So Far, So Pretty Good For UConn

by Categorized: Big East women's basketball, Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball Date:

This is the time of the year when UConn coach Geno Auriemma begins to see if there’s light at the end of the tournament tunnels.

After 16 games, the Hall of Famer coach has a pretty idea about how his players are performing, how his team in melding. It provides a hunch about the future, although as they say in the trade, past performance is not an indication of future growth.

In the moments following Tuesday’s 72-58 win over Louisville, Auriemma announced that all seems well with his 15-1 team, ranked No. 3 in the nation.

“Our defense was as good as it’s been all year,” Auriemma said. “We’ve become a pretty good defensive team. We’ve been good all year, but there are things about our defensive that are getting better.”

The Huskies held the Cardinals (14-4) to a shooting percentage of 34.3. Shoni Schimmel, one of the better three-point shooters in the nation, was 2 of 7 and her team finished 4 of 19.

This growth, Auriemma says, is consistent with his experience when January prepares to turn to February.

“It’s that time now when the [upperclassmen] know what’s at stake,” Auriemma said. “They understand what’s going on and it’s their turn now to make sure it gets done.. That’s the way it is supposed to be.”

Auriemma was referring particular to his veteran troika, guards Kelly Faris and Bria Hartley and center Stefanie Dolson. They all played well Tuesday, even  though Hartley was 3 of 11 from three and Faris, the nation’s assist/turnover leader, matched assists (seven) with bobbles.

“[Kelly needs to understand] that if that pass isn’t going to work the first time, it’s not going to work the second or third time, either,” Auriemma said. “What that does is prevent you from getting a quality shot every time down the floor. … Shea Ralph [the UConn assistant] made a good point. She said, ‘They [the players] are doing what they want to happen, instead of what actually is going on.’

“Here’s how I explain it to the players: We had 64 shots [Tuesday]. If we cut our 18 turnovers in half, or even down to 10, that means eight other times we didn’t get a shot. If during those eight possessions, we make three three-pointers, well that’s nine more points, a huge difference in a game. And that’s one of those things that catches up to you later on.”

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6 thoughts on “So Far, So Pretty Good For UConn

  1. Mike McManus

    Geno seemed to be pleased with the team’s performance in the game against Louisville. I’m a staunch Geno supporter however I was somewhat dismayed by the 18 turnovers and poor shooting. It’s one thing to miss shots, it’s another to throw-up bricks. I’ve never seen so many really bad shots from Hartley, MKL, and Doty. Kelly caused turnovers on at least three occasions trying to force the ball inside to Dolson when she was double-triple covered. Others did the same thing. It’s a great idea to get the ball inside to the big girl but not at any cost. Overall, I thought UCONN”s ball control was very sloppy and not indicative of a top-five team at this time of the year.

    1. Bud Revet

      I did not get to watch the LV game in Alaska, (no CBS Sports here), but did follow the tweets. Coach wants play into the post and Kelly tries to follow his hopes. It’s been a tough season with all the injuries, there is still time for this talented bunch to improve enough to make the final. BG will be tough.

  2. Slvrhwk

    Mike , I agree completely. Fourteen steals and 29 bomb attempts! When they are surrounding Steff, drive the open side, make the layup, get fouled or have an easy dish to Steff when the help tries to come. That’s how ND does it with the Diva & Kelly’s evil twin ( McBride ). Geno wants more foul calls & he isn’t going to get them from outer space. Almost like golf, you bomb for show and take it to the hoop for the dough. Threes falling against the weaker teams is nice but it isn’t going to happen against strong defensive teams like ND & Baylor. Duke might even suprise next week.

  3. Bye Bye Geno

    KML, Hartley, Doty, and Faris have become selfish bombers. It’s not coaching when you give the bombs away green light to all 5 players on the court. Geno must have dementia because he still can’t figure out why UConn is not shooting free throws.

  4. Renee, Tina, Kalana, Maya

    Taurasi and Doty both have attitude, throwing occassional cheap shots. Difference is that Taurasi could back it up with points and assists. Doty is all show, no go.

  5. Master Mind

    I am a Geno fan. His philosophy on almost (I said almost) everything is enlightening. Over the last 15 to 20 years he has believed that if a “shooter” is open she must shoot. Players have been benched for NOT shooting.
    Since I am NOT GENO–I can only assume he was using the 3 ball to open up the inside game. Knowing that Kelly and KML are hitting 50 percent of 3’s, Banks is over 50 percent, Doty shouldn’t be shooting them unless we are 30 point ahead, Dolson at the foul line good 3 ball bad,
    But I think he has a plan and we’ll see it at the NCAA games (I hope). He is great, not perfect.

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