Kelly Faris: Numbers That Define A Player

by Categorized: Big East women's basketball, Connecticut Sun, Kelly Faris, Mike Thibault, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

Ask Kelly Faris about the role statistics play and you will hear they aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, sort of like those Powerball tickets sold last week in Connecticut.

That’s because Faris is not a numbers person, although she does wear 34 to honor her siblings who wore it before her.

To Faris, UConn’s steadfast senior guard, numbers speak of individual performance, which in her mind will forever be secondary to the needs of the team.

But Monday night at the XL Center, Faris strung together single-digit numbers which likely more than any performance by any player in recent UConn history told the story of how one player can impact a team.

These are the numbers Faris produced during the Huskies’ 63-48 win over Maryland:

Appropriately, No. 34 played 34 minutes. She scored eight points, had seven assists, made eight steals, grabbed seven rebounds, committed no turnovers and contributed to the defensive effort that held Maryland’s All-American junior forward, Alyssa Thomas, to six points (2 of 12) and forced her to make eight turnovers in 36 minutes.

“I felt good about most of my game,” Faris said. “When I came back in at the end, I committed some stupid fouls. Those are the things that stick with me.”

Forget that. It was an extraordinary game by Faris, a player the Big East can no longer overlook.

“I said that 100 times and that is why the Big East coaches never vote her for anything,” Geno Auriemma said. “They are stuck with the guys they have and they have the record they have and we have her.”

It’s unlikely Faris will ever operate in the shadows again. Not only is the nation now taking notice, but so are the professionals.

On Monday, former Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault sat on press row scouting the game. It is possible that within two weeks, he will become the new coach/GM of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.

Thibault said he loves much of what he sees from Faris.

“She is a terrific, terrific player,” Thibault said. “She is everything you would want in a college player. You can move her around to different spots and she can defend them. She is strong enough, she is tough enough to defend power forwards. She is such a great defender and as we call can see, she is improving offensively.”

Faris has made 25 of 34 shots this season and is 9 of 15 from three. She was 4 of 6 from the field on Monday, many of her points coming off assertive drives to the basket.

“She is trying to work on her shot, but she already has great instinct. She is a great athlete. I don’t know yet how her talent will translate to the next level quite yet, but she has a chance and someone will give her a chance.

“The thing is, at Kelly’s position, you are going to need to consistently knock down outside shots, unless you have a team that already has that. I see a lot of Armintie Price [of Atlanta] in her; a good athlete, who does so many good things, but needs to be around very good offensive players.

“If her offense keeps improving, there will not be a question about her. She knows that and the UConn staff understands that, as well. She is looking for more chances to shoot and I thought that wasn’t the case last year.

“But if you had to pick a kid to represent what your program is about, she is a pretty good one.”

This first Maryland-UConn game was a tough one. Using only seven players, the Terps tried to compensate for three season-ending injuries by pounding the Huskies frontcourt.

Faris would have none of it. She took the punches and kept smiling.

“She is at another level from conditioning, mental toughness, athletic ability,” Auriemma said. “People don’t recognize what a great athlete she is, how many things she can do, how fast she is and how strong she is. We don’t have anybody else like her.”

“She defended Alyssa Thomas as well as anybody can be defended. She has an impact that goes beyond the stat sheet. When you look at the stat sheet there’s a bunch of stuff in there, but her impact is greater than that. It’s just amazing.

“If you watch it closely and watch it on film and don’t watch anybody else, you see how many things she does that impact the game. Some never show up on the stat sheet. She’s just an incredible athlete and an amazing player. Kelly’s been like that since her freshman year, and she’s only gotten better and better.’’

That was not lost on Maryland coach Brenda Frese.

“She makes play after play and was so tough and so physical,” Frese said. “She doesn’t take a play off. She continues to work defensively. Offensively, she runs you around in circles. She cuts hard. She never takes a possession off.’’

And she never complains and she never shows her opponent how she is feeling or what she is thinking.

“I just try to keep everyone calm, stay on an even keel,” Faris said. “That would not be a good sign.”


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7 thoughts on “Kelly Faris: Numbers That Define A Player

  1. Village Idiot

    Coach Frese defined OUR Kelly Faris well. She never takes a play off. She is basketball in motion.

    The one thing Geno didn’t say was how well Dolson handled all the muggings she got. I thought after 3 takedowns the contest went to the other team–oh,yea that’s WRESTLING!! Dolson got angry and played with her brain in gear–not allowing Maryland to take her out of the game, Stanford will try the same game plan. ND against Maya played the rough game, Stanford used it and won.
    Too few fouls called, the pity factor for Maryland??

    Terrific game plan for Md and exceptionally executed–except for the turnovers, but you can blame UConn for those–fast players with great trapping zone press

    I know I’ll be beat up for this–Stokes played very well for the time she was in–Geno took her out Chris talked to her and put her back in. She was effected by the pressure and shot too quickly, but played excellent defense. Thanks Geno for sticking with her, you are going to need her this season.

  2. kenny

    Geno and staff already know how much they are going to miss her. It’s to bad she dose’nt get more acolades for her hard work she deserves it. Keep it Kellie.

  3. TexasBogger

    KF will certainly be missed next season but it’s comforting to watch the steady emergence of Brianna Banks as her heir apparent. Banks has many of Kelly’s athletic traits and now her shooting confidence is apparent.

  4. Village Idiot

    EVERYONE—Let us not push Kelly out the door just yet. I’d like to enjoy her for at least 4 plus months more. I’ve never have seen Kelly more in her element than this year. She’s the leader she coulda/shoulda been. She a scorer. She seems to just be having a lot of fun.
    I shall enjoy and remember every remaining moment I have watching Kelly Faris, a true Basketball Player and UConn leader. Enjoy every moment Kelly.

  5. coach777b

    Kelly Faris came in second for “Miss Basketball” in the state of Indiana. The winner was Skylar Diggins. Two great players and UCONN got the better team player. She is tough, physically and mentally and her effect on her teammates is apparent. A quiet team leader who will certainly be missed when she graduates.

  6. Mark Fletcher

    Statistics are for losers. So say some. Statistics can also be misleading or overvalued.

    4 players at 14 ppg and 1 at 10 ppg. No staggering numbers. No one close to Griner or Holdsclaw or Miller dominance. As a team, 2001-2002 NCAA Champions.

    Auriemma does not give UConn fans enough credit. We see and understand what Faris is doing. It is the voters who either do not see it and understand it or just ignore it.

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