When informed she had joined an illustrious group in the UConn record books Tuesday night, senior guard Kelly Faris reacted the way she always does when the conversation turns personal.
She shrugged and offered the telling small smile that signals she’d rather discuss something else, preferably about one of her teammates.
Still, it didn’t change the facts: Faris became just the fourth player in UConn history to start 100 consecutive games during UConn’s 105-49 win at Providence.
In doing so she joined Renee Montgomery (140), Jennifer Rizzotti (135) and Jamelle Elliott (106) in a group that epitomizes consistency in Geno Auriemma’s mind.
“It’s not easy for me to put into words what someone’s true contributions are,’’ Auriemma said. “The stat sheet and the record book tells one part of the story. But I think Kelly’s contributions are so numerous; the 100 starts in a row is most indicative of how consistent and reliable and how fortunate she’s been to stay healthy.
“[It also shows] just how committed she is to winning and doing whatever she has to do for the University of Connecticut.’’
Faris celebrated the occasion in typical fashion, scoring 16 points with six rebounds, five assists and 27 minutes. But instead of focusing on her feelings, she turned it around by deciding to praise her coach for his loyalty to her.
“It’s nice to know that Coach trusts you,” Faris said. “The flipside [of the streak] is that it says a lot about him. He’s a very trustworthy, respectful guy and someone you don’t want to let down.
“If you have somebody like that as your coach, you’re going to do everything you can not to disappoint him. I think that’s always in the back of my mind.’’
As her time at UConn begins to wear down, Faris’ numbers will sharpen in focus. She needs just 32 points to reach 1,000 and her scoring average (10.8), field goal percentage (53.8) and three-point percentage (42.7) all are career highs.
“You can look at the statistics, defense or offense, whether you make steals or stops. But in reality, I think you need people that [make teammates believe] once you’re on the floor there is kind of that feeling like, ‘OK, we can do this. We can do that.’
“I’m not just the only one. So, if I have done that, then I think that’s something I take a lot of pride in.’’