Here are a few snippets from Geno Auriemma’s postgame comments following Monday’s 77-44 win over Vanderbilt in the second-round of the NCAA Bridgeport Regional.
“One of the things we talked about before the game, at this point in the season, generally you’re going to be playing teams from pretty good conferences that play really good basketball and have beaten some pretty good teams. This Vanderbilt team beat Texas A&M. So we’re going to have to really play. I thought Vanderbilt did a great job of taking us out of some stuff early on and the whole first half, there were a couple of runs, but we just couldn’t find our footing. But our defense was so good that it never felt like we were struggling to keep the lead or struggling in the game period. I thought our defense was as good as it was at any time this year. That’s exactly what you need at this time of the year.”
How important is Caroline Doty to this team?
“We’ve won a lot of games with Caroline Doty as our starting point guard over the years. We’ve won a national championship with her as our starting point guard. It’s just been recently that she’s the worst player ever to play at Connecticut if you listen to the outside coaches. But when you get in the NCAA tournament, there’s really nothing like having been there before and having experienced what it feels like and knowing that you have something that you can provide for the team. I’m not surprised by how she played today. I just truly think that if Caroline can play significant minutes in this tournament, we’re going to be a difficult team to beat.
Is Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis the person who needs to take the big shot?
“My thing with Kaleena is, like a lot of a lot of young players, they tend to speed up. As they get older the game slows down for them. I think every player, at every level, they’ll tell you the game was in slow motion for them. They’ll tell you they can see everything happening before it actually happens and the opposite is true. Things are sometimes going so fast that they can’t keep up with the game. That’s usually a function of where their mind is. Kaleena wants to be great, she wants to be the best player in the country, and she’s awfully competitive. I thought there were a couple of times today where she was in a hurry. I think playing so many minutes, because for a large part of the season, she was the one constant threat out on the floor, was a little bit of a disadvantage for her. But we just didn’t have anybody else in those big games.”
What are your thoughts on Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis?
“Shooters are kind of funny people. They are very fragile. But I’m hoping that as she grows throughout this tournament, and if we’re lucky enough to play a few more games, you watch her now as she’s shooting shots other than threes, there’s calmness about her. That didn’t exist before. There might be a lot of great players in the country, a lot of great one on one players, a lot of great shooters and offensive players, but I don’t know if I’d trade her for anyone else.”