One Rebound Away – Geno Auriemma most would say did his best coaching job in years getting this group of Huskies back to the Final Four for a 5th straight season. He’s honest with his players and in the final seconds of regulation, he admitted he may have cost his team a shot to play in the National Championship game. Instead of leaving Kia Stokes in, he went to the five guard set w Caroline Doty back in…She in reality took a charge on Skylar Diggins, but Natalie Novosel got inside position on Kaleena Mosqueda Lewis and tied the game with a putback. And we know how the rest went.
The fact that UConn was even in position to win was amazing. Notre Dame got sloppy in the last 2:50 and Kelly Faris nearly stole the game from the Irish. But the one thing missing from UConn was a home run hitter, Notre Dame has a few…No play bigger in OT than up 1, ND turned it over, UConn had a two on one which Diggins blocked Bria Hartley’s attempt, got the rebound and then dished off to Brittany Mallory for a dagger 3 that sent the Irish on their way.
The numbers say it all. UConn made 2 more FG’s, but ND won 20-10 at the line. ND’s 20pt off turnovers to 15 for UC and even though UConn ended w more 2nd chance points 20-17, the last two proved most costly. The sophomores carried UConn. Stephanie Dolson, despite foul trouble was determined to carry this team. 20-9r helped as did 18 for Bria Hartley, who became the third sophomore to get 1,000pts at UConn. Kelly Faris did all she could to make up for her play in the last 3 minutes. Then there is Tiffany Hayes & Caroline Doty. Doty only took two shots and didn’t score. But to her credit, did not commit a turnover. Of the 21 UConn did make, 15 were by Dolson, Hartley and Tiffany Hayes. Tiff’s final game 4-11, 10 pt, 7 reb, 6 to, 5 steals…If she only could have done more offensively. Sounds like a familiar theme the last two years. Turns out, she may have ever had the ability to be the go to girl in the big spot. But 1800pt 2 NC and 4 final fours not too shabby.
And Geno also left Denver saying his team would be in New Orleans next April. I tend to agree on that one. In fact, it could be 9-10 straight Final Fours before all is said and done. The Huskies lose Hayes and that’s it. They and Baylor will be the top 2 teams when we begin again next November. Notre Dame will be good, but realistically, the time is now…But Baylor looms large Tuesday night.
When we return home, I’ll gather my thoughts and present the report card to the 2011-12 season…Thanks for another fun ride, hope you all enjoyed it :)