One Last Look At 18.6 Seconds

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, Big East women's basketball, Breanna Stewart, Bria Hartley, Geno Auriemma, Kelly Faris, UConn women's basketball, XL Center Date:

Geno Auriemma was a riot Monday morning, the guest speaker at the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the Crowne Plaza in Cromwell. He had the sellout crowd rolling in laughter for most of his 20-minute talk.

“My mother hasn’t called me back for three days since we lost to Notre Dame,” Aureimma told the crowd. “She asked me if there was a chance we’d play them again at the Final Four.

“I said, ‘Well, if we get there, maybe. She said, ‘I no want to go there.’ When you’re mother turns on you, you know things are not good.’”

Auriemma then recounted the final 18.6 seconds of last Tuesday’s Big East tournament championship game. You may recall that one? The game was tied 59 with 18.6 seconds left? The ball was in the hands of senior Kelly Faris, whose job it was to make a successful in-bounds pass?

Geno’s tongue was in cheek. Or was it?

“My players haven’t spoken to me since the game ended. My coaches haven’t spoken to me, either. They left to go recruiting. So I’ve kind of been by myself in my office,” Auriemma said.

“Finally, I said to Kelly [Faris], ‘Who is the best in-bounds passer we have? She said. ‘I am.’  Then I asked her, ‘Who is the best person we have to throw the pass to?’  She said, ‘I am.’

“I said, ‘Well that’s where I went wrong. I couldn’t figure out a way to let you inbound the ball to yourself.’

“The thing is, when you are in a situation like that, you cross your fingers and hope that things go right. You also know that kids are incredibly resilient, much more so than adults are. So when we came out of the huddle [before the in-bound pass] I said to Kelly, ‘Look, Stewie [Breanna Stewart] may be open for lob pass, so just throw it to her, she’ll go in for the score and we will take our chances [on defense].”

Faris’ pass instead carried long and high, forcing Stewart to leap to snag the ball with one hand.

“Then I said [to Faris], ‘‘Why did you throw her the pass without caring whether she was open or not? And Kelly said. ‘You told me it might be open. So I trusted you.’ I said, ‘Haven’t you known me long enough to not trust me?’”

Instead of trying to take the ball to the basket, Stewart passed it back to Faris who circled and headed to the baseline.

“When Stewie made the great catch, and then returned the ball to Kelly, I actually thought we were in great shape,” Auriemma said. “Kelly has been here [at UConn] for four years. I figured she’d run the clock out, we’d get a layup and win the game. So what does she do? She puts her head down and goes 100 miles per hour to the basket.”

Her path blocked along the baseline, Faris threw the ball into the left corner to Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. But in the effort to catch the ball, KML lost her balance and decided to try and loop a pass back out to the left top of the key to Bria Hartley.

That’s when Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins intercepted the ball, toughed through UConn’s effort to foul her, and dished to Natalie Achonwa for the tournament-winning hoop.

“That’s when it dawned on me that my job is to put my players in the best possible position in those last 18.6 seconds,” Auriemma said. “I didn’t do that. And when I told them that I had let them down, I was expecting them, or at least two or three of them, to say, ‘Nah coach.’

“Instead they all went ‘uh huh’ and nodded their heads.”

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14 thoughts on “One Last Look At 18.6 Seconds

  1. martin fallon

    I won’t speak for the other commenters, but I’m nodding MY head. Good for you Geno, fall on your sword; take one for the team and good luck in the tournament.

  2. william taylor

    we live in port charlotte fl. sny has not show us one p erfit game on stream line do we have other people having same problem

    1. Get SNY on Directv

      I pay the 13 dollars a month to get SNy (and others) during the season–much better than CPTV or any streaming. Streaming always has problems–it takes the providers years to get to know how to do it right.

    2. poor leadership

      Same in the baystate. SNY streaming is horrible. They did not invest in enough capacity- so watching “live” is miserable. Try watching the next day. Wondering how they got away with advertising that the coach show would be included – your lucky if you get a 4 minute clip. Given the SNY deal and the handling of the conference, UCONN’s reputation seems headed towards mediocrity. Very sad

  3. UconnPhann

    Geno knew from the start –he’s the man in charge, the buck stops with him. Frustration, wishful thinking, etc changed his word to come out negative towards his team.
    This is very refreshing.
    Kids who believe in you must be told to know you make mistakes–like a parent. As much as our kids think us perfect and cannot make mistakes ( at least I hope they do)they must be taught all humans make mistakes–even Geno.

    Even JOHN isn’t perfect–he keeps these 3 losses on the front burner. when in fact they are all history, dead and gone, past passe done, dit, BS

    Martin–Again, a bright light in a dim world.

  4. Busted Plays

    We all revere our Fab 4 plus Svet team–with DT the greatest ever.
    However, Svet who played basketball since 3rd grade in the USSR, had pro teachers, and played ball all year long until she went to UConn. Made a huge mistake.

    The play, I think the BE tourney championship, was for Sue to throw the ball to Svet–Svet was to dribble and shot a jumper to beat the clock.
    Svet made the dribble drive. Tamika beat Svet down the floor. Tamika shot 70 percent from the field. Svet pass the ball to an unexpecting Tamika who fumbled the ball and the clock went off. Busted Play.
    Super stars of the past made super duper big mistakes and lack of judgement–much like our current team.

    No one then want to fire Geno. No one asked for his head. No one said Sue, SVET, Tamika are idiots or should have made the play work—Uconn fans accepted the loss –knowing we had our best in the game and they made a mistake.
    Our current kids played their best and made a mistake.

    As UConn fans –accept it, you don’t have to like it, but this group of kids are just like Sue, Swin, Tamika,Asya, Svet, Ralph, DT–they make mistakes. The one thing these kids had that this group didn’t have–is the fab 4 plus Svet played as a group 30 plus games that year.

  5. Bracchus

    I am glad that Geno is taking responsibility instead of beating up on the players. This is clearly a case of him getting rattled under pressure.

  6. Missy

    Finally Geno takes a little of the blame. Now, he wants to spread it around a little more between himself, Kelly and the “Freshman”.

    Wrong! Geno – you did a lousy Job and you know it.

    There was 18.6 seconds on the inbound, seventeen when Kelly got the ball back from Stewart.

    Call another timeout and reset for Christ sakes…

    1. JUSTME

      He is only finally taking any of the blame because his mother told him to, otherwise, no more homemade lasagna for him.

    2. mike mcmanus

      Hey Missy or whoever you are…you must be relative of HipHopHood because you never have a good thing to say. Why must there be a goat, are you perfect? The comment above emphasized that even UCONN’s best made mistakes. If I recall, Kelly had an option to inbound the ball to KML at the top of the key but she chose to throw the long ball to Stewie. If I fault anyone, it’s Kelly for making her wild drive down the lane in heavy traffic. That started the downward spiral that ended up with a turnover. It’s a new season so forget about the past loss.

  7. fustrated smart fan

    Can any body clear up the reason why the referee stopped the clock at 18.6 seconds officially and put uconn at the position to inbound the ball? A plausible reason would be nice, otherwise the NCAA has a credibility problem if there is no reason or consequence, like the non holding call by the Super Bowl referee in the endzone during the final safety by the Ravens.That is now a precedent for the refs to make or not make calls depending on how they feel, personally.( sports book?)

  8. fustrated smart fan

    Finally, did Geno ever say why he did not experiment with Buck guarding Griner in the recent “meaningless game”, for practice and look-see purposes. The way to beat Griner is to copy Pat Summit when she tired out Kara Wolters when Wolters was killing Tenn. in a game by ” not letting her run up and down the court free (Wolters)” by putting somebody on her so that she would expend energy fighting through the player all up and down the court. Smart move by Pat and they came back and won. We will see if they do this to the Notre Dame players also.

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