When Enough Doesn’t Quite Seem Enough

by Categorized: 2013 NCAA Tournament, Big East women's basketball, Bria Hartley, Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball Date:

If UConn players and coaches feel at times that whatever they’ve accomplished doesn’t seem quite enough you can excuse them. It just may be true.

Consider that Saturday’s 105-37 romp over Idaho in the first round of the NCAA’s Bridgeport Regional was UConn’s 30th win this season. The Huskies have now won at least 30 for a record eighth-straight season.

Still, the game lured just 4,627 fans to Gampel Pavilion, the smallest crowd for a campus game since March 1994.

“It [the wins] just becomes numbers,’’ Auriemma said. “Right now, the only thing that matters at UConn is `are you going to win the national championship?’ The fact that we’ve won 30 games 18 out of the last 20 years, well, I don’t think anybody gives a [darn] about that. Because if they did there would’ve been tremendous excitement leading up to today’s game. `Wow, come watch Coach Auriemma and UConn win 30 games for the 18th time in 20 years.’

“So, obviously, that was way under the radar. So right now it’s about winning national championships at Connecticut. And unless somebody reminds you, you really kind of forget about the numbers. But when people remind you it’s pretty staggering I think.’’

For his players, the difficult part comes with the demands made of them to maintain their focus, even in the midst of 68-point wins like Saturday’s. There is always something to learn, something to gain.

“Establishing mini-goals for the team is about making good decisions you incorporate into the game at various points,” Auriemma said. “The idea is to keep the attention level high so that what they do always  matters. We’ve always done that. But it’s even more important with players today because their attention spans are shorter.”

That won’t be a big problem Monday when the Huskies (30-4) play SEC power Vanderbilt (21-11) in a second-round tournament game at Gampel. The Commodores are battle-toughened with a late-season win over conference tournament champion Texas A&M.

“There is no formula [to preparing for UConn]. But I like the challenge,” said Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcolm. “I like being the underdog. My teams reflect that. But I need to prepare to come here and not think like they are already beat.”

It looks like freshman Breanna Stewart will play after missing Saturday’s game with a sore left calf.

“She looks pretty good, we’ll see what happens from here,” Auriemma said before the Huskies practiced Sunday. “I hope she gets through [Sunday] OK and has no problems. But we don’t plan to do a lot [in practice].”

“I feel good,” Stewart said Sunday. “A lot of ice.”

The Commodores defeated St, Joseph’s 60-54 in Saturday’s first round.

“We’ve met the challenge during out SEC games. The conference is filled with athletes; big guards, big posts,” Vandy senior Tiffany Clarke said. “We have a way to face because it won’t be something we haven’t seen before.”

Preparing for physical battles in the later rounds of the NCAA is what made Idaho such an important testing ground. That UConn would win big was never in doubt. What wasn’t certain was the manner it would get it done.

To help that, Auriemma gives his team smaller goals and missions during games to sharpen their skills and focus.

“You base it [progress] on matching what you have accomplished in the past,” Bria Hartley said. “Getting a tempo going like we did on Saturday excites you. You are always going to make mistakes in games, no matter how well you are playing. So what you focus on is to minimize them and make sure you don’t repeat them.

“It’s always the little things that make a difference, like where you are in terms of the defensive rotation. It’s the same no matter who you will play and its one of the things you gauge to determine how well you play.”

UConn responded with an almost flawless game. They shot 60.9 percent and held the Vandals to 14 field goals – four of their eight three-pointers came in the final 3:23.

They commanded the boards (45-23), outscored Idaho 31-0 off turnovers, had six players in double-figures and committed just six turnovers.

“It’s about how tough and hard-working we are,” Stefanie Dolson said. “You try to phase out what the other team does and focus in on how you are performing.

We usually do a good job of that. We made good decisions with the ball [against Idaho] in the open floor. And the defensive pressure we applied was incredible.”

One thing UConn will need to control is Vanderbilt point guard Jasmine Clarke, who has played 40 minutes in six of the Commodores last nine games.

“I know when to go slow and I know when to go fast,” she said. “It’s just a matter of knowing what to do in certain situations.”

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23 thoughts on “When Enough Doesn’t Quite Seem Enough

  1. Steve Gee the Real

    If you are trolling with an opinion don’t bother = Mine is the only opinion that is important.
    I’m so smart –Geno ask’s my view before each game.
    If you think you can speak you opinion–think again. If you do I’ll be sure to make an insulting, “snarky”, sarcastic comment on anything you have to say.

    If you want a decent, calm, opinion base blog–take me off your site.

    Blogger who respond to me with nasty comments or take over my name do so to respond in kind to nasty, sarcastic, snarky, innane comments from me.

    If I clean up my act, this site will be a more decent site dedicated to true Uconn fans with value given to their opinions no matter what they have to say.

        1. Steve Gee

          By your posts here you’re no fan of anything but yourself.
          If you had any marbles, you’d drop the aliases and own your comments.

          1. Steve Gee Really

            Who told you had permission to say that??
            I am the only one to say I am my biggest fan. Egocentric, that’s me.
            Love everything myself.
            Seems like there are many more than one who the SG has dissed.
            Ignorant, self centered, arrogant, snarky, sarcastic, and if you dont have his specific opinion you are a troll–yet he trolls more than everyone else combined, so who is the REAL Troll??–yep that’s the Steve Gee we all love to hate.

  2. Jim

    UConn doesn’t care about the attendance. If they did, more than 6000 would have shown up for Maya’s senior night. Attendance isn’t going to get better unless UConn addresses the concerns voiced by fans over the years.

  3. Steve Gee

    We’re surely a bit spoiled here in UConn nation.
    Prolonged success breeds high expectations, and something less than an undefeated national championship shouldn’t mean it was a failure of a season.

    1. Steve Gee Really

      Uconn nation another jewel of wisdom from the only person (he thinks) has a right to opine?
      If you show up –he thinks you are stupid, if you don’t he thinks you are spoiled (sounds like he repeats Geno’s sound bites).

      You must be 1002 percent or you are anti-Steve Gee –oh, golly miss molly–Steve is angered by you who stay home and watch the game. Since you have Geno’s ear or other places–you know what you can do—

      Snarky, Arrogant, sarcastic, and the bloggers know it.
      If you have an opinion you must get Steve Gee permission to use it, who gives him the use of an idea–his aren’t very original.

  4. Steve Gee

    I want to take this opportunity to come out of the closet and tell the world I’m gay and proud.

    1. Straight and Humble

      Again, way too much information from you. Please return to your closet.

  5. Bracchus

    Well, no one pays to see the coach no matter how good he might be.

    In order to garner more interest, the game has to become less predictable. That long streak of winning, whe good for UCONN, was bad for the womens game. It suggested a lack of parity in the womens game as much as it did dominance by UCONN.

    You have to create some competitive rivalries like Tennessee used to be and ND has become. The games have to be exciting, not 40 point blowouts.

  6. Bracchus

    Well, no one pays to see the coach no matter how good he might be.

    In order to garner more interest, the game has to become less predictable. That long streak of winning, whe good for UCONN, was bad for the womens game. It suggested a lack of parity in the womens game as much as it did dominance by UCONN.

    You have to create some competitive rivalries like Tennessee used to be and ND has become. The games have to be exciting, not 40 point blowouts.

    Then you have the basketball elitists who simply think the womens game is inferior.

  7. ray-ray

    GREAT win by huskies——they clobbered a team from the mecca of college basketball–idaho.its a appetizer for the next big dissappointment

  8. mike mcmanus

    There’s nothing I enjoy more than idiotic statements from anonymous people who have an axe to grind. Time to cancel this blog John or find a way to manage the malcontents!

    1. Malcontent

      Mike McManus I respect you and appreciate your comments, even if I don’t agree with them.
      I shall never call you names or insult you.
      But there are people on this blog who make a living nit picking each offering and calling names (Troll, stupid, and more) that have just gone too far too often.
      The only way to handle him is to retaliate in kind.
      I want a kinder gentler blog where an OPINION is just that an OPINION, just what I or you think–we have the right to be wrong.
      But not for ONE or two–who troll this blog looking do dismember every word written.
      I am a true Uconn fan, but I don’t always agree with Geno. I see mistakes.
      So there you are MIke—stop the madness an let everyones opinion be offered as an opinion and not dismembered word by word.

      1. Tony C

        Very well said Malcontent, What kind of blog would this be if everything was one sided by people thinking exactly alike? That would be like talking about the weather. These holier than thou posters just don’t get that they are the cause of this blog getting the way it is. This “my way or the highway” attitude is the true insanity.

  9. Fairfield County Fan

    I agree with Mike – cancel it John….no longer interesting for those of us interested in a dialogue about the Huskies.

    btw – I was at the game on Sat. and I can’t believe the posted attendance numbers are accurate – looked like there were a lot more than that!

  10. Expectations

    Geno expect too much from fans. Fans second guess. Fans discuss losses until they are sickening.
    Real fans don’t expect an NC this year.
    Real fans want what the team has to give.
    We love these ladies win, lose or draw

    1. JUSTME

      Quote from Geno in today’s Courant “The wins just become numbers.Right now the only thing that matters at Uconn is “are you going to win the national championship?” The fact that we’ve won 30 games 18 out of the last 20 years, well, I don’t think anyone gives a darn about that.”

Comments are closed.