Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

UConn's defense doesn't allow freebies

It's no secret that UConn is annually one of the best defensive teams in the country but even by the lofty standards of past squads there was an aspect of the Huskies' defensive effort that really jumped out at me in last night's win over South Carolina.

The Gamecocks came into the game leading all Division I teams averaging 24.1 free throw attempts per game. Yet, South Carolina had attempted only seven foul shots heading into the fourth quarter and UConn actually attempted more free throws than South Carolina did.

"When you have a team that offensive rebounds as much as they do, that is where all the fouls happen," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "You just have to be disciplined a little bit because in the offensive rebounding area, that is where all the fouls occur so we had to make sure we did a good job of keeping our bodies between them and the basket plus be physical enough and for the most part we were. We kept our hands away from them. We generally don't foul but they are just so aggressive so it took a lot."

Morgan Tuck ran into some foul trouble when she picked up two fouls in a four-second span resulting in her sitting out the final 5:14 of the second quarter but no other UConn player had to sit simply because of fouls.
"We take a lot of pride in that we don't give other teams to the free throw line and we get to the free throw line," Stewart said. "Pretty much for the majority of the game we did a good job of not fouling.
We knew they wanted to have a post presence and we tried to take that away through the entire first few minutes. We really executed our game plan."

Auriemma turned a simple question about the Huskies and Gamecocks extended their home and home series for two more years into one of the best quotes he has delivered all season long.

"It just got taken care of that we are playing them next year at our place and then we are coming back here the following year," Auriemma said. "I am sure it will continue after that. I carry five phones now because of all the people calling me now who want to schedule us when these three guys (Moriah Jefferson, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck) leave, I can't keep track of them all. We might have to play doubleheaders all the teams that want to play us now."
Auriemma, who is not a huge fan of the "how do you prepare playing in big games while rolling past all comers in the dreadful American Athletic Conference" questions.

He made sure to remind the media of that even if that question wasn't actually asking in the press conference after the game.

"What we have done in November, December and January, we don't have to prove anything to anybody," Auriemma said. "They love that challenge, they know that is the kind of challenge we are trying to prepare them for every day. People put too much emphasis on who we are playing to prepare us for this challenge. We prepare for this challenge every day. It doesn't matter who we play."

UConn incoming freshman Crystal Dangerfield is one of 10 semifinalists for the girls' high school Naismith Trophy.

Dangerfield, a 5-foot-6 guard out of Blackman High in Murfreesboro, Tenn., is averaging 23.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.6 steals as a senior. She has six 30-point games this season.

Erin Boley, Kaila Charles, Lauren Cox, Joyner Holmes, Sabrina Ionescu, Tori McCoy, Amber Ramirez, Destiny Slocum and Jackie Young are other candidates for one of the most prestigious national player of the year honors.


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