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The Women’s Beat with Bob Joyce

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The Upsets Continue ! – Well here we are, 23 hours after a talented, athletic and veteran St. John’s team ended all sorts of ridiculous home streaks by the UConn Women at Gampel Pavilion. It was another upset in what has become a slew of them in February. The only two that have avoided them are Baylor (almost lost yesterday to Texas Tech) and Stanford (Pac 12 is AWFUL !, except the Cardinal). And as I said after Texas A&M won it all last year, it’s good for the Women’s Game.

With West Virginia stunning Notre Dame in South Bend and last night Red Storm win over UConn, it would seem that the Big East Tournament Final is not a stone cold lock of Huskies – Irish. The possible surprises all have one thing in common. PHYSICAL DEFENSE. Louisville got physical on UConn and sagged off Kelly Faris and they almost came back two weeks ago. St. John’s had a week to prepare for UConn, did the same thing, bottled up Tiffany Hayes ability to get inside and made the Huskies pay for their turnovers to the tune of 20 points. They controlled the pace, everyone seemed to make a key play at some point and Shennika Smith, who hadn’t hit a three in a  month, hit a dagger 3 in the closing seconds. Geno Auriemma called it “The Perfect Storm.”  How fitting.

The Red Storm now sits alone in third, but still have West Virginia & Georgetown left to play. If they win out and UConn loses one more game (say to ND), UConn finishes third in the Big East. And Kim Barnes Arico is the Big East Coach of the Year. Experienced Guards, a senior post player and they grind it out. A year later than I thought, but they could be a surprise in the Postseason. And they better be ranked this week….They beaten Rutgers twice and now their signature win over the Huskies.

How UConn responds will be interesting. They play the two youngest teams in the league in winless  Pitt and Marquette this week before Showdown # 2 with the Irish. And their might be some changes…Like perhaps Kia Stokes starting in place of Stephanie Dolson. I’m sure you’ve read by now Geno’s postgame quotes from last night on his disappointment of the post play this season. Sure there are plenty of reasons why. But it’s funny how Stokes produced last night after Dolson again picked up two quick fouls in the first half. We’ll see…Here’s a nugget to keep an eye on, Bria Hartley was 0-4 from 3 last night (including the last shot)..She’s 7/39 from 3 the last  7 games. That’s 18%..OUCH !  And in reality, she didn’t need to shoot a three last night. On Keleena Mosqueda’s, pass Bria had to reach in front of her to catch. She stepped back to shoot..Part of the deliema in basketball. The lost art of the mid range jumper. One common denominator of the three losses would be points of turnovers..29 v ND, 22 at Baylor and 20 last night. If UConn is to contend Monday, the Big East Tournament and NCAA’s that has to change…question is…is it too late to fix ??

Don’t forget, Kara & I are in the Steel City Tuesday at the Pete for the Huskies & Panthers..6:30 on the radio..Hope you can join us :)

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