Feb. 11, 2012
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UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma
Did you like the way Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis responded tonight?
“Yeah, I think at some point when you’re a really good player and a really good shooter, at some point if you keep shooting, they’re gonna go in. You just can’t stop and be tentative. You can’t all of a sudden start to doubt and question yourself. If you can do that, then eventually it’ll come back. It’s one day. I’m glad we are playing again on Monday because it gives her another opportunity quickly to kind of add to that. More importantly, the offensive rebounds that she stuck back in, the drive to the basket, she played really good defense. There are a lot of things that she did other than make shots that I was hoping she’d do.”
You worked really hard with Maya Moore at getting to the basket, is it something with good high school scorers that they think they can do it all from the perimeter?
“Well, the worst thing that can ever happen to a player is that they make shots as a young kid. An 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 year old kid who makes shots from all over the place it’s like, “why should I drive in there and get my brains beat out?”. So they don’t go in there. They just stand outside and shoot it. To me, eventually that’s going to catch up to you. She’s got a great right hand, great left hand, that little running left-hander she had today. She’s a great free throw shooter. It was a struggle to try and get Maya to go to the basket. Her senior year she shot more free throws, but I told her, “I don’t want you to be known as just a great shooter. I want you to be known as a great basketball player.”
How pleased were you with the way you started the second half?
“I thought the first half was… I don’t even know the word for it. We’d go on a little run, then stand around for a bit… go on a run, stand around for a bit. We were playing great defense, so we should have been in great shape at half time. We were too tentative and we were too, I don’t know, hesitant. We came out for the second half and there was none of that. Same kids, same everything, but none of that. We came out and attacked them the first 6-7 minutes of the first half. That was the game right there.”
Where does that aggressiveness come from? If they could just do it when you said to be more aggressive, they’d be more aggressive.
“Well actually they wouldn’t be if I said be more aggressive (laughing). I wasn’t overly thrilled at halftime. I’m too old now to yell and scream and do the stuff I used to do but every once in a while I still have it in me. I don’t do it very often. What upset me was some of the mental things that we do. At this time of year, that’s really where the game is now. This time of year and the next month, you want to be really sharp. The second half, mentally, we were really sharp. We didn’t make a lot of mistakes. We didn’t turn the ball over. We got the ball to the right people at the right time. That to me Is what good teams do at this time of year.”
The top-three scorers in the league have shot poorly against UConn. Is that what this program hangs it’s hat on, that you know what the other team is trying to do and you don’t let them do what they’re comfortable doing?
“The kids that we have on our team take it personally and they take it very serious. If we say, “hey we gotta do this, this and this”, they listen and they try to do it. I don’t think there’s been more than once or twice where I’ve come in and questioned our team’s effort or our team’s intensity level or our willingness to outwork people. Maybe that’s why our defense is where it is right now. If you’re gonna go out there and think you’re gonna get your average against Kelly Faris, you got another thing coming. It’s not gonna happen.
“It can’t just be Kelly against the best player, it can’t be. It’s kind of like, she softens them up, gets them tired, then we bring in the other guys and Kaleena loves the challenge. Tiffany is rising to the challenge. We’ve got a bunch of players. You see Briana Banks out there. Usually Briana Banks is a poster girl for what a defensive player should look like. She’s out there in her stance. She’s got her arms out, her knees bent, she’s ready and she’s got the game face on and she’s got you… then when the guy dribbles, they go right by her. She’s like the guy in Indiana Jones where the guy’s doing his whole thing, and Indiana is watching… then he just shoots him. That’s Briana. Even she was playing though tonight.”
Junior Guard Kelly Faris
On first half issues:
“It’s just our mentality, the mental part of it. Coach keeps saying it’s never about the effort with us or getting out every game and putting everything out on the floor. It’s more about us comprehending what he is saying and executing. So that probably our difference in the second half and we came out mentally ready.”
On impacting the game with only one shot taken:
“It’s something I will continue to work on, but for me I have to make sure I take the right ones. Obviously I am not a Kaleena or any of the other players who hit almost every shot they take. I tried tonight to drive to the basket and kick out, draw their defenders. Like I said I have to know when the right choices for me to take the shot are. I think I did alright tonight with the choices I made.”
Sophomore guard Bria Hartley
On taking pride in 99 straight home wins:
“We just go out and play. No matter who we are playing we just make sure we go out and play hard and we hope to win every night.”
On getting into a rhythm in the middle of the game:
“We all got on the same page and talked to each other and made sure we were cutting hard and taking care of the ball.”
On physicality between the teams:
“When we play them it is always a physical game. It’s a battle, and we know we have to go out there and play hard, play smart and be tough the entire game.”
Georgetown Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy
What are your thoughts on what UConn did against you guys defensively today?
“I give them credit defensively, but I think mostly we were out of sync a lot offensively. The people that usually score weren’t able to score, sometimes we didn’t cut as hard as we should have and we didn’t run our plays as efficiently as we should have.”
You gave UConn three very tough games last season. What was the difference today?
“I think it’s tough to come and play here. Last year we played at our place, at the BIG EAST and then at Temple, all of which are neutral sites. I think it’s tough to come in here and play. Even as experienced as we are, it’s still a tough place to come in and play here. It’s their home court and you are supposed to defend your home court.”
On the play of Kelly Faris, who had just one shot but six rebounds and six assists:
“She reminds me Adria Crawford, who doesn’t have a lot of big numbers but she fills up the stats and does other things besides scoring.”
How much time did you plan for their defense?
“We didn’t, really. We just focused on running our offensive sets and make sure that everybody is in the right place at the right time.”