UConn's defense flexes its muscles in semifinal win
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.'
BENT, TABOR FALL IN FINAL
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."