Jan. 19, 2012
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Connecticut Head Coach Geno Auriemma
“When we stopped standing around, trying to force the ball into the post, we started to get some movement. That gave us an opportunity to rebound offensively a little bit more and get more people involved in our offense. I thought Cincinnati did a really good job handling the pressure. They didn’t have some of the problems other teams have had. Defensively, they make it very difficult for you to generate any offense inside the lane.”
What was the biggest difference in the team’s first half run?
“I don’t know if there was any one thing. I just thought that we took advantage of a lot of missed shots and got out in transition more, scoring before they had a chance to get their defense set up. When they get their defense set they’re pretty good, but we caught them a bunch of times in transition and we started making shots. I think we were just so pass oriented the first 10 minutes of the game and then we started shooting the ball.”
Do you think Kelly Faris has emerged as the vocal leader of the team?
“I don’t think she’s doing anything different right now. I think [based on] maturity and this being her third year here, things just naturally happen. Kelly is still the same. She hasn’t done anything different, but she will voice her opinion. She’s never going to be the kind [of player] who is the most demonstrative and the most talkative. When we’re on defense, she is like that. She is always demonstrative and talkative.”
Junior Guard Kelly Faris
On making effort plays:
“I think at the beginning we were slacking in that area. I think Cincinnati was out hustling us on loose balls. Then we kind of picked it up a little bit. Those are the things that give this team momentum. We definitely feed off of those things as a team and as a group. We get a steal or a bucket, so those are what drive our offense.”
On establishing inside game:
“Obviously we have done too much outside, too much inside, so we’re trying to get back and forth where we do a little bit of both. The thing we have to work on is on the outside perimeter, not standing around, which we did a lot of tonight. Stefanie did a great job on the inside.”
On team being in sync:
“We still have some stuff to work on. I think we have gotten better. I think we have improved, but when you look at Monday night to tonight there was obviously a huge different. The whole consistency thing I keep bringing up, that’s our biggest issue right now and constantly taking a step forward. I think we definitely have improved and gotten better, but we still have stuff to work on.”
Senior Guard Tiffany Hayes
On going over 1500 career points tonight:
“I didn’t even know until you just told me. That is a plus, and I’m grateful to be on that list with all those great players, but definitely have to continue to focus on the season.”
On being where she wants at this point in the season:
“It’s coming along. I think the consistency is there, but at the same time we have to get better. I think all of us had a couple turnovers today, and we could’ve gotten more rebounds but we can always get better.”
On shutting down there top player:
“Coach came in and said one of their players had 15. Once we knew that we had to start shutting everybody down, but especially her because she was their main threat. So when we went out there we had to make sure she wasn’t getting anymore looks.”
Sophomore Center Stefanie Dolson
On establishing the inside game tonight:
“I think that helped a lot. It got our momentum back, we took advantage of our size advantage inside. We did a better job of it in the second half. I think we were running our offense better too. The first half we weren’t really cohesive or flowing on offense. We did a better job of executing.”
Was coach talking to you during the timeouts about motion on offense?
“Absolutely. He was telling us to focus on moving without the ball. We had the guards kind of standing and staring at the post when the defense collapsed. He was telling us to move without the ball and to screen better for each other and get the ball inside.”
What do you contribute to the rather slow start? The score was 17-13 at one point and their top player had the first 13 points.
“Lack of focus I guess. I don’t think we came out really ready for the game which is disappointing to say at this point of the season. We are still getting better at our focus of coming out and playing each team like it’s the championship game. I think we came out not really focused. Not doing all the little things right, but we did a better job of it in the second half.”
On the team’s ability to get offensive rebounds and steals and turning them into points:
“We’ve been working on it a lot in practice, at rebounding and keeping the ball high and putting it in off the glass. I think we did a great job offensive rebounding tonight, crashing the boards hard. Stealing… the guards did a great job of pressuring them and getting into the passing lanes and anticipating passes.”
On Kelly Faris taking a leadership role:
“Kelly’s done such a much better job of talking, getting the team more energized during practices or warm-ups before a game. You can definitely see a difference in Kelly from last year to this year. She’s more vocal in leading the team. Telling people what they need to do if they aren’t doing it.”
Cincinnati Head Coach Jamelle Elliott
Can you talk about UConn’s defense and how much pressure they put on you with the four guard lineup?
“That was our game plan going in, to attack their pressure. I thought we attacked their pressure pretty well in the backcourt. We got the ball across half court pretty good, but the problem was once we got across half court. That’s how they design it – if they can’t get a steal in the backcourt, make sure there are only eight or nine seconds on the shot clock and then you have to hurry up a shot. They probably forced that on us more so than us turning the ball over in the backcourt…I haven’t seen them press this well since I’ve been around them. Watching tape on them, I thought their pressure really allowed them to control the game early on and really win the game in the first five minutes with the pressure.”
Can you talk about the last three games that your team has been through?
“Well, it only gets easier from here, I hope. Playing the No. 10 team in the country at Rutgers and having Notre Dame at home and then coming here to play UConn, I don’t think it gets much tougher than that in the conference. I was prepared for it. I told my team before this three game stretch that we need to come out of this game with our confidence intact and every day after the games I want to be able to write some things on the board that I felt like we could get better at as a team. So far, I think pretty much our confidence is still intact and every game I’ve been able to write something on the board that we are getting better at. Today, I thought our transition defense was pretty good against a team that really, really looks to get out and run.”
How much better has Bria Hartley gotten since last year?
“Well, a year of experience does a lot. Her being the type of player she was last year, this year she is even better. One of the things that I noticed is that when they do press, she gets out in front of that press and open court in front of everybody. She didn’t do that much against us today, but she runs the floor like a deer on offense. She really gets out in the lane and is the first one down the court for easy layups. I don’t know if her release has gotten even quicker on her 3-point shot but she’s really getting her 3-point shot off and shooting it with confidence. She leading the team in scoring and I’m looking forward to playing against her the next two years.”