense.

The Huskies led all Division I women's teams in field-goal percentage and scoring margin while San Jose State is the only team to average more points than the 89.9 put up by UConn in the first nine games of the season.

However, Geno Auriemma didn't coach the Huskies to nine national titles by being easily pleased.

Auriemma saw the Huskies attempt 20 3-pointers in the first half in a recent game against DePaul and was not amused. Then he looked on as his team's first four shots against UCLA were 3-pointers and none of them were taken by Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who is closing in on the program mark for career treys.

"I told the team during one timeout, we got five 3s  in five or six possessions and Kaleena hadn't touched the ball yet," Auriemma said. "I looked at them and said 'I don't know who would think that is a good idea.' If we shot six 3s in the first seven possessions and she shot three of them ... but if she hasn't touched the ball yet, that is not the winning edge. Sometimes it comes easy and you wan to make it easy. I have heard that we don't have enough of a post presence and when we do have that balance, when Stewie is scoring in the lane, Tuck is scoring in the lane and we have that balance ... The first half against somebody we took 20 3s, that is in the first half. Normally you get 60 shots in a game so we wan to take a third of our shots as 3s, we already accomplished that by halftime. That means we are taking too many of them, it means we aren't getting the ball inside enough, we aren't scoring in different ways other than 'let's just jack up a 3.' That is always what we work on. The majority of our time is doing that because it is easy to shoot a 3, that is the easiest bail out there is, make two passes and somebody shoot that. I don't think that teams that do that can win championships."

UConn was able to work on the offense in the time between the end of the final exams and when the players headed home for Christmas.

"I don't know if we are at the peak of what our offensive efficiency is, I don't know that we are there," Auriemma said. "I think we've got some work to do in that regard. I liked the way we have played offensive. The one game we lost (against Stanford) we didn't lose because of our offense. Other than that (Stanford) game, our defense has been pretty good and our offense has gotten better, better and better. There is still a long way from where we are now and where I hope we are. When you score the number of points that we score, we are averaging about 90 or close to it, I think people think it is OK to turn the ball over a lot because we score 90 points. I have never understood that. Last year was one of the best offensive teams we have ever had and I think our turnovers were about 13 a game. If we can manage to stay in that ball park for the rest of the year and still manage to score 90 a game that would be saying something  given who our two (graduation) losses were."

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