Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, February 05, 2016

UConn's Nurse looking to find cure to shooting woes

Kia Nurse is not a stat driven sort of player. If she were, there's no way she would have been accepted into the Canadian national team program by established star players. She is, however, a very driven player. On the outside the sophomore guard seemed to handle the shooting issues she has experiencing pretty well. That didn't seem to be the case when she checked out of Wednesday's win at Tulsa. The camera panned on the UConn bench as Nurse came out of the game for the final time and she looked as visibly frustrated as I have seen her.

Due to the weather and poor road conditions, we had a conference call with UConn coach Geno Auriemma rather than the planned open practice and I asked him about how Nurse handled her only game this season when she failed to score this season.

"I think sometimes Kia puts a little too much emphasis on scoring, making shots and contributing that way offensively I think unnecessarily," Auriemma said. "There are a lot of things that Kia Nurse does to help our team be where we are today at both ends of the floor, offensively and defensively. For her to feel that way about not making shots, about coming up scoreless, I don't think that is good for her to be in that frame of mind so it was something that we addressed after the game for sure.

"I think as you get older and you play more basketball, you realize that there are nights when you can get 25 and nights when you are not, night where the basket seems as big as an ocean and nights when it seems when you find it. You can't base how well you played based on how well you shot the ball and that is something we reinforce all the time. Making shots doesn't mean you played well and missing shots doesn't mean you've played poorly."

After 21 games a season ago Nurse was shooting 55 percent from the field and 47.7 percent from 3-point range. She is currently shooting 41 percent overall and 31 percent from 3-point range. Recently Nurse spoke about the "3-second rule" instituted by assistant coach Shea Ralph as the coaches are attempting to keep the ultra competitive Nurse from dwelling on missed shots.

"If I miss a shot or two shots, you are kind of dreading those and we kind of came up with you've got three seconds to be mad that you missed a shot and move on from that," Nurse said. "I don't necessarily hold onto it. I will be angry that I missed it. Obviously you don't want to miss wide-open shots. You don't want teams to leave you open and be a liability for the rest of the team. I have gotten used to 'well that didn't go in, onto the next one' or 'knock this one is. OK, let's do something.'"

It's been especially trying in recent weeks. Nurse has seven straight games failing to score in double figures and is shooting 25 percent from 3-point range during that span.
I will be extremely surprised if Nurse doesn't have a significant offensive role when UConn plays East Carolina tomorrow.

Speaking of Nurse, somebody sent me a video of her parents getting pretty fired up watching Kia's brother Darnell pummel Max McCormick in a recent game between Nurse's Edmonton Oilers and McCormick's Ottawa Senators. If you were wondering where Kia's competitive fire comes from, this video might provide a bit of a clue.

Auriemma said that Morgan Tuck came out of her return to the lineup feeling pretty good and expects that she will be good to go tomorrow.

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