DePaul coach Doug Bruno said Sunday he ran into Donald “Dee” Rowe, the former UConn men’s coach, in the halls of Gampel Pavilion after Sunday’s game. And the two reminisced about the old days when team’s road buses through snowstorms for five hours to get to games. Then they got off the bus, played and went home.
“I don’t want to minimize what our players went through, but at the same time I just saw Dee Rowe, and that’s what these teams did all the time, except they took buses,’’ Bruno said. “Five hours on a bus and then had to get out and play. It’s something that our athlete in today’s day and age isn’t used to, but that’s the way it goes. You just have to strap them on and play. You just can’t have excuses like that. You really can’t.”
Bruno said he was always determined to get his team to Connecticut, despite the delays and cancellations that pushed the trip into Sunday morning, six hours before tipoff
“As long as our players were going to be safe getting here, I knew we were going to do everything we could to get here. I packed Wednesday night. I was ready to go. I knew we weren’t leaving Thursday morning. We’re in the middle of finals and there’s no way we were even thinking about leaving Thursday morning.
“But we were working very hard Thursday morning to get out Thursday night or Friday, but we couldn’t. People don’t realize we handle snow very well in Chicago. But we did have eight inches on Thursday night. There was an ice storm on Thursday night.
“So Saturday morning was the earliest we could get out. The airport [Bradley] didn’t open until 6 [Sunday] morning. So we did what we had to do and we got here. And that’s the way it is. And that’s the way it should be. We played and it’s over and it’s a no-excuses team.”
So what was the big deal with the travel problems DePaul faced to get the UConn for Sunday afternoon’s game?
Bruno said what bothered him more was the effort of the Blue Demons, who were pounded. Katherine Harry, the Big East’s rebounding leader, had no rebounds. Brittany Hrynko, its leading scorer in conference games, was o for 15 from the field and had three points.
The snow didn’t bother him. Getting to Gampel 90 minutes before the game didn’t bother him. His team’s play bothered him.
“We just got our butts handed to us,” Bruno said. “I just don’t feel like this group has ever competed against UConn and that just bothers me I don’t expect us to beat UConn necessarily, it is hard to say that, but I have to expect us to do some little things better.
“[The Huskies] are great, they are going to fight for a national championship, I think that is agreed. It is a strong team. They have the talent in the end to be competing for a national championship. The score is not UConn’s fault, it is our fault. It is our job to make the score different.
“Whenever there are numerical differences in the score, I can’t stand coming in here and I am tired hearing the other coaches [like Marquette's Terri Mitchell complaining about needing to play UConn]. Our job, when you are on the losing side of those metrics is to not let those metrics happen so that is our job. When I say competitive, I am saying little things like scouting reports; don’t let Bria Hartley go right and at the start of the game you let her dribble to her right or if there is . I just wish we were more competitive.”