Auriemma On Stewart And Fulfilling An Obligation

by Categorized: 2013 NCAA Tournament, Breanna Stewart, Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball Date:

After Breanna Stewart was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Bridgeport Regional, Geno Auriemma talked a little about the change that has come over the freshman since the Big East tournament ended with a third straight loss to Notre Dame this season.

“Her mind has changed,” Auriemma said. “She has replaced the fear of what if with the resolve to come to practice every day to work hard and whatever happens will happen. I noticed it before the Big East tournament. In fact, I mentioned to my coaches  that I felt Breanna would be the tournament MVP if we won it. She was carrying herself differently, acting differently.

“I can’t get inside her head. I don’t know for sure what it was. But I do know there was a different look about her. If I went to Yale or Columbia I might say that her countenance has change.

On getting to six straight Final Fours and 14 overall in his 28 seasons.

“Our fans would have to answer that. I don’t know what it means,” Auriemma said. “We live in a world that this is what we are supposed to do. I don’t what that means other than, we lived up to our obligation.”

The Courant is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on courant.com articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.

90 thoughts on “Auriemma On Stewart And Fulfilling An Obligation

  1. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

    Stewart appeared to enjoy physical contact. Unfortunately, in the next 3 seasons, Stewart will occassionally be a target for some D2 talent level teams adopting the Jeff Walz School of Thugery game plan.

    1. JD

      You are a complete idiot. How is she a target for that and what does that have to do with the article? Show some class. If you can’t then why are you here?
      Congrats on the win ladies. Good luck in the Final Four

    2. huskypat

      Why do you have to post if it is to say something mean about a team that took down the #1 team in the nation? You must be a Baylor fan.
      That is the only logical explanation. Saying that Louisville is a D2 team is hateful and that Jeff Walz’s team Louisville used thugery to win the game. The officiating was bad, but it was bad for both teams, but boohoo, Baylor came out on the losing end – so what.

      1. Kevin Cavanaugh

        I never though Louisville could do what they did but they did it.

        That old saying is still true… on any given day, anyone can beat anyone else.

        Rember when Baylor beat ND and then Stanford beat Baylor and then UCONN bat Stanford and then ND unfortunatly had their way with UCONN 3 times?

        Well that circle will be complete in New Orleans when UCONN returns the favor (unless Duke does it first).

        Stewie is peaking like a racehorse completing the triple crown. MoJo is hitting on all cylinders, Hartley is getting back on track and Tuck is improving and giving quality minutes. Also, Faris is still doing her wonderful things.

        Dolson will get some quality rest and recupe time and will shine as usual. If Steph is not 100 percent, she will give what she can and then enjoy what the others will bring o the table.

        Hopefully, Doty will throw in some quality minutes.

        …and please, Geno, give Buck more than two minutes a game. Let her help in the next two victories. She wants to contribute.

        GO UCONN, GO HUSKIES.

        1. nhntc47

          Our talented freshmen did it again. It was a great joy to watch them. I smell number 8!

        2. Bracchus

          Good comments. But, you, like Geno forgot about Stokes. This kid got in the game yesterday, admittedly when UCONN was up by a considerable margin and made a contribution. I saw her make one mistake. She got a pass and turned into a defender who took the ball away from her. Other than that, she was mistake free. Got some rebounds blocked a shot, played defense and scored.

          I sympathize with your concern about Buck. Actually, I agree with you. She is a senior and could play more than a couple of minutes in these blowouts. I think she should have played at least 5 minutes.

          It was a great win and clearly showed the development of the UCONN freshmen, particularly Stewart and Jefferson. Tuck is getting better with every game as well. But, there is Geno screaming at Stokes on the bench and I am trying to figure out what she did to deserve that reaction. He continues to start Doty which has to be symbolic since he usually pulls her after 2 minutes. She threw a pass into the stands and did something else with what appeared to be little reaction from Geno.

          I will say this. He should reward Jefferson with the starting guard position. This kid is going to be something special to go along with Stewart, Lewis, Tuck, and Dolson next year.

          1. Kevin Cavanaugh

            You are so correct, I slighted Stokes and I did not mean to. I had a mental roster versus the actual and for some reason I thought I was missing someone but then I talked myself out of it.

            Regarding Doty, I am okay with her getting lesser and lesser minutes but if MoJo can deal with getting significant minutes and NOT starting til Doty leaves, I am okay with that. If it adversely affects her mentally and her game as well, then start MoJo. There is something about continuity and Doty starting that shows regularity.

            Bottom line is that MoJo knows she is valued – look at the minutes she is getting AND she hears the fans applauding her play.

            I used to be a Doty fan but when she was hobbling, yet did weird stuff like getting non-game attention making half court shots, that turned me off.

          2. fishpaw31

            Kiah did more than “got some rebounds blocked a shot, played defense and scored.”
            She got three rebounds AND THREE BLOCKS. Her blocks were “quieter” than Stewie’s because they came when the game was already well decided, but still they were three great blocks. I’d like to see her play more, too, but apparently she has back issues. Everyone’s beat up this time of year
            GO HUSKIES!

      2. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

        huskypat says: “Saying that Louisville is a D2 team is hateful”

        learn to read and comprehend before posting stupid comments

        a 5th grader could read my first post and understand that I did not say that

        Geno Juicers are so stupid

    3. t-wolf

      That will be very difficult with the perimeter talent Stewart will have around her. If you think uconn hasn’t found their point guard for the next 3 years, along with Banks, KML, and Stewart all capable of the three, good luck with that idea. Griner couldn’t go to the perimeter, Stewart can.

      Uconn lost to ND because they got out-played at the guard position the first three games. Even the ND trolls are nervous after seeing the difference in the confidence level of BH, and the completely different dimension that MJ brings. Tuck will be a huge factor in the next game.

      Don’t bet against Geno in the next game, you don’t luck into 8 NC If it’s that easy why doesn’t everybody do it?

      1. Kevin Cavanaugh

        You are so correct. Our guards have improved and so has Stewie and Tuck. Faris is solid and so is KML.

        If ND survives the next game, they will wish they didn’t because an entirely new UCONN team has risen to tak back control of the rivalry = and it will not be nice for ND.

        1. Bracchus

          Let’s put things in perspective. UCONN has the top 3 point shooter in the league, one of the top centers in the league, 3 of the top 5 players who came out of high school last year, a Hall of Fame coach and home court advantage in Bridgeport where they were seeded number 1.

          The win over Kentucky was not an upset. It was what was supposed to happen. Kentucky plays scrappy defense, but their offense was virtually nonexistent. UCONN has multiple people who can score.

          To be sure, this was a good victory for UCONN. If they play ND in the next round and best them, they will set the tone for next year even if they don’t win the NC, which frankly, I would find hard to believe. But, after Louisville beating Baylor, anything is possible.

          1. Kevin Cavanaugh

            Good comments Bracc. Also, Kentucky is not used to getting what they dish out.

            Their offense showed up but Faris shut down their key shooter. Kentucky is used to being the pickpocketer and they got their pocket picked equally as much. Walker is overrated and it showed last night.

            Baylor was such a odds on favorite to win it all that Louisville will be known forever for pulling off the biggest upset in WBB history.

            Last observation – KML shoots best from left of key and then to the right but the corners give her a challenge. UCONN needs to run plays to free her up a little more. She, like Maya Moore, has a fast release, but she needs another second or two to send Notre Dame packing.

      2. GENO LOVES ME

        GENO IS 7-6 IN FINAL FOUR SEMI FINALS. SO BETTING AGAINST HIM IS NOT RISKY. ESPECIALLY IF MUFFET AND NOTRE DAME ARE PLAYING.

      3. Stokes Booster

        I love most things about Stokes. But her head is NOT in the game. In the first half when she had an opportunity to show her stuff, she made not one but two turnovers by bringing the ball down low for shorties to get it. She didn’t know what or who to pass to. Geno spoke to her educated her and in the second half, to his credit, put her back in and she played well–where she belongs –under the basket, keep her out of the perimeter.

        Buck a doe in the headlights on offense and defense–looks like a HS freshman. She is a liability . She get 1.4 minutes and she is bad, just bad.

        Doty for a 5th year senior is a disaster. She is hobbled, ok. She can’t keep up with guards when on defense, liability. She makes more bad passes in less minutes than anyone else on the team. Loyalty is great, but not in Big games.

        MoJo is the difference –keep her at point and Uconn will win.

      4. Allen Freshler

        Your right about being outplayed at the point against ND. We need to look upcourt more to break the great press of ND. Post our center at mid court. ND is quicker at nearly every position except Jefferson’s. If she gets more minutes, UConn wins. We also need our players to shoot when open, not look to pass all the time as we often do.

        We should also throw in a zone defense at times to eliminate the easy waltz the ND guards have beating their man to the hoop. Make them beat us from the outside, not layup after layup. We also need to return the favor of charging calls against ND. They live on these calls and go to line nearly every time. Nearly every loss to ND showed a major difference in foul shots taken by ND.

        Getting off to a strong start is vital against ND. Start our best players w/ some speed at point and all willing to shoot!

        We need to pass less, shoot more, ND is quick and gets too many opportunities to pick off a lot of wayward passes. Stop our long cross court pass expecially from out of bounds under our own hoop. Work the ball into Stewart, a very effective weapon down low with a good pass into her. Our best on court passer should make this inbound pass. KLM, then step to the corner for a possible pass back out if needed. Go Huskies!

    4. Sarah J

      Baylor got their just reward.

      A loss in the sweet sixteen, makes Baylor about the fifteenth best team in the country.

      They are back home in Wacko City where they belong.

      Griner the “supposed’ best player ever with 14 points says it all. Some best player in the country when the chips are down, eh?

      1. Kevin Cavanaugh

        Hi Sara.. Unfortunately, Baylor is a better team than how they did against Louisville, but Baylor got their just due.

        I wrote a blog about Kim Mulkey and Baylor Women about them Living by the sword and dying by the sword.

        Anyone wanting to read it, please go to:

        http://kevinfortruth.wordpress.com/

        It is NOT a complimentary piece on Baylor basketball, believe me.

        Please feel free to leave a comment after reading the blog post. Thanks.

        1. Bracchus

          Kevin, I read your scathing comments on Baylor. Interesting.

          I certainly have not seen every game that Griner has played, but last night was hardly indicative of any aggressive or mean streak in her play. She had 3 people guarding her at any given time who were all pushing, shoving and swinging. I don’t know what you saw, but I saw her get fouled on at least 5 occasions with no call. This young lady has remarkable restraint. One of the TV commentators even said that she is going to have to knock someone down because the refs are not doing their job. By the way, the officiating was horrible on both ends, but particularly egregious with Griner I thought.

          Your comment with regard to Sims seems exaggerated as well. She stood up and in my mind was guarding Schimel. If you remember correctly she did not say anything to Schimel, just looked at her

          But since we are talking about Schimel, how about her technical deserving confrontation to Griner after she scored a tremendous basket over her. What did your thuggish Griner do? Said nothing and walked away.

          As to Mulkey’s conduct-please. Auriemma is the poster boy for exaggerated righteousness. So, lets not even go there.

          Finally, I think your characterization of Baylor as a thuggish team is way off base. Your constant reference to Griner punching Barnstable 3 years ago is absolutely one sided. You never tell the entire story. Barnstable is a very physical center who had been roughing up Griner throughout the game. The final straw for Griner was when Barnstable literally through her across the floor.Barnstable was called for a foul which should have been flagrant. At that point Griner lost it. In other words, Griner was being provoked and the other team got what they wanted, Griner getting thrown out if the game.

          Personally, I think Griner could have been far more aggressive given most teams approach to defending her.

          Anyway, try to be a bit more objective.

          1. Kevin Cavanaugh

            I agree, Griner was roughed up the other night but as I said in the article and here, she dishes it out all the time.

            Griner has to keep backing her defender further and further. She has either accidently or on purpose, thrown down people. Have you ever seen anyone drag or throw Griner down? I doubt it.

            Geno raises his hell, I agree but Mulkey cries like an abandoned child when anyone touches one of her players.

            The taunting was on both sides. Sims did it to Schimmel on an inbounds play and Shoni did it to Griner as a “take that big girl”. Both were wrong.

            Schimmels was out of extreme excitement for making an incredible shot – Sims was just to be nasty.

            I just do not like “street ball” in womens college hoops.

            There have been way too many ACL’s and other injuries this year especially.

            There are about 6 – 7 Div 1 schools that play an extremely physical game because they know it will work to their advantage the majority of the time and they will protest every foul called.

            LSU barely dressed enough players to play in the tournament. Maryland, Oklahoma, Penn State, Duke, Stanford, and others had either their key player or 2 – 3 players out for the ear.

            In an effort to gain viewership, NCAA is letting (or encouraging) the womens game to get way too physical.

          2. Kevin Cavanaugh

            In Griner’s defense, because of her height and wingspan, many expect wonderful things from her – while at the same time, others resent her impact on the game because of her height.

            I think the officials could have done a little more early on to control the pack mentality Louisville used against Griner and Baylor – the fouls helped somewhat but even with 3 Louisville key players fouling out, they still hung on to win.

      2. Jon Woulden

        Kevin–

        Have you seen or been to a “mens” game??
        Trash talking is part of the game. In your face play is part of the game.

        I was happy Walz called the Refs attention to the “slap” in the face. If Geno did that when Griner took Dolson down 3 times maybe she would have been ejected.
        The defense on Giner was hands moving in front of her face. Griner kept pushing them away–foul by her (no call). Kim Mulkey was screaming because Griner was being taken out of the game. Her feet were surrounded by LVille feet–she couldn’t move. Good defense not Thugery.

        Sims is tough and a street ball player, so Baylor had little to complain about, except being beaten.

        1. Kevin do you really?

          Think the NCAA is encouraging Physical play?? Street ball? \
          I think it more as Kara Lawson say—BAD REFS. Terrible REFS. In the MD game it looked like the REFS were purchased.
          In the Baylor game, they were biased for Baylor, When Shoni walked up the floor and Sims was in her face–Sims was instigating the trash talk, Shoni was only doing what any one would do and she got a tech too.
          Her 5th foul, was called offensive, yet the Baylor player pushed her knee in front of Shoni–that’s a moving pick, bad Refs–.
          I don’t like trash talk or Street ball in Men or women’s games. It came from the streets of NY. It’s ok on the street or your back yard, not in College where it’s supposed to be about playing the game, honor, dignity, sportmanship, team, school–not who can beat up who–that’s wrestling/boxing/hockey.

          1. Kevin Cavanaugh

            You wont get an arguement from me. Many of your points are spot on.

            One main point – refs do not have a lifetime license to ref games. Coaches and conferences can escalate their concerns. There are reviews of games and if a ref is way off base, so to speak, that ref will not get future plum games down the road.

        2. Bracchus

          I dont think that you can ascribe motivation to Sims or Schimmel’s actions. Schimmel was taunting, pure and simple. Griner ignored it and moved on. Let’s give credit where credit is due.

          You should also understand that we cannot see and hear everything that happens on the court. There is probably trash talking going on all through the game by a variety of individuals. It is up to the refs to control that. They have been noticeably inept throughout this tournament.

          As to Griner taking Dolson down 3 times,that is an exagerration. It was only twice from what I saw and one of those involved Griner getting tangled up with Dolson and aggressively extricating herself. By the way, Dolson was also playing Grner pretty physically.

          Griner does not seek contact. She has a height advantage and other teams try to neutralize that being physical with her much the same as they do Stewart and Doty. It is a part of the game. But, you cannot just take it and/or back down. As a player, you have to set the tone. I have seen this at every level of play down to fourth grade basketball. Should it be a part of the game-probably not. But, that is how the game has evolved and with the girls getting bigger and stronger you can expect more.

          1. Kevin Cavanaugh

            I neve said Griner took down Dolson 3 times. She took Dolson down twice and she took Poppens down once. If you find somewhere where I said 3 regarding Dolson, please let me know – to the best of my knowledge, I have talked about Griner taking people down but not 3 on Dolson.

      3. GENO LOVES ME

        15th best team beat UConn on the Huskies home floor. Thus UConn is the 16th best team. UConn should not even be allowed to play in the Final Four. They lost 3 times to 1 team.

        1. Kevin Cavanaugh

          Why do you hide behind cute one liners? Also, considering UCONN has only lost to ND and Baylor, your standings are way off.

          Also, ND fans only talk about two years of UCONN/ND games. Lets take it just a total of 10 years and see the numbers.

          How many Big East flags are in South Bend? How many Big East titles are in South Bend? How many final fours and how many NCAA championships were won by ND?

          Lastly, how many NCAA championships has Skylar earned?

          The answers to all of those are either zero or one.

          I consistently use the same name on all my posts so people will know who I am. If you dont want to use a consistent name, publish your IP address.

    5. nhntc47

      It’s pathetic that the Baylor coach and Baylor fans (I guess Dirty Deeds is one of them) kept whining about Louisville. Your 6’8 star let those little Louisville girls bully her? How about 16 treys? Besides, I have never seen any Louisville player punch anyone in the face. The bottom line is you Baylor LOST. You’re out! As far as I’m concerned Stewart is in the Final Four and probably will play (and win) a championship whereas your Baylor bears get to sit home and whine.

      1. GENO LOVES ME

        THIS FROM ONE OF THE MANY CLOWNS WHO COMPLAIN THE REFS FAVOR NOTRE DAME OVER LOUD MOUTH GENO AND UCANT.

      2. Kevin Cavanaugh

        Baylor could have attempted to challenge Louisville’s 3 point shots but they chose not to.

        Griner could have got out from the paint to block some 3’s but she was to lazy to do so.

        She is a very good ONE DIMENSION player and that is: hang inside, push everyone back until you can make a simple layup.

        Dolson, Stewie, EDD, KML Maya Moore, Chiney, and others shoot from outside and inside

        Dont get me wrong, Griner is great at that one dimension, but she will not dominate in the WNBA because she doesnt have an outside game.

    6. Rob

      Hey Dirty Deeds, don’t you know that you can’t write things on here that some of these simple minded people will have to think about to decipher. There was nothing wrong with your comment, didn’t have any negative vibe about Louisville or anyone else. Welcome to simpleton.

    7. Congrats Geno/Team

      JR–What triggered that response??

      Stewart is a changed player, was fearful of physical contact. Now handles it well. I don’t think she enjoys it.

      The point on Thugery is one that bothers me. Since Stanford mugged Maya, it has become the method of defense against high talent players.
      I guess it started back against DT.

      Point is I hate it. Regardless of what the “Experts” say, basketball is supposed to be a non contact sport (that’s why fouls were introduced to the game). I’d like to see all fouls in the last 3 minutes to be automatic 3 shots–that would slow down the adnauseatum fouling. In most cases it only draws out the end that would have been the same 5 minutes earlier. OK experts–have a field day.

      1. Kevin Cavanaugh

        Regarding Stewie, I am not sure if she feared contact – I think she just did not know how she fit in.

        She was big kid on campus in New York but then she was second to Stephie. She could shoot 3’s but UCONN had KML.

        It took her a while and it took Geno and his crew to gel. Now Stewie knows she can contribute and that she is valued.

        The sky is the limit now.

        1. Bracchus

          I think that the contact threw her game off. I don’t know whether she feared it or not. Really doesn’t matter. It is the result that counts.

      2. JDM1051

        I so agree about 3 foul shots awarded in the last three minutes of play. The whole game is played one way, and then, for the last few minutes, another way, with endless, very boring fouling that usually only increases the size of the win over the fouling team.

    8. Think of the final 4's

      Think of the final fours EDD and Walker missed?
      Never ever having played in, and may never play in, the BiG Dance.
      In walkers case, a bad performance–thanks to Stewie and getting beaten badly twice by the team she left.
      EDD had the opportunity to 4 final 4ths, maybe 3 or more championships. Does it matter, you bet it does. At some point they both will do the WHAT IF’s all humans do.
      So you suck up your bad choices and say “I was sooooo happy and smart in leaving”, better coaches, better friends, better teammates–as opposed to who??? Losers???

  2. JR

    Surprised folks are getting bent out of shape over this comment. Everyone knows Louisville plays that way. Waltz even said they wanted to play “street ball.” UConn saw it up close in Louisville last year. One doesn’t have to be a Baylor fan or defender to admit that. And let’s be honest: Shimmel’s behavior the other night was moronic. I was hoping both teams could lose by the end.

    1. Kevin Cavanaugh

      My only objection to “street ball” is that it can take out a player or two for a season or can lead to a career limiting or ending injury.

      Louisville played “street ball” early and lots of fouls were called against them in return for that choice.

      All Griner had to do was shift to high post. Also, Baylor players did not shoot long ball successfully to pull Louisville away from Griner.

      Griner has NO outside game. She smartly uses her height to dominate inside but if she had an outside shot like EDD, Louisville would have lost by 20 points.

      Bigger womens pro players will limit Griner in the pros because Griner has a one dimensional game – inside, inside, inside.

      Mulkey did not change her game plan to counter what Louisville did. The bottom line is that the officials penalized Louisville with many more fouls but it didnt matter. Outside shooting won the game.

      Baylor did not adapt until it was too late. Baylor could have won the game by 20 but they were too stubborn to alter their game.

      1. Bracchus

        Clearly, this loss was not Griner’s fault. She only took 10 shots. Mulkey should have made adjustments, one of which would have been to run Louisville’s shooters off of the free throw line.

        However, I think there is a case to be made for this game being stolen by the refs lack of calls. Not an excuse, but a factual comment on the inept refereeing that can affect a close game. If they had called one of the five fouls I saw on Griner, that couls have been the difference.

        But, it is what it is and Baylor put themselves in a position to have to play catch up and they did not.

        Aside from all the complaints, comments and criticisms, this has been an exciting women’s NCAA tournament.

        1. Kevin Cavanaugh

          I agree, Bracc, Mulkey could have called a time out and told her and others how to mix up the offense and defense.

          Who is the field captain? Her teammates kept passing it inside. Don’t they know how to shoot from outside? If they missed, Griner could have gotten 30 – 40 – 50 percent of the rebounds. If Baylor was making outside shots, Griner would not have been trippled up.

          What do relationship experts tell people? If you keep dating the same kind of man/woman, you will have the same results.

          One thing they might have even tried was having Griner sit ot for 5 minutes – Then Louisville’s game plan would have gone wacko – they would have been totally confused.

  3. FREDDKOOL

    FREDDYKOOL: DA BEARS GOT BEAT AN WE’RE GONNA HAVE A PARTY HEY LA DEE DAA DA BEARS R DEAD……AND WE ARE HOTTER THAN A CHERRY BOMB ON THE FOURTH OF JULY….JUST KEEP ON KEEPING LADIES AND COACHES AND EIGHT WILL BE GREAT……CAUSE YOU R ALL “KOOL” I LOVE YOU ALL BABY!!!!

    1. Kevin Cavanaugh

      Freddie, we are hotter than, “Rockets red glare”, and “Bombs bursting in air”

  4. The casual observer

    KC said “That old saying is still true… on any given day, anyone can beat anyone else.”

    So that’s what UConn keeps telling themselves after Notre Dame has defeated the Huskies 7 out of the last 8 games.

    1. Kevin Cavanaugh

      Casual observer – I ask you this – but you will not answer I am sure.

      Has Diggins ever won a national championship?

      ..and what is the historical record between the two schools?

      …what, cat got your tongue???

      1. Kevin Cavanaugh

        by the way, Doty and Faris and Buck all have been on a championship team but for some reason Diggins, as good as she is, has never cut down the net in the final four.

        1. The casual observer

          The casual observer above is a sicko imposter (6:17a.m) I would not have said what that pathetic piece of (you know what) said. It’s probably the one who rows with just one oar in the water.

        1. Kevin Cavanaugh

          No, but they are planning on doing that next Tuesday night, April 9th, while Notre Dame is home watching the game on their televisions in South Bend.

  5. GENO LOVES ME

    WONDER IF PHS WOULD BE HAPPY OR MAD IF 1ST YEAR HEAD COACH HW LED TENNESSEE TO A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WIN OVER GA AND UCONN.

  6. Steve Gee

    I seem to recall some folks saying that Stewart “can’t play in” and “doesn’t like” a physical game.

    So much for that.

    It looks like Breanna “The Roof” Stewart has gotten over her freshman funk phase and is again playing with purpose.

    With Stewart playing as she is, add an improved Mo Jeff to take some pressure off Hartley, and suddenly Hartley is starting to come around as well. That alone could be the difference versus ND.

    Kentucky threw a lot of pressure D with active hands at the Huskies. And as the game wore-on, they handled it better and better. They stayed in motion, found the open man and owned the paint. This game, especially in the way UConn handled that pressure, was the prefect preparation for facing ND in the semi-final.

    1. Congrats Geno/Team

      Steve Gee—Stewart didn’t handle the pressure/physical defense well early on and that drove her to her “funk”. She has come out of it with a roar. She is amazing at times–she can snag a rebound/pass like an outfielder does a fly..
      Steve –not to argue, Stewie was great, but I think the game changed each time Mo Jo was in. We haven’t had one who attacked the basket and scored as easily as Mo Jo.
      I was thrill by her “roofing” that UK player.

      You point on Hartley was right on, and missed by many of us. This is a changed team.

      1. Steve Gee

        Agreed on Mo Jeff.
        My point on Stewart was that to me it wasn’t just “physical” play that kept her from playing up to her capability, it seemed to be nothing more than a freshman hitting that rough patch (The wall as it’s called, as most do) and then adjusting. It’s a big jump from HS to NCAA and there’s usually an adjustment period. I think she’s figured it out now.

        Overall, my point is that UConn appears to be an improved team since they last played ND.
        The question I suppose is, has ND improved as much since they played UConn?
        I think we’ll know soon enough.

    2. Kevin Cavanaugh

      Yes, Steve, timing is everything. Better late than never.

      I, for one,knew Stewie was more than capable. She just needed to figure out how she could fit in. She, with good coaching and teamwork, has found her niche on the UCONN team.

      She doesnt have to be the ONLY 3 pointer or the ONLY rebounder or the ONLY blocker – she now knows she can do a little of this or a little of that and make a difference. In fact, she now knows she can do a lot of this and a lot of that.

      Early on, she gave us glimmers of how great she was going to be. She has a long stride and can fake one way, turn the other, and go in for a layup.

      It took Tina Charles time to find her way and it took Stewie almost as long but that no longer matters – she knows she can make a difference.

      Wow, did you see her parents in the stands last night proudly watching their kid do her thing?

      It reminded me of EDDs family in the stands.

      …and the big thing MoJo learned was to shift gears – she now knows she doesnt have to go 100 MPH, she can downshift and double clutch and use her speed to HER advantage.

      Did everyone see her block that shot last night and scramble and throw a lead pass while on her back?

      MoJo and Stewie appear to be hittig their potential at the same time – but they both are ONLY scratching the surface so far.

  7. DavidinNaples

    Lost in all of Stewie’s offensive stats was her defense on Samarie Walker. Stewie covered her most of the game. Walker had 1 shot, 2 points and three turnovers. Wow..

    1. Kevin Cavanaugh

      …and her two handed block was incredible. a play you normally only see in the NBA or WNBA.

  8. WBB Fan

    I’ll bet Kentucky has a better sense of what “pressure defense” is this morning! The hyperbole( e.g. “Forty minutes of Dread” defense) usually comes back to bite you in the butt…..just sayin’…..

  9. DavidinNaples

    One last thought on Stewart’s “funk” ealier this season. I think the college season is much longer, harder and difficult than anything she experienced in high school. They play more games, travel all over the country and stay in more hotels. I bet one UConn practice is more intense than a week of high school practices. The international, Team USA play was two-three weeks and then back home. The intense weight training after practice was probably new to Stewie as well. My point is she looked tired, both physically and mentally. She seems to have weathered the storm and definitely looks more relaxed and focused. Congrats toher and the rest of the team.

    1. Kevin Cavanaugh

      It is almost as though she said to herself, “What in the hell have I gotten myself into?”

      It was an extended period of adjustment.

      Sort of like someone 40 years old getting married for the first time, and then wondering, “Did I do the right thing?”

      She now knows she is valued and appreciated and can make a difference.

      Keep in mind, she was the oldest an biggest kid when she was a senior. Now she is the youngest and there are kids her height and taller.

      It took an adjustment.

      Now she knows she can stand up to Achonwa and McBride and even block “the Great Diggins” who has never won a national championship, which makes Diggins human.

      One thing no one is talking about is that UCONN as a whole, and especially the three freshmen now know that because little Louisville defeated the giant Baylor, then ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.

      Considering that two of the top four seedes have been beaten, UCONN is more than capable of going all the way.

      After all, they had beaten Texas A&M, Duke, Maryland, Kentucky, Stanford, Louisville, Penn State, Syracuse, and Vanderbilt.

      1. think of this

        Griner is gone, EDD is gone.

        Two of the “faces of Women’s basketball” are in the dust. What does that say about the bubble heads or mouths on legs??? Those that would rather speak of anything other than the game they are supposed to be working.
        Fire the Refs–Fire those who game speak.

        1. Think About That !

          “faces of Women’s basketball in the dust”

          that’s what they said about Maya after Diggins left her in the dust at the Final Four

          1. You're Scary Stupid

            and UConn still lost and was left in the dust

            no one cares who comes in 2nd

        2. Kevin Cavanaugh

          It was inevitable that EDD would be gone – she simply did not have the supporting cast of characters like the larger Div 1 schools in major conferences do.

          Very few people expected Griner to be gone at this point of the tournament.

          On a side note, I thought Dolson deserved to be 2nd team All American.

  10. Big R

    UCONN looking good but I think Dolson being able to play 35 minutes and making at least 40% of their 3 point shots against ND will be key. They have to free up Lewis more.

    1. Kevin Cavanaugh

      Hey Big R, aka Poor Math R;

      Don’t know how you count or do math but Dolson only has made 2 or 2 and 1/2 percent of UCONN’s 3’s, NOT the 40 percent as you erroneously calculated.

      Also, 20 / 25 or 30 minutes would be nice but if not, there are two other tall bigs than can come in and play hard, one of which is doing quite well lately, if I might add.

      I do agree, however, with your last statement. KML has to get free more and solid guard passing will hopefully help that happen.

      The stage is set. The talking needs to be replaced by two teams and two coaches that will determine the outcome.

      and that game only determines who plays for the championship.

      Good night, all.

      1. Kevin Cavanaugh

        Oh, Big R, you might be thinking of Stewart – she made almost 3 times the 3’s as Dolson, but still a small number in total – no where near the 40 percent to wrote about. Also, Faris made 6 times more 3’s than Dolson and Hartley made 5 times the number of 3’s than Dolson.

  11. A Auriemma

    Even if Stewart becomes a target for physical contact, Tuck is emerging and that body seems to be able to back down alot of opponents.

    And if Stewart becomes a target for contact, I can only imagine that she will be putting some off season work into her 3 point shot.

    Huskies will be very good for the next 2-3 years. Very good. Definately better next year than they are now. Losing Faris will hurt, but the defense of Moriah (guard play) and Kiah (post play – 3 rebounds, 3 blocks, 6 minutes vs Kentucky) can make up for what she brings to the table.

    1. Anne Elke

      If you can’t beat them – you beat them. Refs allowed it to happen to EDD and Griner – but not Diggins. The better Stewart gets the more difficult it will be for 99% of WCBB players to guard her. Coaches will resort to wearing her down with contact. Imagine if she bulked up close to Tina’s size. ;-\

    2. Kevin Cavanaugh

      Plus they are adding Chong, who will be a scoring threat. Scoring will not be a problem for UCONN in the next 2 – 3 years but hopefully Chong and MoJo and Banks will help improve ball handling – the weakest part of the current UCONN arsenal.

  12. Gerri

    Wow! Who is that lanky 6’4″ kid? I’m one of the mid season doubters that couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. I’m pleased to have just finished picking the last bit of crow from my teeth. If ND was watching I hope they are thinking that she is just got lucky for a few games. The luck of the Irish is just about to run out.

  13. Litchfield Husky Fan

    Good teams and good coaches adjust to how a game’s being called. Mulkey had no Plan B. She was badly outcoached. Griner was bottled up and passive on O. She rarely shot over the players guarding her even though they were all at least 6 inches shorter. Sims made plays but the rest of Baylor did nothing. It’s like the team came out thinking they’d won before the jump. Mulkey did not have her kids ready. Then, instead of taking responsibility for that she blames the refs. Classless. If Geno knocks the refs he usually points out the game shouldn’t have been so close that the refs could decide it. I didn’t hear anything like that from Mulkey.

    UConn is jelling at the right time. Bria’s starting to play to her ability again. Stewie’s become a Wow! MJ’s now a significant contributor. This is not the team we saw through mid-March; they’ve jumped to another level. This can/will be a NC team — and Geno’s best coaching job ever.

    1. UConnFan

      Geno’s been outcoached by Muffet in 3 Final Fours and 7 out of the last 8 games

      1. Litchfield Husky Fan

        Muffet’s done a great coaching job herself this year. Wins don’t always mean you outcoached the other team; UConn’s had some long winning streaks and not all those teams were outcoached by Geno. In many cases he simply had way more talent on the floor, just as Muffet had a more talented team than UConn last year. Muffet also had and has a great player (especially end of game) in Skylar and another clutch player with McBride. And Loyd came along fast for a frosh. But my point was about the future: with Stewie & MJ finally jelling and Bria returned to form this UConn team is formidable in a way they weren’t a month ago. If Dolson’s health allows her to play anywhere close to form they’ll beat ND if ND gets past Duke. I wouldn’t have said that a month ago.

  14. Husky Dave

    Wow, what a response to a game. There are only 3 teams in WCCB that can be considered “elite”‘ everyone else is a pretender. The KY coach thinks he’s joined the elite, but last night should have convinced him that he hasn’t (40 Minutes of DEAD). With Griner out, UConn has an excellent chance to win it all. The mountain that needs climbing is ND; everyone else is beside the point.

  15. ray-ray

    great week—–tara vanderkweers stanford team goes down(wonder if tiger and condoleeza were there for that one)
    then mr.griner and baylors cry baby coach go down.door is open for geno,but pleassssse keep DOTY off floor.

  16. mike mcmanus

    This is probably one of the most informative blogs this year because there were a majority of positive [and honest] statements and few negative comments from the usual anonymous name-callers/detractors. I’m not a Griner supporter but after seeing some film clips of the game yesterday, she was really being mugged. I only watched the 2nd half but I sensed that something was wrong because she didn’t seem to be playing with any energy either on the offensive or defensive end…I think she simply gave up because of the abuse and the fact that Louisville was raining 3’s on Baylor.

    Regarding Stokes, I agree with those who said that Kia deserves more time; according to the box score and as previously stated, she played 6 minutes and had a bucket, 3 rebounds and 3 blocks which is certainly decent. Did Geno limit her time because she has a back issue or was he not happy with her play? The fact that she had an MRI of her back has surfaced only in the past day or two.
    I was concerned about how UCONN would respond to KY’s famous full court pressure and in the beginning, they looked pretty ragged. But they acclimated to it and to be honest, I think UCONN’s half court pressure was more much effective than Kentucky’s press. To all those in past weeks who criticized Stewart [too soft], Faris [over rated], Jefferson [too young], Shea Ralph [can't even coach guards], and Geno [for most everything], EAT Crow my friends….you only demonstrated your ignorance.

  17. Kevin Cavanaugh

    The following quote is attributed to Albert Einstein.

    “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    It appears that UCONN played basically the same kind of game three times against Notre Dame while hoping for different results.

    I bet UCONN will be taking a significantly different approach this time and as a result, the outcome will be different.

    Notre Dame might be comfortable playing the same kind of game because they feel the results will be the same.

    Notre Dame will be reintroduced to three UCONN freshmen who are no longer playing like freshmen and Notre Dame will also be met by a resurgent UCONN team running smoothly and efficiently on all cylinders and more than up to the challenge in New Orleans.

  18. villadörr

    You have noted very useful details! PS. nice web site. “Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.” by Tom Robbins..

Comments are closed.