Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Trip to Florida a winning proposition for UConn

With his players and the more than 3,000 fans at Germain Arena looking on, UConn coach Geno Auriemma made it clear that the trip to the Naples/Fort Myers area was beneficial is so many ways.

Sure, Auriemma was able to make the daily trip to the golf course and reconnect with friends in the area and his players got to bask in the Florida sun but still this was first and foremost a business trip.

When Auriemma was asked to address the crowd after the Huskies completed an undefeated run to the title with a win over Green Bay, he made it clear that his team was able to accomplish so many things on the check list they had before embarking for Florida.

"Our defense is better than it was two weeks ago," Auriemma said. "Offensively we are getting more production from more people. If you told me yesterday we were going to get 90 (against Vanderbilt) and Stewie (Breanna Stewart) wasn't going to get in double figures ... (Against Green Bay) we got 90 and not really get big games from a bunch of guys but really good games from a bunch of players. To me those are all good signs. We are a much better team than we were Friday."

Auriemma also loved the fact that the Huskies had to face a well-coached Green Bay team that tested the Huskies' defense in the early going.

"We came in at halftime and talked," Auriemma said. "I said to those guys I used to coach a team like that 25 years ago (referring to his first Final Four team at UConn) and they are not afraid of anybody. They don't care that you are a first-team All-American, they don't care that you are Breanna Stewart, they don't care you are Kaleena Lewis. It is not who they are, it is not who their culture.

"I think anytime you play a team like Green Bay, they have a style of play and it is their style of play and they are going to do it no matter who they are playing. It gets you ready for whoever you are playing because every team is playing 1 on 1, they are trying to beat your guy off the dribble or trying to post you up. It is basically playing 1 on 1 basketball until somebody helps and then they kick it. They do a really good job of it, they play together really well so playing them and some of the things we had to do defensively, that is going to help us no matter who we play."

The fact is that next up is not just another team but rival Notre Dame - on the road.

Although UConn had a double-digit lead in their last road game against a ranked foe, the UConn players considered the trip to Stanford as a failure before the Huskies lost in overtime. Now they get a second chance to show what kind of team they are.

"We got a little bit of our toughness back," UConn junior guard Moriah Jefferson said. "Before, people would hit us, we would sit back. We came out and for the most part hit people first. I think that is something we have to do continually to be the best team we can."

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