UConn Just Wasn’t Good Enough To Beat Baylor

by Categorized: Baylor women's basketball, Big East women's basketball, Geno Auriemma, Kim Mulkey, UConn women's basketball, XL Center Date:

It was 12:15 Tuesday morning, an hour after Baylor’s 76-70 win over UConn ended, when Geno Auriemma finally strode into the postgame interview room.

It was also an hour after he picked up a microphone and told who remained among the XL Center’s first sellout in two seasons that he didn’t think his third-ranked team was good enough  to beat top-ranked Baylor.

“We could have easily won this game, but we’re not smart enough to win it yet,” Auriemma told the media. “Individually, I think our team has to understand that as individuals we’re not good enough to beat this team. It has to be a collective effort, like it was during the first 15 minutes of the first half.”

That’s when UConn was ascending with a 22-14 lead after two of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ 26 points with 5:20 to play in the half.

The lead would grow to 27-18 with 3:29 to play after another hoop by Mosqueda-Lewis. And that’s when things started to change.

“I think we were in control of the game the whole first half, until the last three minutes. It just goes to show you, against a really good team, when mentally you make a couple of mistakes, how quickly the game can change,” Auriemma said. “As well as we played defensively, and executed defensively, it should have been a 15-point game in the first half instead of a three-point game [UConn led, 29-26].

“I don’t know that the last three minutes of the first half was the deciding factor of the game, but I think it was indicative of things that happened at various points in the game.”

UConn, a team that allowed only 46.8 points a game in its first 25 games, allowed 50 points in the second half.

UConn, a team that has staunchly guarded every inch of 6-foot-8 All-American center Brittney Griner in the first half, essentially lost its defensive focus on her in the second half during which she was 8 of 12 from the field.

“You’re not going to be able to guard Brittney Griner by yourself for 40 minutes,” Auriemma said. “In the first half, Stefanie [Dolson] guarded her with a lot of help from others. In the second half, she didn’t get help from anyone. Everything we did right in the first half, we didn’t do right in the first half. I thought Stefanie was phenomenal.”

Combine that with cumulative problems on the offensive boards (21-14 for Baylor), shooting trouble (8 of 24 from three), inability to get to the free throw line (4 of 4) and 18 turnovers to get the elements of disappointing defeat.

“It seems like every big game we come into, we get up, we hit them in the mouth first, but we come up short,” said Mosqueda-Lewis, who was 11 of 14 from the floor and had a career-high 15 rebounds. “Once their team turns up the volume it seems like we don’t recover from it. Once we change our attitudes or something we are just going to keep getting the same result in big games like this.”

Too few UConn players performed to the standard set by Mosqueda-Lewis and Stefanie Dolson, who pounded with Griner for 38 minutes.

Freshman Morgan Tuck was excellent, scoring 11 points with five rebounds in 25 minutes. And Bria Hartley, who played just four minutes in the 20-point win at Rutgers on Saturday, scored 13, but was 5 of 12.

“I think Baylor did a great job of pressuring us and they got us rattled a few times,” Dolson said. “That is something we are going to have to work on, keeping our composure and make sure that we stick together and never stop moving. We need to make sure that we are running our plays correctly, listening to each other and talking to each other.”

Problem was, neither freshmen Moriah Jefferson or Breanna Stewart scored. Stewart, the nation’s high school player of the year, barely played (seven minutes).

“When you are a young player and you get stunned at some point of the season, it takes a lot to recover. I don’t know when it happened, but right now Breanna Stewart’s mind isn’t going to let her be the kind of player we think she can be – right now, today,” Auriemma said.

“Maybe in a month it will change. Right now it’s not good. But that’s what it is. She is struggling physically with things on a regular basis and it gets into your head.”

ophomore Kiah Stokes played only three minutes in the second half.

And without assistance, such as Griner (25 points) received from Brooklyn Pope (18 points, nine rebounds), the Huskies were up a creek without a paddle. Auriemma said even Mosqueda-Lewis’ effort merited review.

“I told her [Mosqueda-Lewis] that this was the kind of game Maya Moore used to have,” Auriemma said. “The only difference was about a seven-minute stretch where she wasn’t involved. Maya would have scored 50 in a game like this. But Kaleena is just learning how much more she can do than what she did.”

Ironically, Moore, fresh from a championship season  in China and the NBA All-Star, was sitting behind the UConn bench Monday night.

Griner, who will join Moore as a No. 1 pick in the WNBA in April, reached 3,000 career points with two free throws with 1:05 to play. She is just the eighth player in the game’s history to do so.

“Brittney scored her 3,000th point here in a big game; a significant game,” said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey.

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89 thoughts on “UConn Just Wasn’t Good Enough To Beat Baylor

  1. Clete

    Griner’s too good a player to be that much of a thug. Dolson has too much class to come up swinging, but Griner deserved a pop in the jaw for that second takedown. Mulkey showed her lack of class by leaving Griner in. You think Summitt would have?

    1. pat

      wonder what kind of punishment Mulkey gave Griner after she punched another player in the face. looks like that is the kind of coaching she is doing and allowing Griner to physically attack others. she may be good but she is acting like a thug. apparently she has been tested several times and each time they keep saying she is a woman. she may be a woman but she sure isn’t a lady .

      1. Lindy

        I am so upset by the take down’s Griner gave Stephanie and the lack of calls from the refs on it. I saw it happen three times. The second and third the TV camera’s caught and the ref’s only saw the second. When I hear that Stephanie tired, wasn’t as aggressive the second half- could be she got mugged three times! Landed on her head. Griner does not belong in the woman’s game-someone will get hurt. How could the refs have missed these outrageous fouls? Unbelievable when you consider the type of fouls they were calling on UCONN. Sorry it just really upset me- this type of violence does not belong in the women’s game.

      2. Walter

        Ok i was out of line saying we should have tanyaharding pay brittneygriner visit before game that would be stooping to baylos low level of bad sportsmanship though i still cant stand brittnergriner you are right Bgriner is a thug a bully and kimmulkey doest have the class to pull bgriner out of a game after a cheap shot while even patsummitt would have pulled out begirner and baylor will do anything to win even if its dirty and i didnt believe kimmulkey one bit be4 the game when she talked like the game wasnt that inprotant to her and ucon really had to twist her arm to even play the game in febuary she didnt really want to and the refs baby bgriner even thogh she doesnt need it and you are right stefaniedolson has too much class to push back it use to be utladyvols i couldnt stand the most but now its baylor utladyvols were never as bad of people as baylorladybears takecare godbless gouconn

      3. Trouttimekv

        Pat- where have u heard Griner has been tested? I don’t think it is an NCAA rule-is it? If she were female- she would have gone to the Olympics. No one will convince me otherwise. Is there any mandatory one time gender testing in Wmba?

    2. Walter

      so true brginer is a thung and buuly always has been since she threw a pucnh her freshman season bginer jkim mulkey and the whole baylorlady bears team has so class adn the refs baby bginer when she doesnt need it and mulkey should have pulled out bgirner for trying to hurt sDolson but didnt pull out bginer trueth told tanyaharding should pay brgriner a visit before the game takecare gouconn

    3. Village Idiot

      I loved the game. Punch, punch back. It was interesting from start to finish. Wanted a win, but a great effort is good too.
      Griner was a bit much, but please look at the replays and see that she to was getting some mugging–not as nasty, but mugged too. Attacking the griner guarded basket is futile waste of a posession. The inexperience of the Uconn bench showed. But Tuck and Jefferson played exceptionally well for never having played in a game this big. I am proud of the Uconn Women–I believe they will beat Baylor in the Final 4, they surely will beat Notre Dame March 4th.

    4. Geno, Shame on YOU

      Geno if you told us you weren’t good enough to beat Baylor before we purchased tickets to the game, we’d have stayed home!!
      If you really believed it, you should have cancelled the game, apparently you and the team learned nothing,by losing.

      But I think this is truly a number 2 team in the USA. I think–you have an excellent Center, a great forward (KML), two very good Freshmen and one ONLY GENO is to blame for her expectations by the UConn Fans. So Geno it was a great game–your rant’s not withstanding. Your kids have a lot to be proud of–why aren’t you proud of them???

    5. Dee

      someone that was on the floor at halftime (for the pink tribute)heard the assistant coach in the pink pants say—I don’t care how you do it-just take her down! real sportswomanship

  2. Marc Froehlich

    I still say she shouldn’t be allowed to play in the womens game and not to be mean about it but i see no women feachers on this person if they tested him they would find morn man than women

  3. Laddy

    If we can’t beat Baylor on our home court there’s no way we can beat them on a neutral court.

    And we’ve already proved that we can’t beat ND either.

      1. Mulkey > Geno

        Fans do not have to be cult members like JoePa U and Geno U. Start build his statue.

        1. Trouttimekv

          Right on village idiot- u r right on again. They will build from this game, get freshman and stokes going and beat Baylor in nat championship game!!! They will handle ND en route when needed!

  4. Jon Anthony

    Although, only part of the overall equation, once again, Caroline comes up little in huge game. 17 minutes on the court as a starter, missed 4 open 3 pointers. Enough. Just enough.

  5. TexasBogger

    Geno made a good point: “Sometime we just stop playing and I don’t know why”. Suddenly up pops the unforced turnover and the offense needs several minutes to recover it’s flow. Until they can maintain consistency in their offense they will remain the third best team in the land. Yes, the bar is set high in Storrs.

    1. Mulkey > Geno

      Geno stops coaching many times during games. He should talk about quiting.

  6. KerishME

    I kept waiting for Kelly to turn it up and give us a glimpse of what she did in the second half of the Duke game. I guess I missed when she picked up her fourth foul. Was foul trouble why she was so quiet? Silver lining was the play of Tuck. Hoping this performance will propel her to greater things for the rest of the season.

    1. Michael Keller

      Faris sat almost eight minutes at the end of the first half with two fouls. That’s when things started to go haywire.

      1. Master

        Faris was playing poorly and had a bad game..by the way..what game were you watching??

    2. Mulkey > Geno

      This was Baylor. This was not Duke. Faris got burned by better athletes on ND and Baylor. Just a fact.

  7. Denise in AZ

    UCONN made too many dumb passes. How many points did Baylor make off those intercepted passes?

    1. David Schulz

      You’re right. The players never adjusted to the fact that the Baylor defenders were doing what every team does (women or men) who have a big eraser in the middle. They overplay the passing lanes knowing if they get beat the big eraser is back there to back them up. The UCONN perimeter players never really adjusted to that pressure. No other women’s team in the land is free to play that aggressively on defense.

      1. Mike McManus

        An excellent point. Another contributing factor is that UCONN’s players tend to telegraph their passes, no ball fakes, just look and throw it. Several times you could see the Baylor defenders start their move toward the ball because indeed they were over-playing out front. Hartley, Doty, and Ferris are experienced players and should have known better.UCONN gave up far too many easy layups because of turnovers out front.

        1. Mulkey > Geno

          That is poor coaching. Coaches are supposed to correct players mistakes thru instruction and repetition.

          1. Master

            Faris was playing poorly and had a bad game..by the way..what game were you watching??

  8. Fairfield County Fan

    Huskies missed Bank last night – I think she would have been able to create some steals and fast breaks, and I think she might have given Simms (who had no turnovers) some difficulty.
    I wish Geno had gone to Stokes earlier to help Dolson on Griner. Mulkey rested Griner in first half after she could’t keep up with tempo….Stokes could have helped defend and wear her down.

  9. John

    When Breanna Stewart was recruited I thought immediately how much of a factor she would be teamed with Stefanie against Griner. Sadly, she wasn’t mentally prepared to contribute, and hasn’t played well for weeks now. I hope she can regain some confidence soon!!

    1. Mulkey > Geno

      Stewart will beat up on Providence or which ever sisters of the poor team UConn plays on Saturday. Griner enjoyed beating up on shorter players for 4 years. Hope players like D-Nasty beat her brains in.

  10. Wade Russell

    Last night verified that the ratings people are right. Baylor’s players are clearly better 1-7 and Notre Dame’s coaching is better. At crunch time in big games their offense starts further and further away and panicked shots follow as the shot clock expires. It’s now a pattern, not an exception. Also like many other fans we have succeeded in overrating our players. In the women’s college game you will never win it all with 3s.

    1. Michael Keller

      Baylor 1-7? Madden did virtually nothing last night and they only have one significant bench player (Pope).

      We should be getting a lot more from our bench, but only Tuck helped last night.

    2. David Schulz

      Baylor’s players are older. They also have a 6’8″ center who is the best woman that size to ever play the game. You saying Kaleena is overrated? Are you nuts? Muffit is a good coach. She is not a better coach.

      1. Mulkey > Geno

        UConn fans always have excuses. Hang nails. Cramps. Height. Weight. Age. Skin color. Religious background.

  11. JD Randle

    No shot at a final four this year! Too much “deer in the headlights” when things aren’t going well. Also chemistry problems when Doty is starting. She has no shot but continues to throw up bricks. Hartley too slow get off screens. Stokes is a waste of a scholarship. She has no clue how to play the game at the college level. Sit Stewart until next year. She has skills but is clueless how to play at the Div I level. Stokes and Jefferson are both more advanced than Stewart.

    Starting lineup against the best teams should be Hartley, Faris, Tuck, Dolson, and KML.

      1. Schulz Knows Nothing

        of course UConn has a shot at the final four – every year only 6 teams at most have a chance

    1. bahmi

      Excellent observation. Doty, despite being Geno’s favorite because of the onus of the many knee operations, plays her out of sentimentality. Bad reason. She’s brittle, slower than she used to be, and is brick city with her shot. Sad case, imagine what she could have been. She is hampered by the brace and the fear….

      1. Mulkey > Geno

        Geno is a stubborn old ball coach who intentionally sabotages UConn with his lousy coaching.

        1. Master

          I think you just love making crazy comments to get reactions from all of us sane people out here!!

  12. RJ

    In my opinion, Doty would never start a game again, except Senior night. That starter experience is better given to someone else like Tuck or Stewart. At some point soon, it will “click” for Brianna and all this doubt will be a distant memory.

  13. Walter

    uconns is scared of brittneygriner uconn should have had baylor burreid at half when they wernt playing good but of course once again uconn didnt take advantage of their mamny oportunitys instead of moving ball around going inside some and back door plays like uconn use to do to score uconn women just stand outside shooting 3s youre not going to beat baylor that way and refs baby the big dirty player bgriner shes just hnand like evryone else 1 reason stanford beat baylor stanford went inside and scored some on baylor and bgriner dont need help from refs but always gets it and 1st half refs called more travels than a whole nba season but whenever you let a team hang around like uconn let baylor hang aroud te other team will always win and ive never seen a team that lives by the 3s win a championship takecare gouconn

    1. David Schulz

      Stanford beat Baylor because Simms was injured in the first four minutes of the game. You really think Stanford would have won had Simms played the entire game?

  14. Husky Dave

    Geno’s correct as usual. UConn cannot beat Baylor while Griner’s around. The question is: can the Huskies beat Notre Dame and be the second-best team in the country? Once both Griner and Diggins leave, UConn will have a fairly clear path to the NC. AND don’t forget to include KML in any All-America top five: Griner, Diggins, Sims, Delle Donna, KML. Kaleena is the best shooting guard in the country and a great all-around player.

    1. Mulkey > Geno

      UConn ain’t winnin’ no NC next year. Geno’s curly, larry, and mo will be graduated. Geno’s stellar recruiting class landed one guard and no big. ND will still beat UConn next year.

    2. Master

      Geno’s not right about anything and neither are you…but I do believe Uconn will be the favorite next year no doubt about that!!

      1. Master

        Sorry to tell you but they did vote for her as an AA.. you may not like her for whatever reason but she made the team and you didn’t..I guess it’s something you can dream about.

  15. tim from az

    Griner gets tough when the testosterone kicks in.Why did she not play in the olympics?Tomuch testing?What kid gives up a chance to play for the USA?

    1. Trouttimekv

      No one will convince me she’s a she- no one turns down a gold medal – ever. It is not fare to her female competitors in HS college or the WNBA

  16. Mike

    Geno has no clue on finishing any big game. His endgame strategies are a disaster. Uconn finally has a legit point guard in Jefferson who should be playing instead of goose egg Doty. Having Stewart shoot threes with her size and reach? C’mon. 50 points in the second half against what is supposedly a great defensive team? Ridiculous! Where was Stokes? The only value Buck has was against Griner.Buck wouldn’t be pushed around like a ragdoll like Dolson was. Where was she? Faris has gone from underrated to grossly overrated. She’s only good against the stinko teams when they don’t even need her.

    1. David Schulz

      Let’s hear it from coach mike! Gotta love all you armchair coach’s. Dolson played great. How do you think you would do against Griner? Jefferson is getting more time every game. Stewart is proving she isn’t ready for this level of competition, or haven’t you been watching. Another Faris hater. sure are a lot of you out there.

    2. Trouttimekv

      No one will convince me she’s a she- no one turns down a gold medal – ever. It is not fare to her female competitors in HS college or the WNBA

    3. Trouttimekv

      U r a jerk Mike- get a life. U want buck to play vs tuck stokes or Stewart. She can’t score or hold rebound- great kid- will never b in big game. Geno has done pretty well without you.

  17. Disappointed UConn Fan in Fans

    Some correct comments, some terrible. Uconn was in this game to the last minute. Uconn does not have the experience of Baylor, yet. Tuck played well, Jefferson played well and was smart not to attack the ball swatter.Uconn had the 12 to 2. Does everyone think the defending NC team will not come back?? Geno needs to pay Stewart 40 minutes every game until the B.E. tourney, experience is gained on the floor not the bench. Teach her, she’s smart, take her tell her what she did wrong and put her back in. She will be one of Uconn’s great’s along with Tuck and Mo Jeff. Hang in there fans this is a very good team (UConn). Kaleena, Steff, Hartley (if well), Faris, Tuck, Mo Jeff, Stokes, Stewart can take us to the final for, and in my opinion they will. This was a learning game. Geno is wrong to berate is players–a few failed him, many excelled.

  18. Angus

    I do not like the way the refs called the game. There were at least 3 baskets UConn made that the players were fouled on….two of them were KML….and one of those she got knocked to the ground by the he-she Griner. How is it possible UConn only got 4 fouls shots and Baylor had 20? I do agree that Griner is a dirty player, especially when things do not go her way. She could not keep up with Dolson up and down the court which caused her to pull Dolson down instead.

    1. JR

      Five of Baylor’s FT’s came in the last minute when the Huskies were forced to foul. Outside of that, it was a 15-4 edge though UConn could’ve easily been blanked. The Huskies hardly ever went into the lane due to Griner’s presence. Baylor has one of the lowest foul rates in the country because they are great at defending cleanly.

    2. Trouttimekv

      Correct on all points- 1st Kemal hoop Griner pounded her and no call. Sims almost ended doty’s career undercutting during rebound right in front of ref and o sims was like a wild man under the hoop with no calls on a few possessions. also – B Grinder walked 4 times with no calls during double and triple teams. Changed pivot feet every time. Had 2ng flagrant intentional that wasn’t called. They say they don’t want to be the story of the game- by letting them get away with murder the become the story. Dodson did not walk at the elbow in first half. DVD has slow motion- these idiots should. Be sure on this stuff!!!

  19. Steve Gee

    6 point loss. SIX!
    Please people, pick-up your broken pieces of sky and trade them in for some reality.
    With the comments here I would think UConn lost by 50.

    1. Chicken Stew

      6 against 2 of the top 3. UConn being the other 1. WCBB is 4 and then everyone else.

    2. louis

      Well said…please enough of the whining, it a game, not the end of the world, or lest for some.

  20. Chicken Stew

    Faris = Overrated & No Show.
    Hartley = Overrated & Selfish.
    Doty = Can’t graduate soon enough.
    Stewart = Whimp.
    Geno = Greatest Coach Ever. NOT.
    When talent is even, Geno loses.

    1. David Schulz

      Why do you pay any attention to women’s basketball at all? Judging by your comments, you must have a really miserable life. I pity the people around you.

    2. Master

      Yep they are right you are one miserable person why do you watch women’s college basketball you hate a lot.

  21. louis

    OMG..Give itn a rest….Uconn fans way to spoiled…If ya think you can coach better go out there….

    1. Mulkey > Geno

      Sign me up and pay me what Geno makes. Guarantee you I would sign more than 1 player every 4 years.

  22. Gerri

    Just an observation. UConn doesn’t seem to be athletic as Baylor. A step slower, they had quicker hands poking the ball numerous times and played better pressure defense to turn the game around. It also appeared that UConn’s guards had trouble handling the ball as they were being overplayed. Just seemed over matched at the guard match ups.

    1. Mulkey > Geno

      It’s a guards game. Just ask Geno. That’s why he has too many guards and not enough real talented bigs.

    2. David Schulz

      Baylor’s perimeter players can play that way because they have the big girl to back them up if they gamble and miss. This strategy goes back to the days of George Mikan. Yes, I’m old. I’ve played and watched basketball for 60 years. When the UCONN men’s teams had a big shot blocker in the lane, their guards could cheat into the passing lanes too.

      1. Schulz Knows Nothing

        so when is UConn going to sign the next true center who can actually play? dolsons value will be noticed the first game of 2014-15.

        1. David Schulz

          Who knows? There is a lot more competition out there for talented players. Schools like Baylor ar now in the mix. Big girls who can really play are rare, just like big guys who can really play. Stewart has a chance, but she really needs to get a lot stronger. Stokes has the skills but just doesn’t seem to have the drive to be the player she could be. If somehow that happens she could be great. She’s a terrific shot blocker.

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