Can Kelly Faris Guard Tamika Catchings Or Maya Moore?

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, Kelly Faris, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

Kelly Faris, UConn’s shutdown defender, is one of the most reliable and fundamentally sound players Geno Auriemma has ever coached.

But she is good enough,  right now, to take on the task of stopping the game’s premier scorers in the WNBA?

“In my time here, I would say the best defender we ever had on the perimeter was Jennifer Rizzotti,” Auriemma said.”Tamika Williams also comes to mind. And both Jen and Tamika were undersized players.

“What happens with players like Kelly is, you understand you can likely guard anyone because you are either tougher or smarter than the player you are against. And she’s both. When she meets up with players who are just as smart and tough as her it will be a challenge.

“Fortunately for us, there aren’t a lot of players around [in the college game] and that is why she has been so successful. But for players who want to become great defenders, the thing to remember is, it’s not as important how tall or short you may be. Jen used to guard Beth Morgan [the Notre Dame guard] who was 6-2. Size isn’t as much of an issue as toughness or smarts.”

As much as he loves the way Faris plays the game, Auriemma isn’t brazen enough to predict she will be able to automatically shutdown the top small forwards and two-guards she will face in the WNBA.

“No probably not,” Auriemma said. “Then again, you if use Tamika Catchings and Maya Moore as examples [of offensive stars], you just mentioned two guys no one in the WNBA right now can guard. If that’s the case, how the heck is Kelly going to do it?

“One of things I find funny about the conversations that take place over players [before the WNBA draft] is when people debate whether a kid can guard Diana Taurasi. And when they determine she [the draftee] can’t, they decide not to draft her.

“Well, you know what [those coaches] shouldn’t coach anybody because there isn’t a damn player in the league that can guard Diana. There are lots of players in the league Kelly will be able to guard, as long as you remember that the reason those guys are in the league in the first place is because they usually can’t be guarded.”

Along with having 66 assists and just 17 turnovers, Faris also has 245 steals, which places were 10th in UConn history.

“All you do is hope you have the ability to make those players do things they aren’t comfortable doing,” Auriemma said. “And yes, Kelly can definitely do that. Her work ethic and adaptability is going to help her tremendously, as well as she likely isn’t going to be asked to guard someone for the whole game. That doesn’t happen at that level [the WNBA].”

I asked Kelly on Monday what she would tell a WNBA GM or coach about her skills in a job interview:

“I am a big team player. I try to figure out a way to work with other athletes. I respect my elders and am a very motivated person who doesn’t like to lose. I am a very competitive person.”

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13 thoughts on “Can Kelly Faris Guard Tamika Catchings Or Maya Moore?

  1. Coach H

    Kelly CAN defend Maya, she has done it at Gampel. Catching is a different, more mobile player–only when Kelly gets to guard Catchings shall we know.

    Regardless of the hypothesis, Kelly can guard most of the guards and forwards in the Wnba.

    1. Misty

      I don’t think she would be able to guard Maya at all. And on offence, she wouldn’t get her 5 or 6 points against Maya, in fact Maya would eat her for lunch.

      No chance on Catching either.

      Agree with Coach H to the extent that: Kelly can guard many of the guards and some of the forwards in the Wnba.

      Not that many balls to dive for in the WNBA.

      1. Coach H

        The question was could Kelly guard Maya. The answer is YES. Will she shut her down, NO!
        Will she reduce Maya’s point total, YES.

        Kelly averages less than 10 points a game. Not one to take over a game in points. Maya wasn’t a defensive force, but she may have a chance to reduce Kelly[s point production. Who knows??

        1. Mark

          You idiot. Maya was and still is a defensive force. Top 3 in UConn’s history for steals. Check your stats before you post your ignorance on a blog.

          Idiot.

          1. Michael Keller

            Unfortunately, steals are not a very accurate measure of defensive ability. Svetlana Abrosimova has never been thought of as a great defensive player, but she is 4th all-time, right behind Maya Moore.

  2. bahmi

    Maya is NOT known as a great defensive player, has never been. Especially on the periphery.

  3. BREAKING NEWS

    WNBA players hustle a lot more than Holy Cross, Oakland, Oregon, and Seton Hall players. Faris game in the WNBA will not stand out that much.

  4. JAMES AMOR PANUELO

    CAN KELLY GUARD MAYA THE ANSWER IS YES BUT SHE CAN’T STOP HER.MAYA WILL SHOOT OVER HER.SHE TO SHORT.KELLY CAN GUARD HER BUT MAYA WILL GO PASS HER ALL THE TIME.I THINK KELLY IS TO SHORT TO GUARD MAYA AND CATCHING.MAYA AND CATCHING THEY BOTH TO ATHLETICS TO KELLY.

  5. JAMES AMOR PANUELO

    REMEMBER MAYA THE ONLY SIX FT TALL FEMALE THAT CAN DUNK THE BALL.THE ONLY FEMALE COLLEGE BASKETBALL PLAYER GRINDER CAN’T BLOCK.WHEN MAYA DRIVES THE BALL.SHE GOT FALL AND ONE.I DON’T THINK KELLY CAN DRIVE THROUGH B GRINDER.

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