Kelly Faris comes up big in UConn's win over Maryland
Looking at the stat sheet from Monday night's game, no one UConn player jumps off the page. Balance, more than anything, would seem to have been the key to the game.
But according to Coach Geno Auriemma, there was one player on the floor that controlled the game from start to finish.
"It's a great example of how somebody can dominate a game and only take six shots," Auriemma said after the win. "I thought Kelly [Faris] completely dominated the game. She dominated the entire game and she defended [Maryland junior forward] Alyssa Thomas as well as well as anybody can be defended."
Faris finished the night with eight points, eight steals, seven assists and seven rebounds without turning the ball over a single time and spent just six minutes on the bench during the game. As Auriemma put it, "I can't believe I had her out that long."
In addition to her near-quadruple-double, Faris was tasked with guarding the reigning ACC Player of the Year for most of the night. Thomas tallied just six points on 2-for-12 shooting, as Faris made it difficult for her to find space on the floor.
"She doesn't take a play off," Maryland Coach Brenda Freese said of Faris. "She continues to work defensively. Offensively, she runs you around in circles, she cuts hard. She never takes a possession off. And when you're trying to defend her, when you're trying to find her, she makes play after play."
The dominating performance was fresh off a game in which Faris racked up a season-high 17 points against Colgate.
On the season, she has shot 73.5 percent from the floor and averaged just under 10 points per game, in addition to her 18 total steals and 33 total assists.
Despite the fact that Faris often flies under the radar and is overshadowed by some of her more statistically-impressive teammates, Auriemma knows well what she means to his team.
"She has an impact that goes beyond the stat sheet," Auriemma said. "When you look at the stat sheet, there's a whole bunch of stuff in there but her impact is even greater than that. It's just amazing. If you watch it closely and you watch it on film, and you're not watching anybody else, you see how many things she does that impact the game. Some never show up on the stat sheet. She's just an incredible, incredible athlete and an amazing player."
Junior center Stefanie Dolson echoed Auriemma's sentiment, saying that if tipped balls were recorded alongside steals, Faris would probably have about 15 per game.
"Her hands are everywhere," Dolson said. "She's getting in the passing lanes and digging the ball out and she just works so hard on this team. It's something that we can all see and learn from."
"That's why I'm always amazed at the Big East coaches that none of them vote for her for anything," Auriemma said of his senior guard. "They're stuck with the guys they have and the record they have, and we have the record we have because we have her."
But Faris was a bit more modest about her performance and said she needs to keep working to improve.
"The first half, as a whole, individually, I felt pretty good about it," Faris said. "The second half, so-so; there were a few things I could have done better, but hopefully I'll just continue to build on it."
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