No college player is more fundamentally sound than UConn senior guard Kelly Faris. But her skill does not protect her from an occasional slump when it comes to something she takes very seriously – protecting the ball.
After leading the nation for most of the last month in assist/turnover ratio, Faris has dropped to seventh this week after a string of turnovers (21) in her last six games. Faris only had 32 turnovers in 19 game prior to Tuesday’s meeting with Villanova at the XL Center.
Earlier this season, Faris was averaging just over one turnover for every five assists. But now her ratio has dropped 2.59 and she blames impatience for the slide.
“I get to the point where I want to do so much; that’s how I’ve always been,’’ Faris said. “I just need to sit there [on the bench] and consciously think, `OK, just relax. Slow down.’ I am at my best when not trying to fix everything, and sometimes it’s hard for me to keep myself from doing that.
“I’ve got to slow it down a step. I’m playing too fast. It happened on Monday [in practice] again in practice (Monday). Sometimes, I pre-determine what I’m going to do, and that’s a habit I’ve really tried break this year.
“I’m just making stupid mistakes.’’
During her previous six games, dating to Georgetown on Jan. 9, she hasn’t had fewer than two turnovers. She tied a career-high with seven [along with seven assists] against Louisville on Jan. 15.
“I’ve just basically been hand [the opponent] the ball trying to create something that isn’t there,” Faris said.
Still feeling bad for Jamelle
After Monday’s practice, Geno Auriemma was asked about his demeanor on the bench in the second half of Saturday’s 67-31 win at Cincinnati.
After taking a 41-9 lead at the half, Auriemma spent most of the second half sitting and watching his bench players finish things off in somewhat disjointed style, barely outscoring the Bearcats.
“ They had one field goal in the last 19 minutes of the first half,” said Auriemma of the Bearcats, coached by Jamelle Elliott, the former UConn player and assistant. “You are trying to figure out how are you going to keep your guys running stuff and not taking the first open shot they see [to keep the score respectful].
“It gets frustrating when you know the person on the other bench. It is not the first time it has happened. One year we had a game and it was 50-10 or 45-10 at halftime and I felt so bad I asked Chris Dailey [his associate coach] ‘what defense should we get in so they can score?’ You just don’t want to see that [an friendly opponent embarrassed]. Is there a defense we can play that can get them some shots?
“Jamelle takes great pride in herself, where she has come from, what she is doing. She puts a lot of pressure on herself to live up to the expectations that everybody has of her, that she has of herself, and she takes it really hard when she feels like she is letting people down.”
Milestones and numbers
Faris comes into the game with 98 career three-pointers (28 this season). Once she gets to 100, it will mark the first time in program history four teammates on the same Huskies team have had at least 100 career threes. The others are Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (149), Bria Hartley (152) and Caroline Doty (132). … The Huskies have already scored 100 points three times this season. They had accomplished that only three times altogether in the three previous seasons. …