Return of the “Blue” Collar Huskies – It’s the first basketball free weekend since New Years Weekend for both UConn Teams. The Women with a much brighter view of things after their run thru the Big East Tournament where they exorcised two of their losses in beating St. John’s and Notre Dame. They did it with a renewed energy, great defense and the heart that Geno Auriemma wants, but also expects. Because no matter how good his teams have been in the past, out working the opponent has always been a UConn trademark.
They were able to get turnovers and run against the Red Storm where the tables were turned in the points off turnover dept as the Huskies had 27. As for round three with the Irish, it was tough, physical and most importantly, UConn punched back. When it looked as if Notre Dame was about to take control, Geno called time, brought Kaleena Mosqueda Lewis back in and the Irish went back from Zone to man…The later backfired as KML was terrific in earning MOP honors. That’s not to say Brittany Mallory wasn’t physical with her. A 5th year senior on an 18y old..Not fair ? you’re right..she couldn’t stop Mosqueda Lewis..And it didn’t hurt that the Irish shot a season low 32%. Natalie Novosel 2-13 and fouled out..And by the time Skylar Diggins got out of her shooting funk, the game was over.
Bria Hartley 3 pt shooting woes are well documented over the last month. To her credit, she has found other ways including that penetration pull up 12-17 ft jumper that’s become effective. None more so than Tuesday Night with 9-14 shooting “inside” the arc. And then there is Kelly Faris. Here’s a young lady who makes fun of her own shot and she pulls two big three point daggers in the 2nd half against the Irish. Obviously it’s not how many, it’s when. Stephanie Dolson was huge with 9 boards and good screens for her teammates. And if you listened to CD on the postgame, she was very happy with the way Caroline Doty ran the offense. All good signs heading into the NCAA’s. If they play the way they did in the Big East Tourney, this team is a Final Four Team at least. But as we know, consistency is the key. Geno Auriemma has said all along it’s hard to depend on someone each and every game these days.
Speaking of the head coach, check out Rich Elliott’s blog at ctpost.com on thoughts from others on Geno’s 800th win. Especially thoughts from Mrs. A and DePaul Coach Doug Bruno. You might be surprised. As far as the tournament in concerned, we know Bridgeport and Kingston are the road the Huskies will take to Denver if it’s in the cards. Who’ll be the #2 ? Miami, Duke, Kentucky OR might the Lady Vols be making a trip to URI ? We’ll know Monday Night with our Selection Special from 7-9pm. Joe D’ at the studio, I’ll be in Storrs..
And if you’re going to Bridgeport, the Saturday Games St. Patrick’s Day are at 11am and 1:30pm…Talk about some Day Ball !! I’ll be back next week with some thoughts on the brackets on Tuesday….Enjoy your weekend !