The Big East Certainly Looks Different Today

by Categorized: 2013 WNBA Draft, ACC, Anne Donovan, Big East women's basketball, Breanna Stewart, Gampel Pavilion, Geno Auriemma, Notre Dame women's basketball, Skylar Diggins, UConn women's basketball Date:

If you haven’t noticed by now these are strange times in the Big East conference. Institutions are entering and exiting faster than weather patterns across the national map.

Here is startling example of how topsy-turvy things have become: Look at this morning’s women’s basketball standings.

Seton Hall (1-0) is ahead of UConn (0-1) in the conference standings.

This is a clear throwback to the 1980s, as nostalgic as if Geno Auriemma grew a mullet prior to the Huskies’ game at Georgetown on Wednesday.

Take a picture for posterity. You may not see it again for quite some time, especially now that Lady Pirates coach Anne Donovan is coming to Connecticut to coach in the WNBA.


However, one day of it is likely enough for UConn. And “one” is the theme after the Huskies lost their Big East opener Saturday to Notre Dame.

UConn lost by one point, 73-72. They lost because Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ last-chance three from the right corner with six seconds to play didn’t drop.

They lost one point when a three made by Bria Hartley at the end of the first half was changed to a two. They were outrebounded by one.

They had one more personal foul than Notre Dame. The Irish made one more three and had one more offensive rebound.

“We were mirror images of each other,” Auriemma said.

Who knows how one switch in any of those stats, in any one sequence, could have changed the game.

But now, UConn’s one-week reign as the nation’s consensus No. 1 team is over.

“We still have a lot of practices and a lot of games left,” Stefanie Dolson said. “We are going to get better from here.”

Perhaps the most telling comment in the rush of the postgame was offered by Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame’s All-American senior guard.

She said that her team, which has now won five of the last six games against UConn, was “not afraid” of the UConn jersey, one of the major advantages the Huskies have enjoyed over their opponents during the championship era.

“They [Notre Dame] did a great job of just being tough,” Dolson said. “They were physical down low. Their guards were pressuring our guards. They just played very good defense, took charges when they needed to. I don’t know what else to say.”

Miami is the last team to beat Connecticut five times in a six-game stretch (1992-94).

Should this trend continues, UConn’s task down the stretch may be tougher than anyone has anticipated. It plays Notre Dame on March 4 in South Bend to end the regular season.

And if the tradition continues, the teams will play again March 12 in Hartford for the Big East tournament title. That would be their 14th meeting since the start of the 2010-11 season.

“I was just really pleased with our grit, our determination,” Notre Dame coach McGraw said. “We came out and played pretty well in the first half. Then, they made a couple of runs, and I thought we answered them. We kind of held our own. We went toe-to-toe with them. We took their best shot a couple of times. They made a little bit of a run on occasion, and we were able to come back.”


Diggins and junior Kayla McBride killed UConn by combining for the 40 points. Like Bria Hartley (39 minutes), Dolson and Kelly Faris (40 minutes), they were there for every just about every beat of the pulsating game.

And even though McBride and Diggins combined to shoot just 14-of-36, they seemed to scored every point Notre Dame needed when it needed to be scored.

“They are two great guards,” Auriemma said.

Meanwhile, three of UConn’s stars were crossed on Saturday.

Caroline Doty, who played perhaps her best game ever at Oregon on Dec. 31, seemed to hurt her right ankle early in the game and did not score in 10 minutes.

Hartley, who played just seven minutes at Oregon on Dec. 31, scored just nine points and had almost as many turnovers (four) as assists.

And Breanna Stewart, the nation’s top high school player last season, showed some inexperience offensively, shooting 5 of 17 in 22 minutes. But she did have nine rebounds and six blocked shots.

“I wouldn’t say I am annoyed about what happened,” said Dolson, who shared UConn’s scoring lead with Mosqueda-Lewis (17 points). “Notre Dame came out ready to fight and be strong. And so did we. Things just went their way.

“No, I am not annoyed. But I am angry and I am mad now [Saturday night], I will mad in the morning and I will mad in two weeks. I am mad that we lost and so is everyone on the team.”

And now there will be a new No. 1, which doesn’t bother UConn because being on top of the world didn’t thrill it to begin with.

“I don’t care about [being] No. 1, either,” McGraw said.








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19 thoughts on “The Big East Certainly Looks Different Today

  1. Hip Hop Hood

    Watching KML on the court is embarrassing. She’s so heavy that she can barely get off the ground and got a 3 swatted back into her face. That would have won the game for us!

    1. coach777b

      Bet you thought Charles Barkley wasn’t a good player either! The pure shooter on this team who played with an injured ankle and you were “embarassed”! This is basketball, the “Biggest Loser” is on another channel!




      1. Edward Sorin

        Another bleeping moron who just does not get it. Stop shooting 3PT if you want to get to the FT line. Geno used to tell Maya that all the time. She listened for about 5 games her senior year.

  2. TexasBogger

    I agree that Uconn was “out-toughed” by ND last night. Their tangible shortcomings will no doubt be improved upon during the season. The intangible issue(s), the will to win, is another item entirely. That challenge is the toughest nut to crack. Uconn will probably play ND three more times this season depending on the NCAA bracket. They must get the Muffet monkey off their back or no title again.

  3. UConn Husky Fan (UHF)

    It’s not rocket science.

    Every year, CT media and UConn fans buy into the ridiculous over hyped rankings of HoopGurlz, Peach State Basketball, Blue Star, etc.

    Be objective. Watch tapes of UConn games without sound and without prejudice. You will see the obvious.

    Doty’s box score is empty against top teams. Stop blaming her knee injuries. Doty was never going to be something special. She is a role player.

    Tuck is the most overrated big in UConn history. Where is all this toughness that UConn fans bragged about? Where is all the talent?

    I have said it many times and I will say it again. Jefferson is an overhyped Dixon. Terrible outside shooter who gets lost amongst the trees when she drives to the hoop. She built her high school stats playing against players her own size.

    Stewart falls down because she is severely pigeon-toed, inhibiting her balance. Stewart also has foot-drop, drags one foot without contact. If the UConn trainers are not working to correct this, they should be fired.

    Even before this UConn game, the word was out that UConn hates physical play. Why is that? Really. UConn has male practice players. So why is UConn not tougher?

    Geno is a 6 or 7 player rotation coach, regardless of how many over hyped freshmen or sophomores on his team. Geno gives the press all sorts of excuses about players not earning playing time in practice. Players never get better unless they play in real games.

    Geno won 7 NC with 7 POY. There is no one on UConn capable of being in the Top 5 voting for POY this year. UConn will not play in the NC game this season.

    1. Steve Gee

      So UHF, we should stop listening to others and form our own opinions right? Isn’t that basically your advice?

      “Be objective. Watch tapes of UConn games without sound and without prejudice. ”

      I have to admit, your point here has merit.
      I will take your advice, and completely ignore anything you have to say about UCONN.
      No-longer will I give consideration to your prejudiced, nonsensical ramblings.

      Thank you.
      That is all.

  4. UConn Husky Fan (UHF)

    Remember the good old days? Renee, Tina, Kalana, and Maya trouncing ND and everyone else on the way to 39-0?

    1. Geno on Geno

      UHF–You are full of B.S.
      But you raise one point. 6 person rotation. McGraw used at least 11 players against UConn and there appeared to be little downside to the subs.
      Tuck and Jefferson are Freshmen as is Stewart. I believe that Muffet McGraw spends pre season getting her Freshmen up to speed and gets them plenty of experience against the starting 5.
      Jefferson is a good point guard and has a big upside–one of which is bring to UConn Texas players.
      Doty is the most experience player on the floor but makes too many bad passes. Her knee is a liability in that she hasn’t the mobility needed.
      By March fourth Uconn will be a significantly different team or forget winning the Big East or the NCAA.
      UConn without major changes cannot beat Baylor or even Stanford again.
      Geno has to forget some of his biases and play all the Bigs he can put on the floor.
      KML at any weight is the best shooter from anywhere on the floor, on this or most teams.

      1. Edward Sorin

        Geno forget one of his biases? Geno refuses to develop players in games.

        His stubborness caused UConn to lose to ND in the FF during Maya’s senior season. 4 players stood around and watched Maya score enough points to surpass Tennessee legend Chamique Holdsclaw. Meanwhile, players were glued to the bench.

        One of the greatest WCBB of all time ate herself out a career – Courtney Paris. An overweight KML would be too slow to defend WNBA players.

  5. McBride BE POY

    Faris has a lot of nerve calling out anyone. Faris was an offensive liability to UConn her first 2 seasons. Teams dared her to shoot.

    1. Magic Bullet

      When did Faris call out McBride??
      Faris hit 2 wide open 3’s because ND wasn’t smart enough to learn she shoot the 3 at 50 percent rate (before the ND game).
      She blamed no on else for the loss to ND. She said MCBride scored on her easily–that isn’t call her out that complementing a good player.

      1. Edward Sorin

        Learn to read and comprehend. Faris called out Stewart using the word freshman.

    2. Steve Gee

      “I take responsibility for this loss,” Faris said. “I don’t just say that because it sounds good. As a leader on this team, I am supposed to set the tone. And I didn’t do it defensively, which is usually expected of me. McBride got any shot she wanted and she made just about all of them [10 of 21].”

      Yeah, what nerve she has that blame-thrower Faris.

  6. Sydney White

    I think it is good they lost. They now know they are not invincible and will practice all the harder. I have not lost my faith in Uconn. They will be come better and better. Just wait until March! :-)

  7. Edward Sorin

    UConn lost because Tiffany Hayes was not here to lead them into battle and emerge victorious. She was an underrated leader.

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