Notebook: Women's offense too much for Penn State
Published: Sunday, March 25, 2012
Updated: Sunday, March 25, 2012 23:03
KINGSTON, RI—To call the Huskies’ offensive attack during last night’s game balanced would be the understatement of the tournament.
Five UConn players scored in double-figures during UConn’s 77-59 win over Penn State last night and it looked like UConn’s next basket could come from anyone.
“No matter who’s open, we have confidence that they’re going to knock that shot down,” said UConn guard Bria Hartley, who led the team with 20 points on the night.
In addition to Hartley, guards Kelly Faris and Tiffany Hayes, center Stefanie Dolson and forward Kaleena Mosqueda Lewis contributed with 10 or more points.
But if there’s anything that UConn coach Geno Auriemma has made perfectly clear all season it’s that with a team that doesn’t have a primary scorer, everybody is going to have to step up. Last night, he felt like that is what his team and the scoreboard at the end of the game reflected that.
“This was one of the more complete games that we’ve played in a while,” Auriemma said. It could not have come at a better time
While it’s usually the Huskies’ defense that causes opponents to have a fit, it was the offense that gave Penn State headaches all night. The Lady Lions seemed overwhelmed by all of the open looks UConn was getting.
Penn State forward Mia Nickson said that an offense that plays so patiently is difficult to stop. The Huskies’ ball movement and quick cuts were something that she said caused the team defense to stumble about at times.
Despite the seeming oddity of a potent UConn scoring attack, the Lady Lions were expecting this all along.
“They’re a No. 1 seed for a reason,” said Penn State Coquese Washington. “They have a lot of players that can play and we respected all of them.”
Riding the Faris wheel
Earlier this season, Faris joked about the fact that she doesn’t score very often.
“Every good shooter goes through [slumps],” Faris said. “Even sometimes, somehow I can go on a streak when I actually make a shot.”
Then last night, she came out and scored 15 points. The way people were reacting, one would have thought that a twelfth man dropped 35.
“I’m not surprised that she had the game that she had,” Washington said.
Faris went 7-10 shooting on the night, snagged seven rebounds and added four assists to her score sheet.
Auriemma knows that she’s had the potential to score like that, but her play is more suited to what the opposing team is doing and most often, that means shutting down the opponent’s best scorer.
“Kelly Faris is probably the glue that holds our team together,” Mosquda Lewis said. “Kelly does all the dirty work. She gets the rebounds, she hits people at the right moment...We need Kelly out there as much as she can be out there.”
Faris had a mismatch as UConn’s fourth guard last night as what Auriemma called “the odd man out” and it was something that UConn was able to take advantage of.
But regardless of how many points she does or does not score, one thing remains certain in Auriemma’s mind. Kelly Faris is a winner.
“Kid’s lost one game in seven years in the post season, she’s pretty good.