Sleepless Nights Over For UConn

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, UConn women's basketball, XL Center Date:

Geno Auriemma said nothing was different about the plane ride home from South Bend, Ind., last week, nothing that would distinguish it from any other postgame flight.

“Every flight home, especially when it’s late, is the same,” Auriemma said. “The guys are either studying or they are asleep. The coaches were watching film. There wasn’t much difference coming home from there.

“I’m sure it was different inside for them. But outwardly, it didn’t appear to be different at all.”

Other than the trip followed the first triple-overtime game in UConn history. Other than it ended in another defeat to Notre Dame. Other than it cost the Huskies the first seed in this final Big East tournament.

“We were all upset, angry and disappointed about how we played and how it [the game] played out,” said Stefanie Dolson of UConn’s 96-87 loss. “A lot of us couldn’t sleep because we were thinking about the game. We were thinking about all of the scenarios that could have happened and did happen.”

That’s all in the past, or one would assume. There is a new scenario to consider. The Huskies (27-3) have a new challenge. They open play Sunday at the XL Center as the No. 2 seed in the final Big East tournament they will ever play.

If they win they’ll advance to Monday’s semifinal game. If they win that, the chance for an 18th conference tournament title awaits Monday.

But as UConn prepares for one last walk down sentimental street, Auriemma says the public pressure his program faces, to succeed at everything, sometime weighs it down more than most suspect.

“The great thing about coaching at UConn is that we’re used to winning every game and winning those that come down to the wire,” Auriemma said. And we have not done that is some instances lately.

“The bad thing about coaching at UConn is that the other team is not allowed to win. And if they win, it’s only because we played badly. I’ve never heard anyone say to me after a loss, ‘Hey, you know what, those guys are really good.’ I don’t think it’s happened in 15 years.”

With two Big East first-team players, Kaeena Mosqueda-Lewis and Stef Dolson, and its defender of the year, Kelly Faris, UConn has been too much to handle for all, with the exception of the two programs most believe they must be to win an eighth national championship.

No. 1 Baylor and No. 2 Notre Dame against whom the Huskies are 0-3.

“If you are a player or a coach at UConn, that’s the world we live in,” Auriemma said. “We are not allowed to lose. The other team is not allowed to win [and get credit] because if they win it’s because UConn stunk.

“And I don’t think anyone has any idea what that [mindset] does to a player and their psyche. Just think about that. They play in the only place in the country where you are not allowed to lose – ever, even to the top two teams in the country, even if it’s by one at home or in triple overtime [on the road] and by six to the defending national champion [Baylor]. It’s just not acceptable.

“Does it wear on the players? What do you think? I am not complaining. I am just stating fact. It’s the world we’ve created here. I don’t know what I can do about it. It is what it is.”

UConn enters the Big East with Faris nursing a sprained left foot, suffered on the final play of the first half Monday night at Notre Dame.

“They [the training staff] has asked me to be patient with it,” Faris said. “But [compiling] has been a pain in the butt for me.”

Auriemma said he wasn’t what her availability would be on Sunday.

“It’s not 100 percent [that she will play], but it’s a good probability,” he said. “So much of getting Kelly through it is being able to manage it, doing the rehab that she is going to have to do. She played the entire second half [53 of 55 minutes] with it and I am sure it hurt like hell. But with the right about of exercise and rehab she will be fine. Whether she’s 100 percent, that I don’t know.”

The Huskies, especially their guards, also need to do a better job handling the ball.

“That’s one area [the backcourt] that don’t think we’ve been really, really good this year,” Auriemma said.

The team committed an uncharacteristic 35 turnovers at Notre Dame.

“How do fix that? Well, if we were averaging 35 turnovers I would say it’s unfixable. But we average only 14 [14.4] so what happened Monday was not normal for us. There were reasons why it happened, but it’s not like it’s a trend.

“So many of them were mindless, some unexplainable. How do improve? Work on the things you are good at and pay more attention as a player to every pass you throw. If we had 34 turnovers we might have won. In fact, if we had 37 turnovers we still might have won the way it played out.”

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34 thoughts on “Sleepless Nights Over For UConn

  1. Village Idiot

    Geno is the 150th worst coach in Connecticut–so says Geno.
    Sounds like a humble brag.

    AS I and many other UConn fans have said (and Geno failed to read) in the ND game Uconn could have won if they made one of 3 front end of 1 and 1’s, had one less turnover that wasn’t immediately turned into a basket. If the throat cutting was called against the right person. If Kaleena made one more shot, if Hartley drove to the hoop rather than hold up at the foul line. That was regulation. In all three Overtimes–Uconn positioned itself to win.
    Dolson getting her 5th foul (a good call by the way) was a killer. Uconn can live without Hartley, but not Dolson.
    I know I’m going to get flack from this–but with fast, scoring, attacking guards Doty is a liability, especially if she can’t or won’t score. Mo Jeff had 2 costly turnovers in the ND game, but Doty a 5th year had 4 and 2 at critical times. Dolson had 11 Turnover in 36 minutes, Faris had 5 in 53 minutes–I’ll take my chances with Faris.
    TURNOVERS—IN THE LAST 3 MINUTES OF REGULATION NOTRE DAME TURNED THE BALL OVER AND OVER AND OVER. EVEN DIGGINS HAD 2 COSTLY TURNOVER –ND HAD TO FOUL IT WORKED BECAUSE UCONN HAD FRESHMEN IN THE GAME AND THEY MISSED.
    BUT NOTRE DAME WASN’T THEN NOR NOW INVINCIBLE!!!!

  2. Peggy Sue

    The pressure to win isn’t DEMANDED by the fans. The pressure to win is DEMANDED by the coaching staff. The strive for perfection–to some kids means they MUST reach PERFECTION, anything less is unacceptable TO THEM.
    Kelly Faris is one such person. She expect perfection every play every game. Someone, like Geno, must finally tell her if she expects perfection all the time, she will be very disappointed most of the the time. That search for PERFECTION drives some people insane.

    Geno, it’s up to you to maintain their sanity.

    Fan’s have more often than not—UCONN TEAM WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU–WIN, LOSE, OR DRAW. JUST TRY HARD, THAT’S ALL THAT IS EXPECTED.

    Anyone who demand a win every game isn’t a true FAN!!!

    1. Griners Greatest

      anyone who blames refs after every loss should stop drinking the Geno Aid and take of the UConn blinders

      1. Steve Gee

        Anyone who blames every loss on the absence of a single player should stop drinking the Mulkey Aid and take off the Baylor Blinders.

        I would also add that anyone who repeatedly goes to other team’s blogs just to insult the players and their fans is a troll.

        1. Steve Gee

          that’s what UConn has been doing with the oooh Hartley is injured garbage excuse all season

          1. Steve Gee

            Hey troll, I see your unclever attempt at being clever with the name changing continues.

            It appears YOU don’t even buy the manure you’re shoveling.
            If you did, you’d show some marbles and post under a single name and OWN your comments.

            We get it.
            You don’t like Geno.
            You don’t like Doty.
            You don’t like Faris.
            You don’t like Stewart.
            You don’t like Hartley.
            You don’t like me.
            We get it.
            And you’re still a troll.

  3. Now is the time!!!!

    Geno GENO GENO GENO

    Now is the time for GREAT coaching. Every mistake is not a yanking moment (pull the kid out of the game), it’s a learning moment. TEACH GENO, do what you do best, teach.

    Forget the recrimination of the Fans, of the Press, of the Media, of your players–and teach.

    There is no better basketball teacher than GENO Auriemma!

    The loses have been more emotional for YOU GENO, than for this team or your real fans. We are already onto the next game, and you are hung up with ND.

    What we know, and you don’t seem to appreciate is: Uconn shall defeat ND in the Big East Title game. You can’t lose. Stewart, Tuck, Dolson, Faris, Hartley, Jefferson, Stokes, have all learned from the last few games. They’ve learned to pleasure of victory and the depths of defeat. They learned to play with pressure, and they ALL now know the weakness of Notre Dame. Notre Dame cannot handle pressure–when they are pushed to the wall they fall apart–last 3 minutes of regulation their composite minds went haywire. Watch the tape–turn over after turnover by Diggins, McBride, Achonwa and others–they were scrambling and not playing the game.

    1. Awareness

      a) If he is so great, why do you need to tell him what to do?
      b) I didn’t see Doty’s name on your list. Are you saying she is the only one who is incapable of learning anything?

  4. UconnFan

    It has amazed that through the years the people who rip Geno and his program have so little intelligence that they have only complained about two things. When they win it is because he has all the best players and there is no competition, now that all players are much better than they were ten years ago and they lose a hard fought game – they claim Geno and his staff cannot coach or recruit and leave Tenn. out of the equation when they won so many games before Title 1X and there was very little competition other than Texas and Stanford. But the real fans know the greatness of Geno and the exposure he has brought to the woman’s game with more exposure on National TV.

    1. Big Husky Fan from NC

      Amen, UConnFan;

      I was appalled at the vile and venom directed at Geno and the players following Monday’s heartbreaking loss to Notre Dame here on this board. Those so called UConn Fans can take a long walk off of a short plank as far as I’m concerned. Everything is fine and dandy with these nitwits when the UConn Women won 90 straight games and two NCAA titles in ’09 and ’10. But whenever the Lady Huskies fail to notch a “W” in the win column, according to these so-called fans, (short for “fanatics”) they’re completely worthless. These individuals instead of providing support look to rip the heads off of either the coaching staff or individual players – as if these knuckleheads know one half of one percent the basketball knowledge of Geno, Chris and staff or have anywhere near the basketball playing skills of Kaleena, Stefanie and company. Perhaps these same clowns can be transported back to the year 1984 when UConn barely had a woman’s basketball program; that or live in the boondocks out in Montana where half of the scarce population of the wonderful state could care less about women’s basketball altogether. If you can’t realize how fortunate you are to support a team that has the second most titles in women’s D-1 basketball history then do the “real” fans of the program a favor – keep your big fat traps shut!

  5. UConn Cry Baby Fans

    NO ONE HELD A GUN TO ANYONES HEAD TO PLAY AT UCONN. GENO IS A CRY BABY.

  6. Chris Saran

    Title IX was enacted in 1972. Who cares? Tennessee didn’t have the competition there is today. They also had many of the best players. That doesn’t mean Pat Summit couldn’t coach. UConn needs to go inside more against Notre Dame. They need to take better care of the ball. Everyone needs to contribute, including Kiah. Geno needs to use the players he has. More Kiah, less chance Stef gets into foul trouble. She is their only other center who can keep up with Achonwa.

    1. Griners Greatest

      WHAT competition exists today? Same old story for 30 years of NCAA WBB. 3 or 4 great teams and that is it. 99% of WCBB has 0% chance of making it to the Final Four.

      1. Steve Gee

        So far, the only one “crying” here is you.

        We get it.
        You don’t like Geno.
        We get it.

        Still a troll, no matter how many unclever names you use.

  7. Griners Greatest

    Geno said “it’s not like it’s a trend.”

    Hey Geno, 6 losses in 7 games against the same opponent IS A TREND.

    Geno is like his cult members. If if if.

    Well what if Germany won WWII. What if Germany dropped the first atomic bombs.

  8. ray-ray

    GENO IS HIS OWN WORSE ENEMY.HIS DEMEANOR RUBS PEOPLE WRONG WAY.HIS I WALK ON WATER ATTITUDE MAKES HIM GREAT TARGET WHEN HE LOSES.I WOULD VENTURE THAT 75% OF WBB COACHES HATE HIM BECAUSE OF HIS LOPSIDED WINS.

  9. nhntc47

    Why is Diggins Big Est Player of the Year? Her stats are not better than KLM’s. Griner should be NCAAW’s man player of the year.
    Texans can’t tell gender difference.

    1. Edward Ted Mike Gee

      Diggins 6-1 versus UConn in last 7 games. What’s KML record versus ND?

  10. TZ

    This team is not ready for a NT. Our bench is not deep enough. Stew and Stokes are not ready yet. They may win the BE but not the NT.

  11. NewHavenJude

    My comment is about some of the “comments”. I find the name calling & the “level” of anger expressed disturbing. I, too, get very upset when UC loses games they “could of”, “should of” won. Isn’t it possible to express opinions & feelings without the nastiness? Athletes of any age are human &, no matter how talented, are going to sometimes lose, esp. playing other really good teams.

    1. JUSTME

      I doubt of Geno uses the words “please” and “thank you” during the games and especially the practices. I’m sure the players have heard it all and then some from him. This blog is more entertainment than anything else, not to be taken seriously.However the Griner comment we don’t need, you are right about that.

    1. Steve Gee

      I’d like to say “nice try” troll, but it wouldn’t be genuine.
      You’re life must be going pretty well, and your confidence sky-high to be able to spend so much time and energy going out of your way to be a troll.
      Still unclever.

      1. oh my allah you're a dumb arsehoe

        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
        says the unclever moron who continues to reply

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