Another Day, Another Tough Loss To Notre Dame

by Categorized: Notre Dame women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

First, it was an aberration. Then it was a coincidence. By the end of last year it was definitely a trend.

Come Monday, it had become a legitimate annoyance.

Notre Dame’s success against UConn had made its point. Losing five of six over the last three seasons against a top rival – including two national semifinals – can toss and turn you.

So as much as Monday’s showdown with the Irish at Purcell Pavilion was about sharing the conference title with them, it was really more about re-establishing a positive train of thought for UConn heading into the postseason.

And what happened here was historic, certainly for the women’s game, still so littered with ordinary teams.

Not these two. Equally matched, equally inspired, equally resilient, they battled three through three overtimes before the Irish prevailed, 96-87.

“I guess you can see that we are not too good at sharing [the conference title],” said Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins.

It was the first triple overtime game in the history of both programs. In their last three losses, the Huskies led in the final minute.

“I was incredibly pleased with my team’s resiliency, its refusal to lose,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “We were done at the end of regulation and the first overtime.”

Notre Dame (28-1, 16-0) closes out an undefeated conference season and clinches the first seed in this weekend’s Big East tournament in Hartford. It’s 23rd straight win ties a program record.

UConn (27-3, 14-2) is the second seed. And for that it can blame 35 turnovers (10 in three OTs) and errant free throw shooting in the three overtimes (7-of-13).

“How do I explain the turnovers?” Auriemma said. “I don’t know. I guess we’re not any good. … We need to protect the ball better and we didn’t do it. And unless we do a better job of it, this is going to be it for us.”

By the end, UConn was without Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley. Notre Dame was missing Kayla McBride. All had fouled out.

So Notre Dame freshman Jewel Loyd (six points, 54 minutes) and Diggins rolled off six straight points in the third OT to revive the Irish.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis led UConn with 26 points in 55 minutes. Kelly Faris scored 21 with 13 rebounds in 53 minutes.

Stefanie Dolson scored 12 points with 11 rebounds, but completed a reverse triple-double with 11 turnovers. Bria Hartley added 10 points.

Diggins (29 points, 11-of-31) played 55 minutes. McBride (26 points, 11-of-28) and Diggins combined for 55 points and 59 shots of Notre Dame’s 89 shots.

“If you don’t do the little things you need to do at the right time to put yourself into position to win … we couldn’t finish it off.”

This was a wonderful game, played primarily in half-court, the teams trading screens, whipping the ball around, dipping shoulders looking for space and good scoring chances.

Tied at 64 after regulation, Breanna Stewart (seven points, 40 minutes) missed the front end of a penalty situation then Natalie Achonwa hit two free throws to pull the Irish within 70-66 with 1:47 to play.

After the Irish forced a shot clock violation, McBride missed a forced three and Auriemma called timeout with 57 seconds to play. The Irish regained possession but Kaila Turner missed a shot and Faris was fouled with 28.6 to play.

Faris missed the foul shot, but Notre Dame could not convert and Stewart when to the line and missed again.

Finally with 13.9 seconds to play, Achonwa made two free throws to cut the lead to 70-68. Morgan Tuck was then fouled and made one of two to increase the lead to 71-68 with 13.2 to play.

Then McBride forced the second overtime with a three with eight seconds remaining. It was Notre Dame’s only three-pointer of the game in 12 attempts.

“Every chance we had to put the game away we let slip away,” Auriemma said. “I never thought the kid [McBride] would just walk up to the three-point line and we’d just watch her shoot it.”

The Huskies had a 64-63 lead with 48.5 seconds to play in regulation after a basket by Faris.

UConn looked like it had the game won when Natalie Achonwa turned it over with 37 seconds left. But Dolson was inexplicably called for an offensive foul, her fifth of the game.

Worse yet, Hartley then also fouled out sending Diggins to the line for two shots.

She tied the game at 64-64 with 27.2 to play. But Caroline Doty turned the ball over when Diggins tied her up and the Irish had the final shot. But McBride missed with three seconds to play.

It was as fiery first half. With 8:21 to play, UConn ahead, 19-13, Dolson was called for her second foul. Auriemma vehemently disagreed and was hit with a technical by veteran official Dennis DeMayo. The two continued to yell at each other for a long time from opposite ends of the floor, UConn assistant Chris Dailey doing her best to keep Auriemma out of more trouble.

Now the Huskies need to regroup quickly if they want to win the conference tournament.

“I don’t know,” Faris said. “The 35 turnovers were incredibly unacceptable.”

 

 

 

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44 thoughts on “Another Day, Another Tough Loss To Notre Dame

  1. UConn Chokies

    Doty and Hartley are the WORST back court in UConn history under Geno. Do they even practice dribbling and passing? Do they even practice decision making? What is Shea doing with the guards? Doty’s decision making has nothing to do with her knees. Hartley is a head case. Stewart great blocks but obviously wants no part of physical contact. Why was Dolson not posting up? So she could move on a screen 80 feet from the basket? Don’t care how great you think Faris is. She got burned many times and her late turnovers were as bad as Jeffersons.

    1. Bracchus

      You are absolutely correct. Far too much credit is given to certain players when UCONN beats a team by 40+ points. Those games prove nothing except that UCONN recurits better than most teams. The competition is getting stiffer and as the top high school players start to looking to other options, UCONN’s domination may falter.

      I cannot say enough about the improvememnts in Stefanie Dolson and Kelly Faris. They have been dramatic.But, flying under the radar is the improvement in an already fine offensive player. Kaleena Mosqueda Lewis has become the complete player. No longer just a three point shooter, although she does that very well, she now defends and rebounds effectively. She is the cornerstone of this team and there isn’t one person on the team, including Kelly Faris that works any harder.

      Geno is making a mistake by nailing Kia Stokes to the bench. He puts up with sub par performances from Caroline Doty and Bria Hartley, but refuses to give Kia a real chance.Kia adds interior defense and rebounding. She isn’t an emotional player but makes few mistakes.

  2. FIRE GENO

    For someone who has “won” 7 NC thanks to 7 POY and multiple AA, Geno forgot Basketball 101.

    Geno did not miss FTs tonight. His players did. Geno did NOT score 1 point in UConn’s 7 NCs. His players did.

    Foul before a shooter attempts a 3PT to tie the game.

    If your center has 3 or 4 fouls, instruct her Not to screen 80 feet from the basket.

    Great decisions to Not see if Stokes can block 1 or 2 shots and grab 2 or 3 rebounds.

    Great decision to Not see if Buck can give you 1 minute in each half of solid defense. Maybe with 1 more minute of extra rest, CD can remind Dolson to NOT screen 80 feet from the basket.

    Live by your favoritism. Die by your favoritism. Great decision to leave Doty and Hartley in so long. Brilliant.

    Will Geno ever LEARN to DEVELOP his young players instead of running up the score on middle school teams?

    Geno and CD got all that credit for recruiting the #1 high school player who turned out to hate contact. Did she not realize that basketball was a contact sport?

    Geno and CD got all that credit for recruiting the #1 high school player who has no confidence because she gets yanked after 1 mistake.

    Geno and CD might consider recruiting tougher players. They are easy to spot.

    Once again Geno had 2 sets of rules. 1 for Zero Doty and Brick Bria. 1 for Stokes and Jefferson. Brilliant.

    KML the superstar also proved she does NOT have Diana’s killer instinct against equal talent. If she really wanted the basketball she would have found a way to get it out of Doty’s useless hands.

    1. The Fan Tastic One

      Much in what you say. I’ve complained all year about not putting all the Frosh and Stokes in all the games. You can practice all you want but game experience is only obtained in games. This was a great learning game for Tuck and Stewart. Mo Jeff made a terrible decision to hand the ball off with two defenders between her and Kelly. Even in Elementary school you learn not to do that.
      Dolson’s role is to stay in the game and score under the basket. Steward or Tuck could not contain Achonwa, I thought Muf would have gone to her everytime down the floor.
      McBride is an amazing scoring machine–if she throws the ball up with her behind–it will go in.
      She came down the floor and shot that (lucky bounce) three quickly before any guard could get up on her to foul her.

      Uconn was up by 6 with a minute 13 seconds. Why the ball ever got into the hands of Freshmen during that time, is beyond me. Last year Muffet won the first contest between Uc/ND because she went after the freshman KML.
      KML learned, these kids will. But Geno should have known they are the weak link at crunch time.
      With Hartley and Dolson out with fouls. All he had left was Stokes and Buck. Would they have done better than anyone on the floor then?? We’ll never know.

      1. The Fan Tastic One

        Notre Dame played tough tight defense during the 3rd O.T. That’s what won the game, Uconn lost the game at the end of regulation.
        Notre Dame has 8 role players and two scorer McBride and Diggins.

      2. mike mcmanus

        Your comment about Mo Jeff was so correct. The defense doesn’t have to double the ball carrier when she dribbles for a hand-off to a team mate thus bringing the double team together. That was among one of the most stupid moves that I’ve seen…even though she’s a freshman, I expected more from her based on her reputation.

  3. Dkylar Siggins

    Doty has taken 2 FTs all year, shot 37% FG. If Geno is going to risk losing, why not bench Doty and let Jefferson learn. If the primary goal is to win the NC, then why care if UConn losses 3 to 6 games in the regular season with Jefferson at PG? Why does Hartley get to continue playing while stinking up the joint but Stokes and Jefferson don’t? If the primary goal is to win the NC, why not develop Stokes and Jefferson? Who cares if you lose 3 to 6 regular season games?

    1. Mike

      You forgot to mention she missed both of those free throws, therefore shooting 0% from the line. (I didn’t want you to underestimate her futility)

      1. Here's An Idea

        No. Complaining because his starters continue to lose the game while his sophomore and freshmen get thrown under the bus by Geno.

    2. bogey29free

      my thoughts exactly..it’s the end of the year and if Jefferson had been given some previous big game experience,she could have been a super quick fresh pair of legs that made a difference in the overtimes,instead of still a scared freshman.Hartley and Doty have been awful all year,but you can’t bash Kelly Farris on this one,yeah she missed that big free throw,but she also made a number of big plays down the stretch when no one else on uconn seemed to want the ball.

  4. Holy Moley

    The game came down to this: In regulation time 6 missed free throw. 35 Free throws for ND 21 for UConn. 35 turnovers for UConn 22 for ND. Turnovers and Free throws.

    Tuck and Stewart played well, they got good big time game experience, you can only get that experience in a big time game.
    Dolson, Bless her soul, knew better than stick a knee out when setting a pick.
    Uconn was up by 6 with 1 minute 13 seconds left–Why do you throw the ball to a Freshman?? KML is the best shooter on the team, but she never got the ball — it should have been in her hands from start to finish in the last 1 plus minutes.
    3 overtimes are unheard of in Women BB. Uconn blew another against ND–but it took 3 ot’s to do it. Tuck, Doty, Faris, Stewart and KML played a great game–better than anyone thought they could or would. Let us all cheer the effort. Notre Dame will not get by Uconn any more–they were very very lucky to win this one.

    1. Hey Joe

      Wait. What? Doty played a great game? 5th year senior running out the shot clock and getting caught in traps? Faris played great. But made freshmen like stupid turnovers and decisions. And she got burned a lot.

    2. JR

      We saw different plays because Dolson did not stick her knee out. As usual, Diggins ran square into someone and got the benefit of the call.

      Stewart had some great blocks but was 1-7 from the floor, had 6 rebounds and 5 TO’s in 40 minutes, and missed three huge FT’s in OT, two of them front ends of 1-and-1’s. She had some impact defensively but I wouldn’t call that a great game overall.

      Also, Doty was 0-1, no points, 1 assist, two TO’s in 21 minutes. How on earth is that great?

      1. Here's An Idea

        Diggins missed 20 shots. McBride missed almost as many. Notre Dame won. Not because the refs. Because UConn upper classmen choked another game away. SELFISH players who care more about launching 3PT against middle school teams instead of practicing ball handling against pressure.

      2. bogey29free

        she didn’t stick her knee out but she was moving,she wasn’t standing still,that’s called a moving screen 80 feet from the basket.Sure it probably could have been overlooked but with 4 fouls why was she even down there putting herself into jeopardy.

      3. mike mcmanus

        I agree that Dolson did not stick her leg out but she did move slightly…something that she does quite often. Unfortunately, when you watch both Men’s & Women’s games, rarely does the player setting the pick stay in place and I would estimate that the pick is moving 80% of the time…..yet rarely called.

  5. Alex

    Right on target, Fire Geno.
    Not that he should be fired, but if he wants to win he’s got to rethink who he plays when and find someone who can handle the ball without getting trapped in key situations.
    My two observations are they don’t seem to have much in the way of basketball smarts such as to whom to inbound the ball late in the game when you know you’re going to get fouled, and there is no toughness or confidence late in the games, so you have the inability to make free throws.
    This game was lost many times in the last two minutes of regulation, the first OT and the second OT.
    For example, why are they inbounding to Tuck near the end of the game? What’s the matter with Mosqueda-Lewis having the chance to make two free throws? I like her chances better than Tuck’s although Kaleena did miss one.
    Just not a lot of basketball smarts or toughness. Stewart is a real disappointment with her inability to make any clutch shots, especially at the line, and for all those who were touting Faris for All-American a few weeks ago, look at the crucial mistakes she made in the clutch too. Charging, missing the front end of a one and one, getting lucky on another charge not being called. They’re a real mess, yet on the road in a hostile environment getting jobbed on some bad calls like the block call on Dolson, they still could easily have won if anyone made a play.

    1. nhntc47

      Actually, they could have won all the three games that they lost. They lost because they played like “opponents” instead of like “champions”. What happens to Stewart? She was brilliant the first 10, 15 (?) games and then suddenly she has the Heather Buck look on her face.

  6. Wade Russell

    At the risk of repetition UConns chances of a national title are 15-1 at best. Go with a new set of guards. Doty shows time and time again she can’t perform in big games. Hartley is a waste of time with her out of control actions. The refs in the womens game are an embarrassment both ways. UConn is now being out recruited and maybe starting to be outcoached. Terrible there are only 3 big games each year of which UConn lost all of them.

    1. JR

      There are no other guards. Banks is gone and that leaves Jefferson which would be a disaster in an intense game. I’ve said it before: if Hartley doesn’t return to something approaching a good player, UConn isn’t going to win anything this year or next.

      1. Here's An Idea

        Play Jefferson 20 minutes each and every game this season INSTEAD OF WINNING BY 30, 40, 50, 60 OR MORE POINTS so that KML and Dolson can rack up numbers trying to get All American status. BLAME GENO AS USUAL.

        1. JR

          I don’t get the correlation. Dolson plays about 20 minutes in blowouts and KML certainly doesn’t pad her stats; she could probably average 23-25 at a much smaller school. I also don’t think playing Jefferson 20 minutes a game would’ve changed much. She’s playing 17 per game as it is.

      2. browns

        Your 100% correct.I’ve been saying since the start of the year they won’t win anything without Bria back to form

  7. DEAR KIAH STOKES

    PLEASE TRANSFER. GENO HATES YOUR GUTS. HE WOULD RATHER LOSE TO TEAMS WITH EQUAL TALENT THAN LET YOU PLAY. SHOW THE WORLD YOU CAN BE AN EXCELLENT PLAYER. WHO CARES IF YOUR NEW TEAM DOES NOT WIN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. ONLY ONE TEAM DOES. AND UCONN IS NOT WINNING NEXT YEAR’S CHAMPIONSHIP WITH HARTLEY AS THE LEADER AND DOTY GONE.

    1. Bracchus

      Frankly, I do not know how the players deal with Geno’s demeanor.There is being demanding, and there is being an asshole. He is overbearing. I know he has won 7 national championships berating players all the way, but I have to think that is wearing thin. Other coaches seem far more professional. He paces the sidelines ranting and raving on every play even if they are 40 up. You can be forceful in your correction of players, but yelling out to Doty(who should not have been in the game in the first place)-“What the hell are you doing?” loud enough for everyone in South Bend to hear was totally unnecessary. That was the time to sit her down and calm his team down and indicate his faith in their ability to win the game. Up to now players have tolerated his behavior because UCONN was by far the best program in the business. Parity is settling in and it will be interesting to see how Geno copes.

  8. Wendy

    Hey folks, it’s ONLY A GAME! Yes, it would have been great to see the UConn women beat ND but in the scheme of things it’s still ONLY A GAME!

  9. Cliff

    Want proof of what happened? Go to ESPN.com and rewatch the game. We are way ahead, then WHO comes in, and within minutes we are tied again, our lead lost?

    I was shocked to see the consistency of who, the one player, who took the steam out of UCONN every time. I love Geno but Geno, you HAVE to study this, cause your emotional attachment to one particular player has lost us this season.

    She should NOT be in there. Your good sense knew that cause you did NOT start her, FINALLY!

    But I was shocked to see how consistent it was that when Doty came in, UCONN slid backwards. Not once, not twice, but every time.

    Geno, you can’t be a champion when you defeat your own team.

    Forget arguing about this FACT, all commenters. Just re-watch the game and study the truth.

    Geezzzz!

    1. nhntc47

      How can anyone disagree with you? Remember last year against ND? If Stokes were in this game we would have won. Stokes is a great rebounder and blocker and she certainly would hit her free throws.

      1. Bracchus

        Exactly. Stokes is not an emotional player and I suspect not in sync with Geno’s high profile personality. Good coaches find their player’s strengths and capitalize on them. Let’s face it, when Faris came in as a freshman, and up until sometime last year, she was a nonentity on the offensive end of the floor. Teams didn’t even gusrd her. Geno let her learn on the fly. He indicated confidence in her. That is what gets results. His treatment of Stokes is mind boggling.

        The key to ND’s win was twofold. The intensity of Diggins and McBride. They were not going to lose in their house. I did not see that intensity in any of UCONN’s players. In fact, the only intensity I saw at all on the UCONN side was the indignation of Geno when certain players made a mistake. Contrast that with the demeanor of his new basketball arch nemesis, Muffet McGraw.

  10. wishful thinking

    Those who have argued for player development in blowout games are right on. Those who think UConn lost because of bad calls have no clue.

    Next year, UConn will really miss Faris, not Doty. UConn will really struggle, IMO, because they still won’t have the guards. There is nothing that says Banks will recover her speed, or that Jefferson will gain any weight to be able to compete at this level. Chang will be a freshman and we have all seen how that works when a team has to rely on freshmen.

    UConn is being out recruited for several season now. Forget all the accolades the incoming class had. They have not shown ability to play at this level (other than Tuck, who has improved). Stewart doesn’t look like a player at the elite level. Against lesser teams she looks great, kind of like in high school.Not so much when the talent level is more equal. Jefferson doesn’t have the ability to stay in front of someone, currently, with all her vaunted speed. Even if she could, her body type is always going to be a problem for her.

    The one saving unknown might be the new practice facility. Maybe then UConn can get some blue chippers at guard. Without better guards, this team is going nowhere for the foreseeable future.

    1. JR

      Let’s put the canard that Stewart only dominates lesser players to bed. She single-handedly lead her HS team to a NY state title by beating teams with much better overall talent. She was also the best player in several international tournaments despite being years younger than the others playing. Go look at Tarausi’s freshmen numbers and tell me she was any better.

      1. Bracchus

        Stewart’s problem is that she came in highly touted and the expectations were high. She isn’t Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi or even Kaleena Mosqueda Lewis. If she is going to play inside, she will have to get tougher. She has all of the innate skills, she just has to have the confidence to use them and then go out and play aggresively. She has to find her comfortable spot on the floor and then get comfortable in other spots.

  11. wishful thinking

    DT’s numbers may have been about the same or slightly worse or better (I did not look them up), however, she had progressed nicely her freshman season up to that one game when the wheels fell off in the post season. That progression included playing well against some of the better teams of the day. Can you say the same for Stewart?

    The issue goes beyond Stewart and my opinion of her potential. UConn needs top flight point guards.

  12. ray-ray

    caroline doty melted like a bag of ice in a sauna.my first blog this year i stated that DOTY would be the reason UCONN would not win big this year.all the bleeding hearts, jumped on me.how do you feel now?”DUMMY DOLSON,commits more stupid mistakes in big games than anybody—she had 12 turnovers,missed layups and shes not even a guard.whats even more glaring is ND doesnt have a legit center.like it or not folks ND and others have gone past UCONN recruiting wise.the hard fact is ND has better players.

    1. nhntc47

      There’s still the tournament. I hope Geno won’t let Doty lose for us against.

    2. JR

      What is your basis for the claim that ND recruits better or has better players currently than UConn? A couple of wins they were fortunate to eek out against banged up Husky teams? UConn lead for 90% of a 55 minute game on the road despite Banks and Stokes not playing and Hartley and Tuck playing through injuries. And even then the Irish needed UConn to miss umpteen FT’s and get a fortuitous bounce on a three to win.

    3. JUSTME

      I believe our players are clearly better which is why there is so much frustration revealed in the comments. If we had lesser players, we would accept defeat easier such as with Baylor. I believe it is the bad direction and negative energy from the sidelines that is our problem.

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