Let’s Look At The Dark Side Of UConn’s Season

by Categorized: Big East women's basketball, Bria Hartley, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, UConn women's basketball, USA Basketball Date:

I take the daily pulse of my constituency, as reflected by what it says in emails and blog comments. And here is what I have concluded after the first 17 games (of which UConn has won 16).

* UConn is the sloppiest team in the United States.

* Bria Hartley has been a major disappointment .

Of course, both contentions are highly exaggerated.

About the turnovers: UConn has made a few of them – another 18 in Saturday’s win over Syracuse. And Geno Auriemma would like it if they made fewer, like all coaches would, because each turnover means the loss of a scoring chance. So, 18 times Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis equals a chance at 54 points in a game.

When it was suggested to him on Saturday that the team’s 242 turnovers this season may be due to the unselfishness of the players, here is what Geno said:

“”I think there are a lot of kids  who would be great teammates, who I’d love to have on our team,” Auriemma said. “But if they (stink) at passing you wouldn’t want them just because they are great teammates. We’ve got a lot of guys being great teammates. They should be lousy teammates and complete passes. That would make me a lot happier.”

Sounds logical to me.

As for Hartley, UConn’s WBCA All-America, there is no doubt she is experiencing a subpar season. I tend to think she is not well physically and the tenderness of her left ankle, which she injured in August playing for USA Basketball, has resulted in changes in her confidence level and athletic choreography. Something is just not right with her.

Hartley slightly re-injured herself on Saturday and scored only three points in 19 minutes.

“She rolled her ankle maybe two or three times [Saturday]. Mmaybe that was a part of it; I don’t know. But just chalk it up as just a bad day,” Auriemma said.


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38 thoughts on “Let’s Look At The Dark Side Of UConn’s Season

  1. Steve

    This just continues to show the sad state of the UConn fan base. Both complaining that a team is sloppy and a player is disappointing, all while winning games by a margin of 30 points a game, against mostly ranked opponents no less. Anything less than a 50 point victory over the top ranked team is not enough for most fans, talk about putting pressure on 18-22 year old kids. Maybe bria isn’t playing as strong this season, but she is playing through injuries, and quite frankly, they don’t need her to play stellar to sweep through the majority if their schedule (maybe ND, Baylor, Stanford, and Duke aside). Be a fan, not a critic!!!

    1. Newgirl2

      Steve, your statement is great and I like it. Mr. JA, do you believe that you could dribble a basketball up to half court on two strong ankles? I get your sarcasm, but remember that these athletes could be your children, and they have done a great job so far. Have a great Sunday!!

      1. dude in New Britain

        Actually, I don’t think you did get JA’s sarcasm. In the only part that might be called sarcastic, John was simply reciting what certain naysayers, doom demons, and know-it-alls have been bloviating about. And John immediately went on to say those bloviation are “of course highly exaggerated.” I understand your point of view, but I don’t think JA is part of your problem.

    2. Genosguy

      John—I’ve complained about you in the past for not being PRO UCONN or PRO GENO–

      Either you have changed or I have. This is a very thought provoking piece. And PRO UConn.

  2. Lynne

    Well said, Steve!
    CT b-bll fans are spoiled by success. It was a total shock when ND beat the Lady Huskies – by ONE POINT on theirhome floor – because it’s not supposed to happen…PERIOD!

    I think these exemplary young women are a model for the nation in the melding of athletics and academics. Many of the UCONN b-ball women are on the Dean’s List as well as being a machine on the court. Playing through pain is not easy at ANY age. I’m sure Bria Hartley is aching to get back to her pre-injury on-court prowess, and I’m sure she WILL. Let’s hope she peaks in March..along with her teammates.


      1. Amy

        Well said to you too, Lynne, except the part about “Lady Huskies.” As the P Man says, “just Huskies.” That “Lady” business is for the Vols etc., not for UConn.

    1. Mind in the gutter

      Lynne–your second paragraph is correct.

      Notre Dame is a legit top 3 team. She has talent at every position and scorer, real consistent scorers, in all 5 positions. 4 out of their top 5 are in double figures every game. The pass with crisp accurate passes. They look like Uconn did with the Sue,Svet, DT, Swin, Aysa, Tamkia era. They back door 2 dozen times a game. Just like UConn did. It shall be a chore for UConn to beat them this year.

  3. ziggy

    Winning against untalented teams by 30 points does not win you a national championship. These “unfounded complaints” about sloppy play and inconsistent play are EXACTLY the issues that can and will be exposed against the top teams (like ND), and keep them from their goal, a national championship. Either the issues get addressed and fixed, or we will be saying “wait until next year”, while watching Baylor cut down the nets. The idea that the issues are just being picky because they won a game by 30 against a much lesser team is naive, and ignore the bigger picture.

  4. This is the Greatest UConn Team Ever

    WCBB is 99% full of Dotys or less. It’s a given that UConn beats these teams by 25+ points. UConn recruits to win NC. UConn pays Geno too much money to win NC. UConn is recruited and built to defeat the other top 3 or 4 teams in WCBB. So playing sloppy and defeating unranked teams by 25+ is nothing to write home about. It’s a given, just like taxes and death.

  5. Gun Appreciation Day

    STOP making excuses for Hartley playing like Doty. KML is injured and not stinking up the joint. Hartley lost her confidence when the overrated 3 freshmen arrived on campus. Hartley lost her confidence when Geno said Dolson and KML make UConn better. Hartley knows she is the 4th or 5th best player on UConn. No more bogus 3rd team Kmart all american status for her. Hartley was NOT a 1st or 2nd team all american. Get over it.

    1. Master

      You should listen to JC because you know absolutely nothing about basketball injuries and what have you, stop all the hate on this girl and that girl go to the gym and get off the couch.

  6. cj

    the stated purpose of the uconn coaching staff is to work toward playing ‘perfect basketball’ in pursuit of national championships. this philosophy is embraced and repeated by the players. certainly a fan base that buys in to this is not problematic by any stretch. set the bar high and don’t compromise. silly turnovers on the rise are by no means ‘perfect basketball’, especially against lesser talent. january is for priming the engine to run as the high-performance machine it needs to be to fly through april. the tinkering is supposed to reduce hiccups, not create new ones. as for hartley, she’s playing because she’s still the best option–same with doty. bad wheels effect every aspect of a player’s game. all things considered, they’re doing pretty well–maybe not scoring as much as some would like, but holding down other areas (stat and non-stat tracked) with that quiet consistence so admired in true ‘team’ sports. now if they could just foster that old time ‘killer instinct’…

  7. Tonyc

    John great article. Im glad someone came out in print as I have on the Boneyard and recognized the naysayers as just that. Bria is hurt and has been since the summer. She hasnt had the luxary of working out all summer fall and winter to get ready for the season. She is favoring her bad foot and it shows. Her shot at times lacks an arc and thats because of her foot. Fans are not recognizing the fact that she is hurt and UConn as a whole has been injured and sick all season thus for the sloppyness and lack of chemistry at times. Give them time. IMO Kiah and Brias injuries wont go away in a couple of weeks. IMO and Im no doctor but I would think a couple of months, so they will have to play through their pain this season when they do play. Just because theyre on the floor or in the game dosnt mean theyre 100%. It means they are cleared to play and we must as fans understand it will take time for them to get back to where we know they should be. Patience.

    GO Huskies

    1. Non-apologist

      TonyC (and JA, for that matter!), UConn WBB fans *are* allowed to point out issues they have with a player’s play. Without getting personal, being a bad fan, ungrateful, spoiled, mean, or a “hater.” Hartley’s 12-13 play has been absolutely abysmal! You’re a pathological apologist, both here and on the BY. “She’s still injured.” More TonyC alibis. Knee-jerk positivity isn’t always the solution in life, sir. Extreme behavior in a person, pro or con, is always a problem. (Hint, hint.) TonyC, for once, hold someone accountable for poor play. It’s good for the soul! In 3 years, has the shaky-bouncing, yet dribble-happy Hartley *ever* made a tough pass into the post? No! Every pass from her is defensive. Just watch. Made from the perimeter, all her passes ever do is waste valuable time. They go either sideways, backwards, or out to the corner. Never inside! TonyC, guards *need* to be able to reliably make that tough, pinpoint, interior pass! This has *nothing* to do with Bria’s “injury.” She’s had this problem forever – she can’t make the “money pass.” All her career assists have come from simply feeding the 3-pt shooters! That’s why Stef must stay up high so much. (Totally unfair to her.) But Stef *can* make that tough, interior pass. (Unfortunately, not to herself!) Someone’s got to reliably feed the post. This year’s team plays *so* much better without Hartley. Remember the first few games, when she was out? UConn’s offense ran 100 times smoother. With Bria out, the frosh got the ball where they should be getting it – in great spots to score! It’s basic “X’s and O’s.” One mis-firing cylinder (Hartley) creates an often-sputtering, offensive engine. Personal attack? No. Not supporting my team? No. Players aren’t robots. Each year is different; some players exceed expectations; some fail to meet them. Why the latter? Who knows. For a player, it doesn’t always “come back.” What matters is the current level of a player’s play. Games are played in the “now.” I’ve provided specifics. As a coach, Geno is successful because he doesn’t just sing “Kum-Ba-Ya!”, 24/7. He *does* make tough demands of his players, and he is not an apologist. My only worry is that, for the first time ever, I did hear Geno sound like one, regarding Hartley, after Syracuse. “I guess Bria had a bad day.” Wow! Really, Geno? That’s how I know how deeply concerned he is about the current state of Hartley’s game.

  8. Master Mind

    Hartley is hurting. No doubt. Too many turnovers, absolutely!! A game with Zero turnovers would be what’s expected.
    No team can look at a win against any team in under 25th as a great win. You cannot guage your abilities by these wins. But you can evaluate your weaknesses from them.
    Syracuse is a very good team, probably should be within the 25 top teams.
    In the past two things you could hang your hat on: Uconn had fewer turnovers then the competition And their passes were crisp and accurate. For some unexplainable reason the accuracy of Uconn passes is off. Doty a 5th year senior makes way too many bad passes. Kelly the rock of this team–has passed too many times to the opposition. Outlet passes are to the other team?
    Why? Maybe they are thinking too fast, playing too fast.
    Maybe just maybe–all that is acceptable as long as they win?????

  9. Kreddy Fool

    “my constituency” You weren’t voted into your job by me. Get ver yourself JA. Get a new suit too

  10. Jimmy Butler

    Let me get this straight. When other teams play sloppy and turn the ball over, it’s credit to UConn. But when the Huskies play sloppy and turn the ball over, it’s because of injuries and illnesses. Stop drinking the Geno Aid. The core 6 of this team have been acting like they are on the playground with many of those errant passes.

  11. Mike McManus

    Thanks for some thought-provoking comments. I too have complained about the turnovers which is not indicative of a final 4 team. I wonder if part of the reason is that UCONN is always pushing the ball, racing up the court even when defenders are back, always pressuring the ball with double & triple teams, thus leaving other players open. This is apparently what Geno wants but it also causes careless fouls, turnovers and some open shots for the opponent. Good teams are going to look for those open shooters sitting in the corner and elsewhere and exploit it. It’s a gamble that works well against weak teams but does not work as well against good teams. I think this is something that Geno and his staff needs to reconsider. Think of the ND game with open corner 3’s, too many free throws caused by foolish fouls etc..No one strategy works against every opponent.

    1. Jimmy Butler

      Duke apparently leads or is near the top in WCBB in 3 point percentage. UConn’s 3 point defense, not so much. We will soon know if UConn can pressure Duke enough and prevent a barrage of open 3s made.

    2. Master Mind

      Mike: There is a time to press and against really good teams there is time not to. After watching the UConn tapes they all know when and how UConn shall press.
      Set up in the corners or at the foul line and either shot the 3 or (from the foul line) pass to the cutter behind Dolson. It has worked.

      However Geno a greater coach than I and must see benefits from what he is doing. He makes mistakes (and I have pointed them out after the fact), but I believe he has a plan.

      So far this year his team’s fouls aren’t hurting him much because of the help from his Sophs and Freshmen.

  12. JohnD

    My !!! My !!!! So many armchair coaches out today on this site.How many of u BB wizards have actually played or coached in any sport ? Get over yourselves just sit back and enjoy .Sloppy play and turn overs have occasionally happened to the best college and pro teams in all sports and believe me I played the game back in Philly as a young man in the 60’s on a quite outstanding team and believe me when I say there were games when we played teams that we outmatched in every aspect and nothing went right resulting in a big fat L.So UConn lets ND get by with a 1 point W even though they had the last two possessions.Give me a break !!!! How many games has UConn lost in the last 20 years ? Hurry up and fix it!!!! It’s all becoming unglued !!!!

    1. Coach D

      John D–Amazing you actually played basketball in that really big basketball world of Philly?? WoW. Where do we need to go to get your autograph?? When was the last year the 6’ers won a championship?? Temple??

      Uconn did lose to ND by one point. But you are the only one bringing that up.

      18 turnovers with a top ranked team is way too many. Crisp passing with a degree of accuracy is expected. Yes every team flubs passes. Passes where a player was not where they were expected–is common.
      These are OPINIONS–no one from this blog is directing the UConn women. Geno says he never reads theses (but his staff does) so it is NOT advice to Geno or anyone else–simply OPINIONS.
      Get over yourself, call up you Philly team and Play with them–seems like the highlight of a very dull life.

  13. Tetleybitterman

    Yeah, those Boneheaders who micromanage Uconn WBB would be happier if only the Lady Huskies would meet them after the game at Hometime Buffet for tailgating Q&A session and turn this disappointing season around …

    1. Your Mom

      UConn lost 1 key player, Tiff. ND lost 3. Who won their 1st meeting this season?

  14. Geno

    If you think this present UConn team is great, you must not have watched the 2001-02 and 2008-09 UConn teams. Unbeaten national champions, something that is impossible for this team to accomplish.

  15. UconnFan

    The majority of the Uconn fans have become extremely spoiled and unrealistic. I remember fans complaining when we only won by 20 points and moaning like it was the end of the world during Ann Strothers senior season because they only won 27 games. The realty is that there are 300 plus Division 1 teams that would be thrilled to death having this “dark season” our woman are having!

    1. Smarter than the average UConnFan

      Reality is 290 of the 300 you mentioned have no chance of making it to the Final Four every season.

      Auriemma knows this. You should too. Back

      250 of those teams lose to UConn, Baylor, and Notre Dame by 25+ points as soon as the game is scheduled.

      200 lose to UConn, Baylor, and Notre Dame by 50+ points, unless Auriemma plays Buck, Doty, Stokes, Jefferson, and Tuck the entire 2nd half.

      WCBB is still too top heavy. Might be a litte less top heavy when Griner, Diggins, and Dolson left during the next 1.5 seasons.

    2. Coach H

      Uconn Fan–As has been pointed out 260 Div one teams have no chance of winning the NCAA. Why? It is not a focus of their colleges, they don’t have the talent, they don’t have the coaches. But THEY’D ALL LOVE TO WIN 20 GAMES EVERY YEAR. Just because the can’t does not mean they don’t want to win the NCAA or their conference title.

      Geno has won 30 or more games for most of the last 20 years. That is amazing. Why? Because he plays the top talented teams in Womens basketball.

      Uconn Fan–you are right!!!!

  16. Cale

    Get off Bria’s back you bunch of buzzards !You are making the strands of my DNA unravel with your stupid comments !!!!!

  17. Slvrhwk

    JA – Explain to me why when Geno says all he is focused on is winning the NC, he continues to jeopardize the health of his injured players by playing them now instead of resting them until they are 100% and ready for the tournaments. They aren’t needed against 98% of the teams on the schedule and if only 80% fit & healthy they aren’t going to prevent losses to Baylor at home and ND at South Bend anyhow. Use the healthy sophs & frosh a lot more now so we have a cohesive , healthy 11 player team come tournament time. I know. I know I’m too negative.

  18. Basketball Fan

    The SKY isn’t falling. Uconn is ranked at 3. Uconn has beaten Penn St, MD, Lville, Syracuse, Calif (who beat stanford) Stanford. These are exceptionally good teams. It has become almost unthinkable for Women to go unbeaten ever again.
    Winning the NCAA Championship is Geno’s goal. But getting there is a combination of talent, coaching and LUCK lots of Luck.
    So enjoy every game.
    Complain about everything
    Voice you OPINIONS
    this season is half over–enjoy what is left.

  19. JohnD

    CoachD _ and I suppose your a coach in your own mind i.e. armchair.BTW- I think your probably to young to remember the Philadelphia Warriors with Wilt Chamberlain but I was at one of the greatest games ever played.Where were u ? Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game, named by the National Basketball Association as one of its greatest games and took place between the Philadelphia Warriors and the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962 at Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

    The Warriors won the game, 169–147, setting what was then a record for the most combined points in a game by both teams. But the game is most remembered for the 100 points scored by Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain, who set the NBA single-game scoring record. The next leading scorer for Philadelphia was Phil Attles with 17 points. The Knicks leading scorer was Guerin with 39 points. In that game, Chamberlain also broke five other NBA scoring records, of which four still stand.BTW- I grew up at a home for boys in Philly in the late 50’s & 60’s called St.Joe’s House For Homeless Boys aka The Hut and the varsity team that I played on had a winning streak of 69 games.We played in the CYO League and took on all comers.Not to shabby for a bunch of homeless kids I suppose. And no I’m not sighning autos or do I need kudos from u or anyone else.So stow your sarcasm !!!!Your accomplishments in any sport is ?

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