Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

UConn's defense flexes its muscles in semifinal win

With the way UConn has dispatches both unranked and ranked foes with remarkable ease this season, there has been plenty of time for the Huskies' defense to shine. However, I am not sure I have seen the UConn players more in sync defensively than I did tonight.

Tulane missed its first seven shots, made only six field goals in the first half and 14 in the game.

The Huskies came out in a zone which is highly unusual and threw different looks at the Green Wave on almost every possession.

'We were switching from zone to man pretty much every time down trying to throw some different stuff (at Tulane)," said UConn senior guard Moriah Jefferson,  the American Athletic Conference's Defensive Player of the Year. "Last time we played them them wasn't good (when UConn trailed 13-2 in the first quarter on Feb. 27) obviously so we wanted to make sure our defense was up to par and we knew shots were going to go in."

Recently Auriemma said that UConn is the worst zone defensive team in the country. Yet, in the regular-season finale against USF (which will play the Huskies in Monday's AAC final) and in both games in the conference tournament, the Huskies have played plenty of zone.

"We have gotten better at it," Auriemma said. "Obviously it is who you have in there sometimes. If you have the right combinations, we have been experimenting with different things, what looks good and what doesn't and we have changed us our defense a little bit so we are tryingto keep the other team off balance a little bit. We have gotten better, the best zone we ever played was at Ohio State and we haven't played it that great since."

The UConn players chuckled when reminded that Auriemma said the Huskies are the worst zone defensive team in the nation.

"He always wants to say something about that but I think our zone has gotten a lot better," Jefferson said. "As long as we are talking in it, we are fine but if we aren't communicating, he is right we (stink) at it."

Kia Nurse, who probably spent the most time guarding all-conference guard Kolby Morgan, had a similar take on Auriemma's comments.

"We worked on different defenses that we don't always get to play," Nurse said. "We did a good job, I think our communication out there was really good and we did a good job of making sure we keyed in on what we talked about in the scouting report. As these games go on and the more zone that we play, we kind of get more reps at it and a lot of times that is what you need. He can call us that but we are working on it and we are getting better.'

For the second year in a row, UConn commit Molly Bent led her Tabor Academy into the NEPSAC Class A title game and for the second straight season Tabor lost to Noble & Greenough in the championship game.

With the 61-45 loss, Tabor Academy finished with a 21-2 record with both losses to Noble & Greenough. In the last two years Tabor had a 43-5 record with four losses to Nobles.

Auriemma has seen Bent play on multiple occasions this year and he loves to watch her play.

"We've had opportunities to see her. I am always impressed with how much she loves to play," Auriemma said. "As much as her skill level, I love how much she loves the game and it shows every time she steps on the court. She fills up the stat sheet in every area, I just think she is going to be great here."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two champions lost in the UFC this weekend.

Golden State lost to Los Angeles in the "biggest upset" in NBA history based on regular season winning percentage differential.

Two best 3 point shooters in the NBA, Curry and Thompson, shot a combined 1 for 18 from 3 point territory.

Is there something in the air?

Will the UConn players miss layups, put backs, and 3 point shots, while USF shoots lights out from 3PT like Notre Dame or DePaul or Dayton did in their first halves?

Every win streak is snapped at some point.

Will the UConn players learn from the last USF game and avoid driving into baited traps for offensive charges.

Will the referees continue to allow Ferraira to mug Stewart? Will the referees fall for the typical USF flops the first several times?

Go Huskies!

5:45 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess there was nothing in the air after all
Historical upsets happen to Golden State but not to UConn

8:19 AM 

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