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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, March 05, 2018

UConn rolls into AAC final in record fashion

There were plenty of mixed emotions for Geno Auriemma during tonight's American Athletic Conference semifinal win.

Auriemma was happy to see his team up its intensity and play at a higher level now that March Madness has arrived. However, seeing Jamelle Elliott struggling to get her team to make a shot was tough to handle.

There are few people in the world who Auriemma likes and admires more than Elliott, a starter on his first national championship team and a successful assistant coach with the Huskies before taking the job at Cincinnati.

It took 14 minutes of game action for the Bearcats to end their shooting drought. It started late in the first quarter, then Cincinnati failed to score in the second quarter before Shanice Johnson hit a 3-pointer with 8:37 left to play in the third quarter to end the 38-0 run.

"It is not easy, you are playing a team like ours and we are playing well, we have done that to really good teams for long stretches," Auriemma said. "Jamelle has a good team, no disrespect to Jose (Fernandez) but they could have had co-coach of the year and she deserved it. To take her team to where they were into the semifinals, when she took the job they were last in the league and I think she has done a phenomenal job there and I am sure they will be involved in postseason play."

A couple of statistical notes from the game, juniors Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier both registered their 100th assist of the season joining Gabby Williams and Crystal Dangerfield in the 100-assist club. Kia Nurse is 12 away from joining them.

The five points scored in the first half by Cincinnati ties the mark for the fewest points allowed by UConn in a first half (Fairleigh Dickinson had five points in a Nov. 25, 2011 game).

Speaking of milestones, UConn is now 100-0 in conference play since the formation of the American Athletic Conference becoming the third Division I women's team to win 100 straight conference games.

There's a chance Williams could play in Tuesday's AAC final against South Florida.

"If you asked her she wanted to play, she wanted to play today and if she played today she might not be able to play tomorrow," Auriemma said. "Tomorrow we will see at shootaround because after tomorrow we have 10 or 11 days off so tomorrow's circumstances are a little different than tonight's were. If she can't go tomorrow because she doesn't feel comfortable or Janelle (Francisco), our athletic trainer doesn't feel comfortable then she is not going to go..

"Probably because you've had injuries like Gabby has had in the past, you don't even want to acknowledge it and you don't want to be in the training room because you don't want anybody telling you that you can't play. It is a fine line and it has been bothering her and she has managed it great. yesterday was a little tweak, it didn't make it worse, it just made it sore."


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