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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Hustle play speaks volumes about UConn and East Carolina

The events leading to the 380th 3-pointer of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis' career both impressed and infuriated me.

Let's get to the good news first.

Kia Nurse had just missed a 3-pointer and the ball appeared headed out of bounds. That certainly was what East Carolina's Jasmine Phillips thought as she neglected to make any attempt to corral the rebound. UConn's Breanna Stewart earned the nickname "6-10" during her time playing for the U.S. junior national team because of her incredible wing span which is now somewhere in the 7-1 range. She reached about Phillips and pushed the ball into the court. As more than one ECU player stood stationary, Morgan Tuck charged after the ball and with one motion scooped it in the direction of Moriah Jefferson. Jefferson, the speedy junior guard, playing on her 21st birthday, took a few of dribbles into the lane and then kicked the ball out to a wide open Mosqueda-Lewis. Phillips did attempt to run at Mosqueda-Lewis but it was far too little and far too late

"We want to play harder than everybody and we want to outwork people," Tuck said. "That was a possession that showed that we don't care about the score but we want to play hard the whole time.

"That was a big moment in the game. I know everybody was pretty excited after that. When you have a possession when everybody is hustling and playing good, UConn basketball, it is a great feeling."

If somebody unfamiliar with how UConn has been able to put up these absurd winning margins and have as dominating of a run over these last couple decades as most if not all college programs, that play would be a nice place to start. It had nothing to do with UConn having more talent than East Carolina but spoke volumes about one group of players out there competing while I am not really sure what the other team on the court was trying to get done. If I were the East Carolina coaching staff, I would show that play to my team over, over, over and over again. However, I seriously doubt that will happen.

UConn was shooting 80 percent from the floor before Mosqueda-Lewis' shot as time expired in the first half. The Huskies made eight straight shots during one stretch and 13 during another. Yes, it was something to watch the UConn machine clicking on all cylinders. It was also pathetic at how little resistance was  being offered by a 20-win East Carolina team picked to finish third in the American Athletic Conference. Roger Cleaveland of the Waterbury-Republican was seated next to me on press row and his attempts to shoot video was certainly hampered with me expressing my contempt at what I was seeing. East Carolina seemed like it wanted to take away Mosqueda-Lewis' looks from a perimeter which is a good strategy but in their desire to do that, the other UConn players were given free passage to the hoop. Before long there was no defense being played on any of the five UConn players. There was no communication on defense, no help on defense and in fact no defense at all. I understand that teams can't match up physically with this UConn starting five but that doesn't mean that a team can't at least try to break a sweat.

I can't recall ever being most disgusted at what I witnessed than last night. It seems as if the East Carolina coaching staff was more interested in complaining about calls in the final couple of minutes or using team personnel to block the UConn staff to see what they were doing during timeouts than it was preparing a team to play a game. The idea that UConn, winners of nine national championships and the best winning percentage in women's collegiate basketball history, would be trying to pick up pointers from the geniuses on the other sideline is laughable. About the only lessons that could possibly be learned by listening in on their huddle is how to instruct players how not to defend and how not to compete. The people who came out to Mohegan Sun Arena, the American Athletic Conference and the sport of women's basketball deserve better than what transpired yesterday.

1 Comments:

Anonymous genosguy said...

Jim I read every word you write, but I believe, my opinion, that had EC played half as hard in the first half as they did the last 4 minutes it could have been an interesting game.
It was hokey of EC to "block Geno from sealing their secrets"--Geno on the other hand invites them to his practices to see and use his secrets.
ECU used the I CAN"T BEAT WITH TALENT DEFENSE--SO I'LL FOUL YOU 10 TIMES PER POSSESSION AND THE REFS WON'T CALL THEM--OR CALL A TECHNICAL FOR UNSPORTSMAN LIKE CONDUCT---I THINK THIS WILL BE THE NORM IN THE NCAA TOURNEY--YOU'LL SEE THAT AGAIN.
Stewie and KML and Mojeff conduct themselves with restraint--I don't think I could have been so restrained.
Good article Jim

6:18 PM 

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