UConn prevails in sloppy game at XL
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 22:02
From the time the ball was thrown in the air for the opening tip to the time the final buzzer finally sounded, sloppiness reigned supreme in the XL Center.
For a good portion of 40 minutes, and all of the first 20, the UConn women’s basketball team and the Pittsburgh Panthers looked to do just about everything they could to make the game more and more ugly.
There were missed layups, passes that hit off the backboard, kick-balls and players haphazardly falling all over the court and each other.
The Huskies still prevailed, 76-36, but they struggled to pass the “eye test” on Tuesday night.
“I think it was a little choppy,” freshman Breanna Stewart said. “There was times where things were going very well and then at the same time things weren’t going well, and I think we just – I mean obviously when you come out and your shots aren’t falling it’s a little harder to get into the flow of things – but I think there was a point in the second half where things really started going well for us.”
Stewart did not believe that playing against a Pittsburgh team that has not won a game since Jan. 2, and has not won a regular season Big East game since Feb. 2011, had anything to do with her team’s early sloppiness. Coach Geno Auriemma admitted that games against struggling opponents can sometimes be difficult to prepare for.
“Hopefully, one thing we try to teach our teams is that you’ve got to play the same way no matter who you play against even though it is hard,” Auriemma said.
Breanna Stewart Continues Comeback
After struggling for much of the month of February, Stewart is slowly getting back on track.
Her 15 points Tuesday and 16 points this past Saturday against Seton Hall marked two straight games in which she scored double-digit points – the first time she’s done so since Jan. 26 and Jan. 29 against Cincinnati and Villanova, respectively.
“When the game got away from her, she stopped being aggressive, she started being tentative with the ball and just settling for jump shots outside the arc,” Auriemma said. “I think the last couple games she’s gotten more involved and more different places at both ends of the floor. And I think she feels a lot better about herself now and hopefully that will carry over into the weekend.”
Stewart’s four blocks and four assists were good indicators of her becoming more aggressive on both sides of the ball, and were the best numbers she’s posted in those categories since Jan. 5 and Nov. 24, respectfully.
Faris four rebounds shy of milestone
Senior guard Kelly Faris will enter the final weekend of Big East play just four rebounds shy of 750 for her career.
When she eventually grabs No. 750, Faris will enter a group that has seen only one other UConn player reach the milestone.
Only Maya Moore has ever scored 1,000 career points, to go with 750 boards, 500 assists and 250 steals. Faris will be the second.
Despite the fact that she is so close to being indelibly linked with one of the best players in program history, Faris – true to form – has remained level-headed and somewhat dismissive of personal statistics.
“I know you want me to say a whole lot about it and be all excited about it,” Faris said to reporters when asked about the milestone. “But I don’t know, it’s hard for me to get excited about statistics and stuff. For me, that’s just how I know it to be – that it’s not necessarily what shows on paper – so I’ve never really focused on that.”
Still, Faris says that she appreciates that people are acknowledging her efforts, even if she won’t get too excited about them herself.
“Hey, I’ll take being in the same conversation with Maya Moore,” Faris said.