10 Keys For UConn On Sunday Against The Irish

by Categorized: 2013 NCAA Tournament, Breanna Stewart, Geno Auriemma, Jewell Loyd, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

Here is my assessment of the key factors, and subliminal things in play, that should impact Sunday’s national semifinal between UConn and the team in the hideous Adidas uniforms.

1). I once believed bad things came in threes. Now they come in fours and seven out of eights. As Marlon Brando said in “Guys and Dolls” – luck be a lady tonight.

2). Skylar Diggins has over 300,000 Twitter followers and not a single national championship. That is a really bad assist/turnover ratio in her book. She would dump 250,000 chumps for one title. She wants it – badly

3). This will be the last Notre Dame-UConn meeting for a very long. Next April’s Final Four in Memphis is a long time away and it will take all this time for Huskies fans to memorize the teams in the AAC, which is not to be confused with the ACC, which we assume will eventually replace the AAC in UConn lore. UConn wants to be the one to kiss Notre Dame off, not the other way.

4). Muffet McGraw said on her Twitter site that she went shopping for Final Four outfits. If she doesn’t wear her ruby red heels and either her leopard or black leather skirt, I believe the Irish will be at a disadvantage. And if you are wondering why Geno hasn’t patted Muffet’s butt yet, you never went to Catholic school and faced down an angry nun. He learned his lesson in grammar school.

5). At some point, Kayla McBride will miss a three in a big spot and either Bria Hartley or Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis will make one in the final two seconds. And if UConn is within two points when it happens, there will a basketball game to go to on Tuesday.

6). Breanna Stewart is the most important player in the game on either team. We know what Diggins and McBride can do and UConn almost won the first three games they played this season. If Stewart does what we think she can do, she will be the difference maker.

7).  Geno Auriemma’s email inbox as full as a United States mail box on a Sunday night. If UConn loses again it may just explode and there is no money left in the athletic budget to get him a new one. So UConn must win.

8). I can’t stand seeing Kelly Faris and Stefanie Dolson cry. Three times is enough.

9). Notre Dame played for the national championship in football this season. It has met its quota. Give someone else a chance.

10). Geno told the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce at breakfast last month that if Notre Dame and UConn played a fourth time “we will win.” That’s a declarative sentence, if you ask me.





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62 thoughts on “10 Keys For UConn On Sunday Against The Irish

  1. Village Idiot

    The game will end as the game shall end. Only the player can change the outcome.
    What ever that outcome is–the sun will shine, The flowers will grow, Connecticut will raise taxes, 3000 people in Connecticut shall die of old age. Nothing will change.

    What every Uconn fan can accept is that we’ve had a great year–31 and 4 (as of today) is an excellent ratio of win’s to losses. Geno has once again proven he is the master.
    Stewie, MO Jo, Tuck have given Uconn fans a renewed hope.
    Dolson, Faris, Hartley, KML have given me more enjoyment then all the academy award winning performances. Doty, Buck, Banks have earned the walking wounded awards over the course of their careers. Buck and Doty along with Faris you will go down on the list of people who have made the lives of many Uconn fans around the world (yes the world) better, happier and with a feeling of pride in what you do.

    1. John D

      @ Village Idiot – Great post.No frills ,no party noise makers just the facts.Win or lose UConn Basketball has made and will continue to make my winters a lot warmer.Go get ‘em Huskies !!!!!!

  2. Marion Barry DC

    John Altavilla—Those 10 assessments of what it takes to win–exceed the knowledge, analysis, intellect, of all the Analysts on TV. It makes as much sense as any other disection of each team would uncover.
    We can look at the numbers wins–losses
    we can look at the number of wins of one over another
    we can look at the stats of each player and compare all.

    None of the above matters–everything and anything has happened in the final four. It’s about emotion, team, University spirit, desire to win–and LUCK lots and lots of LUCK.
    Remember the final winner comes to MY HOUSE for a ONE on ONE.

  3. 335

    Columns like these are why I find JA to be the worst writer on uconn WBB. I read through chats, he gives very little information, rather posts one word or one line jokes or repeats information first seen on the Boneyard or by Rich Elliot or SNY.

    What kind of sports reporter writes 10 keys to the game and one is about twitter, another about shopping and outfits, another about ND football. That doesn’t include the other non analytical comments.
    I think posts like this further exemplify why WBB does not get the respect it deserves. Why talk about fashion when there is a huge final four matchup. On the mens side, a writer would be dismissed almost immediately for publishing such non sense.

    1. Big Jim

      To: 335

      For Christ sakes, this is a blog.

      John is a Sports Reporter as good as you will find around the country. He reminds me a little of Jim Murray.

      He throws in a little levity here and there, often using it to make a point…and sometimes, he uses it to point out the absurdity of lists such as his list of ten.

      The point is – everyone can come up with a list: you, me, John, baby jane, etc. The fact that your ten comes from your massive knowledge of Basketball not withstanding.

      WBB has yet to be discovered by the unwashed masses. Personally, I don’t give a rat’s ass if that lump of humanity never does. The good thing is that WBB doesn’t need their validation to be appreciated and enjoyed by the rest of us.

      As far as John’s BLOG, you just have to get the nuance of it all. Yes, I know you will struggle with grasping that – but, hang in there.

      1. Gentle Jim

        Big Jim (Daddy)–

        I haven’t take a bath in 2 years can I watch WBB??
        I wish you wouldn’t call us “a lump of humanity” and comparing yourself with a rat behind probably has some merit.

        Why did you call Johns blog nuisance ???

        I have to agree with others the use of Christs name is wrong. You couldn’t or shouldn’t use Mohamad, Budda, or any other diety–it is morally incorrect and politically incorrect.
        John should not allow it on this site..

        John Altavilla is NOT a basketball expert, I doubt he ever played it. So to use his columns as expertise in the game is foolhardy. His expertise is in eating and food establishments.
        His list of 10 above–is not about basketball. It’s about the idiots that speak and write about the game as if they had some insight about the out come.

        1. Kevin Cavanaugh

          Unfortunately there is a lot of language used here that is most inappropriate – not just inappropriate use of the Lord’s name in vain.

          If John had his IT team filter out all that is inappropriate, half the comments would be either heavily edited or blocked completely.

          Free speech is free speech. However, threats or the like should be deleted as soon as they are seen or reported.

      2. Webster

        I Don’t Give A Rat’s Ass

        It’s just general slang that started up sometime during the 20th century. While nobody knows for sure how it came about, it’s believed that a rat was used in the expression because of the way people view the rodent (annoying and small).

        Source: Mindlesscrap
        One theory: there used to be a bounty on rat’s heads, and you could turn them in to the county office for a nickel a piece. This would make a rats bottom half worthless, thus “I don’t give a rat’s ass” would be appropriate.

        The origin of ” I don’t give a rats ass” came from Pine City Mn. I used to say it all the time, a friend said his uncle liked the saying and started marketing products, I was in about 9th or 10th grade at the time year about 1973-74

    2. Kevin Cavanaugh

      The good thing about 335’s comments are that he can post them. John A. is big enough to take criticism, whether it be accurate or not.

      Kudos for John A. and his staff to let criticism flow.

  4. Bob St Amand

    335 is wrong.JA is informative with a very good sense of humor. 335 if you can do better put up or be quiet.

  5. Prognosticator

    They uconn women cannot lose—Uconn world can’t take it when our kids cry.
    Enjoy N.O. try the bagettes, gumbo, jumbulia(?), and crayfish (or crawfish). Stay away from the Cemetaries–they stink. The paddle wheel cruises are good. Burbon street is fun–strictly for visitors–the Main church and government houses is interesting. The street car named desire is a nice ride.

    Enjoy kids enjoy—it’s what you came to Uconn to do, enjoy the final fours. Winning is secondary.

    1. Marion Barry DC

      Aw John —- You got your plane ticket, hotel, and restaurant reservations in the wrong town.
      Next time ask Elvis for Directions. He didn’t die, it was Robert Ford buried at graceland. Or was it Jessie James?? Never could keep those two straight (or are they straight??).

  6. Geno Also Said

    Individual Stats

    Kelly Faris
    Points ….. 1083
    Assists …. 533
    Rebounds … 806
    Steals ….. 289
    Blocks ….. 72
    Total …… 2783

    Skylar Diggins
    Points ….. 2347
    Assists …. 737
    Rebounds … 554
    Steals ….. 377
    Blocks ….. 83
    Total …… 4098

    1. Oh Yeah?

      Diana Taurasi
      Points …. 2156
      Assists … 648
      Rebounds .. 628
      Steals …. 174
      Blocks …. 147
      Total ….. 3753

    2. GenoNeverSaid

      You forgot the other stat Skylar leads in…turnovers. She has 484 to 278 for Farris.

      1. Gentle Jim

        Never SAID—Well said.

        Most Uconn fans have the belief that Diggy is an amazing point guard without any turnovers.

        She is HUMAN. Makes mistakes in judgement.She has quick hands, and she is not called for the fouls she commits while slapping at the ball.
        And she loses her mind when behind in the last minutes of the game and throw the ball into the stands and other stupid moves.

        Geno is just quicker to pull his point guards than Muffet. I think Mo Jo has learned how dangerous Diggy can be–Geno has to know Diggy will take the ball away from all his guards if they don’t protect the ball at all times. Mo Jo is his best and most effective point right now.

    3. Steve Gee

      The record also shows…
      *National Championships*

      Faris- 1

      Diggins – ZERO

    4. Kevin Cavanaugh

      Maya Moore
      Points 3036
      Assists 544
      Steals 310
      Rebounds 1276
      Blocks 204
      Total 5370

    5. Kevin Cavanaugh

      So, why is “Geno Said” comparing Faris to Diggins – because they both come from Indiana?

      Why not compare Diggins to Larry Bird. I know that is ridiculous.

      But, lets compare Diggins to Maya Moore as I did below, then Diggins looks like a bench player.

      1. kevins mommy

        Thanks for proving my point. Taurasi looks like a bench player compared to Maya. Yet the ridiculous fans act like Tauasi was the greatest ever. Diggins is statiscally better than Taurasi.

        1. Bracchus

          I just pointed that out in another thread and got no response.

          That is my point. People seem to prefer certain players and then that preference truns into them being better than someone else. When the stats do not support their opinions, they ignore the stats. You are so correct aobut Taurasi and Moore. UCONN won one more national chapionship under Taurasi than it did under Moore. But, the individual stats were substantially different in Maya’s favor.

          I saw both of them play and thought that Maya was the better of the two. No knock on Taurasi.

          But, this goes to my point that there are certain types of players they seem to like here in COnnecticut.

          I was blasted for suggesting that Skylar Diggins was pretty good. Yet, when I said that EDD was better than Griner I got no resistance.


          1. Kevin Cavanaugh

            Each player we are discussing here was critical to the specific team they played on.

            Maya and Tina were hand in glove and all the statistics do not show the value of their on court relationship.

            Taurasi fit with her team as well. Statistically, she was second to Maya and even Diggins but Diana bought something different. Maybe it was the whole story of how Geno, the Italian coach, talked to Diana’s parents (also Italian) and made promises to treat Diana like his own daughter.
            Diana had that extroverted personality – cocky, confident, arrogant, and fit with the arrogant UCONN fans that insisted on victories, championships and banners hanging high.

            But Maya was quietly confident, and humble and did not have the showmanship because she didn’t need it. She just knew what had to be done and everyone knew she would come threw.

            My money would be on Maya and I would pick her first for an all UCONN team.

        2. Kevin Cavanaugh

          Please don’t use my mother as a reference here. I had a wonderful relationship with my mother and was with her when she died in my arms in a hospital in Denver, Colorado.

          She wasnt tacky or insulting or demeaning and she has no place in the middle of all this.

          Please keep mothers, fathers, kids, and the like out of banter here.

  7. TexasBogger

    Two REAL keys to winning:
    1. Less than 15 turnovers.
    2. Less than 15 points for McBride. Find her early. Find her often.

  8. Kevin Cavanaugh

    Ten more comments about the upcoming UCONN – ND game – a few of which are lightharded.

    1. Luck of the Irish only applies during the month of March – the month when St. Patty’s day happens. Time’s up – we are in April.
    2. Bad things happen in threes – UCONN has already lost to Notre Dame three times this year – it cannot happen again, right?
    3. Muffet said that Stewie’s best part of her game is with blocking – Muffet “ain’t” seen nothing yet.
    4. For UCONN to win, Geno needs to adapt. If UCONN is ahead, he needs to implement ball control and slow down the game instead of going full steam ahead.
    5. Geno needs to have confidence in his zone defense because it is superior to ND’s 3-point shooting.
    6. Solid ball control will determine the outcome. Playing fast is good for fast breaks only, otherwise it leads to mistakes – mistakes that result in turnovers – turnovers that result in opponent points – resulting in another loss.
    7. The more possessions that go thru Dolson and Stewie, the more it will free up UCONN’s outside shooting.
    8. Tuck and Stokes can contribute defensively inside and can give up some fouls to prevent ND inside scoring.
    9. UCONN practice needs to spend a little time on free throws because the missed “one and one’s” lost one of the games.
    10. UCONN has no problem building up a significant lead but they need to learn how to protect it with good ball control and cooling their jets to protect the lead.

    1. Bracchus

      The only thing UCONN has to do is have more points at the end of the game than ND. How they do that is pretty much irrelevant. We can speculate until the cows come home, but it is only speculation. Both teams will be well prepared.

      I will say this though. There is a lot of emphasis on the role of Stewsrt in this upcoming game. Fine. But, we need all hands on deck. If this is a close game it could be the difference between one turnover, one unnecessary foul, or one missed defensive assignments.

      I had even said earlier that the key to the game will be KML. After reading a mumber of posts and reassessing my own position, I think the key in the game will be wasted possessions.

      If this ends up being a close game, you cannot afford to throw the ball away, make sloppy passes, get called for traveling etc. Certainly, all of these things are a part of the game, but they must be minimized.

      It will also be interesting to see what tone the officials set from the beginning. Frankly, they have been very inept up to this point, so neither team should expect much relief there.

      The nice thing about this game is that both teams want it bad. That will make for a good contest. Lets hope the Lady Huskies want it a little more.

      1. Kevin Cavanaugh

        I agree with the observation that one with the most points wins. I learned that early on in elementary school – we all have.

        All some of us are saying is that UCONN frequently builds up a lead against all teams they face – but when they build it up against ND, they tend to continue going at warp speed and ND chips at the lead until it is gone.

        Many other coaches in all sports, when having a commanding lead and the game is winding down, go into a prevent defense or they play ball control or they go four corners or they simply slow the game down to take advantage of the clock.

        There is NO SHAME in protecting a lead.

        Solid passing is not a strength of the current UCONN team and when they choose to play a very fast game against a team that also wants to play that style of game, they will chip away and if the clock is in their favor, they will take the lead back and win.

        Louisville had, what, 19 or 20 point lead in the second half and they continued to run, run, run, and Baylor chipped at the lead.

        Where Louisville was at the 6 – 7 minute mark, they could have won by 8 – 10 points easy.

        I know, bracc, you can say they won the game but that is not the issue.

        I have seen Geno go from a man-to-man defense to a zone when he feels it necessary and it works well – I have never seen him slow the engines down to help insure a victory.

        1. Bracchus

          We are not in total disagreement here. I do believe that there are times late in the game with a slim lead where you do not want to take chances. I have seen unnecessary passes instead of setting up in the half court offense and running a play.

          I don’t know if I would just slow the game down generally toe=wards the end. Depends on who is in at the time. If speed is to our advantage, then we should use it. For example, if Mo Jeff is in at guard, she can get past virtually anyone. You may not want to take that weapon away from her.

          So, I agree, I just think you need to be selective about slowing the game down and changing the momentum or the rhythm of the game.

          This is where an experienced and competent point guard can make a tremendous difference.

          The other thing is that if you do slow it down and you have a small lead with a couple of minutes left, the other team can go inot foul mode. So, it is going ot be important for our guys to hit those free throws.

          These games with ND have been close. The changes should probably be more strategic and mental. Think about what we are doing and where we are in the game. Substitution patterns will be important as well. Both teams will have runs. How we respond will be critical.

          The other thing wit slowing the game down is that ND could decide to go full court press and trap to force the guards to do something.

          It is going ot be a chess game.

    2. kevins mommy


  9. trouttime

    Village Idiot- At the top of the post- you really nailed it- Touche! I am a fly fishing fanatic- but over the many years U Conn Womens baskeball has “reeled” me in. Every young lady is so awesome in every way- and the way they play every possession- They give me hope for the future. I actually think we are going to win this one, and by 6-8 points or more. I feel this will be the break ou game for this team against them. Hartley looking better. Stewie has come of age, Messiah Jef is coming fast and my girl Morgan Tuck is unafraid and I love her! Drains three’s, lightnng quick first step off the dribble for a big girl, and is not afraid to bang with anyone on offense or defense. She goes hard to the hoop! I am nervous about Dolson- very nervous. But I think we win this game and National championship this year. I think Baylor was the best team by far. That just goes to prove just how hard it is to win as often as we win all the time- especially the 90 game streak. We are blessed- I love that Louisville team too- sat with them often at the Big East tmt and chatted often with them- they are a great group and hope we meet them again!!!!
    Good Luck Huskies and Coaches and thanks for another season that has made all “real fans” proud – once again! Geno said at the open practice for season ticket holders this year,- “we need fans of the program, not just fans of winning”- and he was kind of including fotball and all sports loosely in that quote! It won’t be quite the same without that “nut”! but I love him! He’s our “Nut”!

    1. Kevin Cavanaugh

      Trout, great comments. I agree with it all, especially about the “Fab 3 freshmen”.

      Regarding Dolson, I will be thankful for whatever she can bring to the table Sunday night. If she has to leave early, then just like in the mens Louisville game when one of their best plays went down, others stepped up.

      The good news is that Dolsons pain and injury as unfortunate as it is, might have contributed to the others heating it up.

      That might have been the bell that went off – they might have collectively and individually thought that “Dolson was there in a big way for us all year and now it is time for us to fill in the gaps for her.”

      Teams make runs and all I am saying is that if UCONN has their runs as normal, if they build up a lead to not go 100 miles an hour after building it up because that is what a good team like ND hopes for – because unnecessary speed leads to turnovers or mistakes, and those lead to the other team making points.

      UCONN has a handful of players on fire and it is that fire that will propel UCONN to a victory, by more points than the three losses combined.


  10. UconnFan

    In this game ND has a lot more pressure to win than Uconn since their previous three wins would mean nothing and Diggins leaves with zero national champion ships in her career!

    1. kevins mommy

      Hartley and Dolson have 0 championships in their careers. Faris won 1 because of Maya and Tina.

      1. Dear Unwed Mother

        Wow what a thought provoking comment.That and some loose change can get you a dial-tone.



    1. Kevin Cavanaugh

      20 is not out of the question, COOL.

      Especially with the “Fab 3 Freshmen” lighting up the runway to the net.

  12. Cliff

    Ditto what Village Idiot said!
    Godspeed to our women!
    Godspeed to Geno and our coaches!
    Enjoy life’s challenges, win or lose!
    (Of course, don’t lose!)

    Bring your A game, play with wild abandon, and enjoy every moment!

    Generations before you, we are standing by you now.

    Cliff UCONN ’72

  13. Big R

    To win dolson must have a solid 30 to 35 minutes and they must shoot 40% or better from the 3 point line

    1. Kevin Cavanaugh

      Dolson needs to only give what she can give and the rest of the team will fill in the rest.

      and UCONN does not ned to shoot 40 percent from the 3, they need to shoot enough 3’s to win, that is all.

      and if UCONN bigs close down the paint to ND, it will be ND that will lose by not making enough 3’s

  14. Steve Gee

    I do enjoy John’s blog.
    John isn’t an X’s and O’s guy and his blog reflects that. Except it for what it is.

    I DO however blame the Courant for the lack of full coverage of UConn WBB, of which this blog should only be a part, not the entirety.

    I thoroughly enjoy when J. Jacobs writes about the Huskies, but sadly that isn’t a regularity. (I’ll never forget when Jacobs compared the Hartford Whalers to Sisyphus)

    This game versus ND: It’s often that these kinds of games come down to some “X-factor” player. One player that wasn’t perhaps expected to have a great game but does, and makes the all the difference.
    There are several UConn players that are playing much differently than they did in the B.E. final. If they (Stewart, Mo Jeff, yes even Hartley, Tuck is better without the ball now) chip-in as they are capable, I expect the outcome will be different as well.
    There will be few surprises between these two teams, so I think it will come down to what team has that one, maybe two players that plays above what the opposition was prepared for.
    I just hope those players aren’t wearing green.

    1. Kevin Cavanaugh

      Steve, great comments. I havent seen anything new for ND since the BE tournament – they remain the same very good team they have been. UCONN on the other hand has kicked it up a notch or two – sure, they did it against a couple of pushovers first, but Kentucky is no slouch and neither was Maryland.

      Idaho and Vancy gave UCONN an opportunity to test the waters with the freshmen and trying to figure out what players fit together going on into the NCAA’s.

      The good thing is that Hartley appears to be on the mend and is contributing more. Doty is still a question mark, although she finally scored – a 3 I believe. Long overdue.

      The big concern is Dolson – but if she can give some significant minutes without giving ND an advantage with her limitited physical capabilities, all will be well because the “Fab 3″ have begun to click on all cylinders (MoJe,Tuck,and Stewie).

      For what Dolson might give up, Tuck and Stokes are more than capable of filling in. Stewie and MoJe are the “XX” factors. (XX as in Dos Equis beer commercial).

      So, as Steve Gee above said that the outcome will be determined by the team that has the “X” factor, well UCONN has the “XX” factor.

      I dont mean to slight Tuck but I do want to give the most credit to Moriah and Breanna because they have stepped up the most.

      The term “MoJo” has been around for a long time and Moriah Jefferson is worthy of her own nickname and I offer up “MoJe” because it gives her the individuality she deserves.

      1. Kevin Cavanaugh

        Oh, to me, MoJe is pronounced (MoJay)

        Also, how about Tuck, she doesnt have a short name with a ring to it, so how about “MoTuck”?

        These Fab 3 Freshmen are now the “Three to Watch” and collectively, they will overshadow the one remaining of the old “3 to watch)

      2. Bracchus

        Kentucky is no slouch but their lack of offense and unforced errors was, well, palpable(that will probably upset someone). Perhaps they were a better team than they appeared to be.

        1. Webster


          apparent, appreciable, arresting, believable, blatant, certain, colorable, conspicuous, credible, detectable, discernible,
          distinct, evident, manifest, noticeable, observable, open, ostensible, patent, perceivable, perceptible, plain, plausible, positive, remarkable, seeming, sensible, straightforward, striking, sure, tangible, unequivocal, unmistakable, visible

          1. Bracchus

            Thanks Webstet for your palpable observations. With that incredible list of usages I can probably find a palpable reason to use that word at least 4-5 times a day.

            Palpably yours,


    2. Not Steve Gee

      John isn’t an X’s and O’s guy
      Neither is the UConn staff
      That’s why the Huskies lose close games

      1. The Decipherer

        I thought we lost those games because the refs didn’t want us to win and we were without our 4th sub Banks and Dolson’s piggy toe hurt.

  15. Neither Rick Nor Jim

    If it wasn’t for JA, then Cav, Gee, All Caps, Booger, Meriam, YMCA, and others would have a lot of free time on their hands. These experts spend a lot of time on JA’s blog suggesting ideas for Gino and cheering. Elliott and Fuller are lucky to get 1 comment per article on their blogs. Great work JA.

    1. Great Work Intellectually Bankrupt

      You assuredly have a great deal of free time on your hands as you miss NO opportunity to post on EVERY SINGLE item on JA’s blog. Not only that, you spend so much time here that you even have “conversations” with yourself. I suppose changing names and then posing in agreement with yourself is the closest thing to a real conversation that you’re capable of having.

      Good luck with that, and all your nonsensical ramblings!: )

  16. Not even close

    Unfortunately UConn is going to get crushed in this game. Dolson is limping and the freshmen are clearly intimidated every time they play ND. Hartley has been erratic and lacks confidence. Fairs is playing tough but she and KML can’t do it alone. McGraw has her team playing with a chip on their shoulder and they want this one bad. UConn has gotten better down the stretch but so has ND. Sorry Husky fans. 75-62 Notre Dame. You can take that to the bank.

    1. Steve Gee

      At least NOW we know that a spread of 13 points means someone got “crushed”.

      How convenient that you won’t (or is it can’t?) display the marbles to post under a single name and own your comments.

Comments are closed.