Jan. 29, 2013
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UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma
Have there been any changes over the years playing against Villanova coach Harry Perretta?
“Twenty eight years and Connecticut and one year at St. Joe’s, in all the chances I’ve had to play against Harry’s teams, it’s the same formula all the time. You need to maximize your offensive possessions. If you do; if you’re able to come down and maximize your possessions and put some points on the board, score and put pressure on their guys to make shots, that’s your best chance of competing. If you’re not taking advantage of your possessions and you’re playing catch-up against them, it’s a long-long night.”
Can Stefanie Dolson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis carry the load, offensively?
“Stefanie and Kaleena are in a really good place right now; a really good rhythm. They’re just really confident right now. Anybody that can make shots can carry us. Stefanie feels really comfortable [at the top of the key]. I don’t know that you could do a lot to not have her get that shot, because of what else is going on around her. What Kaleena does, that’s what she does all the time. Ideally, you want three scorers every night. That’s not going to happen all the time, but if you know you’re going to have two definite, you find another one somewhere.”
How were you able to maintain a 30-point lead despite a large scoring drought to end the first and start the second?
“First of all, Villanova missed a lot of shots and you can say that we had a lot to do with that; we did. Our defense has been really good all year and we played really good defense, we didn’t score for seven minutes and it didn’t hurt us, because our defense was there. We try to play a lot of different combinations, put a lot of different lineups out there and sometimes when you do that, the offense doesn’t look good. There were stretches where it didn’t look good, but there were long stretches where it looked great.”
Sophomore Forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
On playing for Coach Auriemma:
“When you come to Connecticut, you see all the players who have come out of here and what he has done with each and every one of them. I want Coach Auriemma to make me the best player I can be. That’s the reason I came to Connecticut.”
On the combination with Stefanie Dolson:
“We are trying to play off of each other right now. Lately, we’ve both been able to score points and rebound, which is even better. Right now, we’re just trying to make sure we’re consistent all the time.”
On evaluation of the team with 10 regular season games to go:
“I think things are going well for us right now. We’re still trying to find our flow, in terms of getting the subs in with no drop-off in play. I think we’re getting there. It’s getting into February, and when February comes you want to be a different team than you were in December or January. We need to make sure we’re taking steps forward.”
Junior Center Stefanie Dolson
On becoming one of the best players in the country:
“I think I’m working pretty hard at it. I’m doing as much as I can to help the team. I’m not focusing on being the best in the country, I just want to be the best team in the country. That just means me playing my best, and if that helps our team win the tournament, that’s what I have to do.”
On the importance of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis:
“It’s good to have someone inside who can finish, and then Kaleena outside who is knocking in shots. It’s just a really good combination. All-in-all we have a great starting five.”
On how the Huskies were able to speed up the game:
“I think getting stops on defense, making them take shots. I think our best offense is when we get good stops and then can get easy buckets. That really just sped them up.”
Villanova Head Coach Harry Perretta
On Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis becoming a more versatile player:
“I think she was always a versatile player, she’s just more experienced. With more experience you can do more things. That’s what I see, and that’s how I see their whole team evolve. As they get more experienced they are just passing the ball faster, they are shooting the ball more confidently.”
Is she becoming one of the best players in the country?
“It’s hard to judge today, because we aren’t Baylor, we’re not Notre Dame. But yes, she has the potential to become that level. I think she has the potential to do that, yes.”
What do you see from Stefanie Dolson?
“To me, I think it’s the biggest difference in their team that she has made herself a much better of a defender on the perimeter. Last year we took a little advantage of her with Laura (Sweeney), but today Laura couldn’t mismatch her. Once that happened, we couldn’t mismatch at any other position. As long as she does that on defense and her passing skills out of the high post are outstanding. I think last year she passed it well, but again, she’s a year older and she’s more mature.”
Was missing your first 3-point attempts from the field a key component to the game?
“For us, we have to make 10 3’s to stay with 15 points. I’m not even saying to win the game, just to stay within 15 points. My team this year, we have 16 wins, but we really aren’t that much better than we were last year. We’re a little more mature and we are winning closer games that we lost last year, but we aren’t close to making the jump to the top-5 in the country. I think we are a top-30 team, but there is a big difference between 30th and 5th, 30th and 1. They (UConn) go to Stanford and won by 30, so there is a big difference. For us, any chance we have to beat any opponent at a higher level is to make a lot of 3’s, which we didn’t do. I don’t think we missed them. I think their defense had a lot to do with it.”