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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

UConn rolls into AAC title game

Just in case anybody forgot, East Carolina was the opponent when an annoyed UConn women's basketball coach said the first half of  a Dec. 31 game was one of the worst displays of basketball he had witnessed in his 30 seasons at the helm of the Huskies.

After watching the methodical way the Huskies went about their business in the first half of Sunday's American Athletic Conference semifinal against this same ECU team, he was singing a much different tune.

"Down there they were playing like a madhouse, they wanted to go up and down and they didn't care what happened," Auriemma said after UConn's 106-56 win. "We got caught up in doing the same exact thing. Even though we scored (45) points in the first half, I just thought both teams played horrendous basketball and we ended up being up a bunch because we weren't as bad as they were. Today it was all about us. it was all about how we executed, the type of shots we got and even the shots we missed were wide open shots around the basket."
UConn had one first-half stretch when they made 13 straight shots and went nearly 11 1/2 minutes without missing a shot from the field en route to putting up 62 points in the half. The Huskies rolled to a 106-56 win to advance to the AAC championship game. UConn, playing in a conference final for the 11th year in a row, will play with South Florida/Tulane winner in Monday's final.
UConn (31-1), winners of 30 games in a row, missed only seven shots in the first half. Three of them came in a span of 24 seconds and two others occurred in the opening stages when the Huskies missed two of their first four shots.
"When we play like that, it doesn't matter what the other team does," Auriemma said. "I went in and asked Pat (McKenna, the women's basketball sports information contact at UConn) did we shoot 77 percent? He said 'no, 77.4' That is what stat guys do but I was like everybody else, I was amazed because that is not something that you see very often."

The Huskies, who posted their seventh winning streak of at least 30 games, went 24 of 31 from the field in the opening 20 minutes to build up a 62-22 lead at the break.
"The ball kept going in and we were having fun out there," UConn junior forward Breanna Stewart said. "When they told us at halftime we only missed six or seven shots, we didn't even realize it."
During the game Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis moved up from 11th to 8th on the NCAA Division I women's list for career 3-pointers. Also, Kiah Stokes blocked four shots to break Rebecca Lobo's single-season program record. She has 132 and has a chance to becoming the ninth Division I women's player with 150 blocks in a season.

"It is an incredible honor especially to be up there with Rebecca Lobo, she is a tremendous player and to be in the same realm with her in something like blocked shots is incredible," Stokes said.

Stokes never set a tangible goal for the number of blocked shots she wanted heading into her senior season.

"I just wanted to block shots, rebound and do my part," Stokes said. "I went on a run there when I had seven (blocks) in (three games in) a row and I was pretty exciting for me. My parents and everybody in the media is like 'she is close to the record.' Today I knew I only needed four just to get it."

Stokes had 15 games with at least four blocks in the first 26 contests but hasn't had more than three in her previous five games.
"Teams scout so on the scouting report it is going to say I want to block shots so they kind of know that going in," Stokes said. "I did get a little anxious, I was jumping at some pump fakes in there and I need more discipline when I start doing that."

South Florida clinched a spot in the title game with a 78-69 win over Tulane as Alisia Jenkins had 22 points and 15 rebounds and Courtney Williams had five straight points in the latter stages after Tulane had rallied to tie the game.


Anonymous Joe said...

It will be really interesting if USF can advance far in the NCAA tourney.

It is really really hard for one team to beat another four times in a season. I remember in 2011, UConn had beaten Notre Dame twice in conference play plus once more in the conference tourney; and Baylor had beaten Texas A&M in similar fashion.

Then Notre Dame beat UConn in NCAA semi-finals and Texas A&M beat Baylor in NCAA semi-finals. It was really bad planning by the seeding committee to have those two semi-final matchups, fourth meeting of season, rather than Notre Dame vs Baylor and UConn vs Texas A&M.

10:14 AM 

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