Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Nurse finds the range in UConn win

Kia Nurse admitted that the time between Wednesday night' win at Tulane and the opening tip in today's East Carolina game.

Nurse isn't somebody who is going to obsess over how many points she scored. However, she is also a prideful competitor who knows that a seven-game stretch where she shot 33 percent from the field including 25 percent from the 3-point line simply is not good enough. When she missed all six of her shots against Tulane, she was visibly upset on the bench. Although I didn't cover the game, I could pick up on her discontent courtesy of the television broadcast. Geno Auriemma had a much better view of things and felt it was important to have a heart to heart talk with Nurse.

Auriemma certainly was not shocked to see what happened in today's 92-46 victory when Nurse made 8 of her 11 shots including 4 of 7 from 3-point range.

"I wasn't surprised that Kia made a bunch of plays today, she made a bunch of great plays," Auriemma said. "She plays really hard every day, she is a competitive kid, she has a certain intensity level about her every game. You can't let whether that went in or that didn't go in dictate who you are. Just keep doing the right things everything will be all right in the end."

Nurse received plenty of support from teammates, coaches, family members and friends but in the end, she knew the only person who could shake her out of her doldrums was Nurse herself.

"The last couple of days were not my favorite days ever but I do think it was a matter of just getting my mind right," Nurse said. "Sometimes you can get that from other people and the support from other people but most of the time, it has to come from you."

So how did she accomplish that?

"Kind of just sitting down and reflecting on what I was focusing on that I shouldn't be focusing on and coming out  with a good game," Nurse said.

"That game obviously didn't go the way I wanted it to, I sat down and watched film on it on the way home. I made some really good plays in that game that I didn't give myself credit for and kind of focusing on the way that you play it, that is what is going to determine how you play that game.

"We just talked about the importance of what you do on the floor, it doesn't have to be scoring and those kinds of things that youmake on the floor impacting the game in other ways and that is something we are all focusing on."

Right on cue, the one play where Nurse showed the most emotion came on an assist on a basket by fellow sophomore Gabby Williams early in the third quarter. It all started with a blocked shot by Breanna Stewart who promptly fired a pass to Nurse near midcourt. Nurse collided with an East Carolina, absorbed the contact and tipped the ball ahead. Williams took care the rest with an athletic catch and finish.

"Stewie just threw it and (Nurse thought) this is going to be short so I said 'OK, I will come back to it and it will test my athleticism right now.' I saw Gabby and I just hit it. I don't know if it was the fact that it was Gabby because me and Gabby have such a close relationship but I was just fired up beyond belief. That was fun."

What was also fun is the reaction to Nurse's parents to her brother Darnell's fight in a recent game with the Edmonton Oilers when saying that he dominated Max McCormick in the scrap would be quite the understatement. The camera panned on Richard and Cathy, both former athletes, and their enthusiastic response (although I am not sure enthusiastic is a strong enough word) has created somewhat of a buzz on social media.

"It was hilarious," Kia Nurse said. "That video was the funniest thing I have ever seen in my life. They get pumped up, his second career high on his birthday, he pummeled the guy - fantastic.

"We are a really competitive family but as you can tell when you see somebody doing something really well, we all get fired up about it. He is an enforcer in a sense so we expect things that like."

So how good of a fighter is she?

"I have never been in a fight, there would be a tough box out when I was younger but not an actual fight but he was in boxing classes," Nurse said.

Breanna Stewart needed two steals to reach 200 in her career. I went through the list of players in the NCAA record book (and included Oregon's Jillian Alleyne) with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds to see how many of them had 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 200 assists, 200 steals and 200 blocked shots.

As it turns out she is just the seventh player but it is who else is on that list that is even more impressive including Maya Moore and Women's Basketball Hall of Famers Lisa Leslie, Cheryl Miller and Sue Wicks.

Player             School                (Years)      Pts   Reb  Ast  Stl   Blk
Cindy Brown Long Beach State (83-87)   2696-1184-348-400-318
Lisa Leslie USC (90-94)                           2414-1214-208-228-321
Cheryl Miller, USC (82-86)                      3018-1534-414-462-320
Maya Moore, UConn (07-11)                   3036-1276-544-310-204
Wendy Scholtens Vanderbilt (87-91)       2602-1272-305-211-217
Breanna Stewart, UConn (12-present) 2368-1028-369-201-356
Sue Wicks, Rutgers (84-88)                      2655-1357-289-287-293
(stats are incomplete for Maine's Liz Coffin and Villanova's Shelly Pennefather)

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