There is no women’s basketball team with more going for it lately than UConn, now 23-1 and on an 11-game winning streak.
This is particularly true since defeating St. John’s 71-65 on Feb. 2, a game Stefanie Dolson missed because of stomach distress.
Nothing the Huskies tried that day seemed to work offensively without Dolson, their axis in the high and low post, to run things through.
Since then, UConn is rolling, three straight romps of Marquette, DePaul and Providence, games the Huskies have won by an average of 53.3 points.
Geno Auriemma says he knows what the difference has been.
“I would say my attitude has been better,’’ Auriemma said. “My approach has been better. I just pretend now everything is OK. I spent four months harping and moaning on doing every little thing right, and then I realized about two weeks ago, maybe after the St. John’s game, that if I pretend everything is OK [the players] really like that. And then they just play.”
Auriemma said his new approach really paid dividends Tuesday during UConn’s 105-49 win at Almuni Hall.
“We had three possessions where we threw [the ball] away. I just pretended they never happened,” Auriemma said. “That’s what they want from me, so that’s what I am giving them. And that’s why we’re being so successful. You think I’m kidding; I’m not trying to be funny.
“This team does not respond very well to heavy demands placed on them, like trying to be really good every possession. I tried that and it doesn’t work. There’s a reason all those shots are going in now. And you’d be surprised why.”
The Huskies are averaging 96.7 points and shooting 56.1 percent from the field. Each of their 10 players has scored at least a point in the last two games and five are averaging double-figures, led by Dolson (17.3) and the resurgent Bria Hartley (16.7).
Hartley is shooting 17 of 28 from the floor, 10 of 16 from three. She also has grabbed an average of 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists since going 0 for 7 from three in 34 minutes at St. John’s.
“There’s a marked difference in her approach,’’ Auriemma said of Hartley. “When Bria has a night where she has six assists, I think that’s indicative she’s on her way back. It seems like we’ve talked about this injury thing [ankle] for so long and her struggles.
“I said that to her one time in the second half [Tuesday] to `help these guys [her teammates].’ I think when you put your focus on helping other people, and you take focus off yourself.’’
As for Auriemma’s input, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis says she’s noticed the difference.
“He hasn’t been yelling about every single little thing and I feel our demeanor’s changed,” she said. “Our confidence has gotten a little higher and I feel like we’re paying more attention to detail.
“We have goals now, like getting more offensive rebounds. Coach gave us a sheet and [said] `You guys have goals every game … if you guys are more goal-oriented you’ll have something to work toward every single game.’ I think that’s been helping us a lot.
Faris on the march
Entering Saturday’s game at Rutgers, senior Kelly Faris is quickly approaching a number of significant career milestones.
She will start her 101st straight game, dating to the 2010 national championship game against Stanford. She in one of only four Huskies to make that many consecutive starts in their career.
Faris also has 968 points, 725 rebounds, 490 assists, and 262 steals. Only Maya Moore, a four-time All-American, has ever scored 1,000 points with 750 rebounds, 500 assists and 250 steals in their career. … UConn said Thursday there are less than 500 tickets remaining for Monday’s game vs. No. 1 Baylor at XL Center.
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