Dec. 3, 2012
UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma
On the toughness UConn exhibited against Maryland:
“It’s always good to win a game when you don’t shoot the ball very well and your struggling offensively and some of the younger guys are struggling a little bit; while Bria [Hartley] is not 100%, so to win a game like that is really a good sign for us.
On Kelly Faris’ defense and its effect on the game:
“I’ve said this a hundred times that’s why I’m always amazed at the BIG EAST coaches that they never vote her for anything. So, they are stuck with the guys they have and they have the record they have, and we have the record we have because we have her. It’s a great example of how somebody can dominate a game and take six shots. I thought Kelly completely dominated the game, she dominated the entire game and she defended Alyssa Thomas as well as anybody can be defended. She has an impact that goes beyond the stat sheet. When you look at the stat sheet there is a whole bunch of stuff in there, but her impact is greater than that, it’s just amazing. If you watch her closely on film watch for how many things she does to impact the game, some never show up on the stat sheet, she’s just an incredible athlete and an amazing player.”
On Kelly Faris raising her intensity, as the physicality of tonight’s game increased:
“Kelly has been like that since her freshman year and she’s only gotten better and better. The difficulty we had scoring, I think she helped us alleviate some of that pressure just by putting herself on the floor and getting to the basket and getting out a couple of times on the break. And I know she was dead tired, she played 35 minutes I think…34 minutes…I can’t believe I had her out there that long. There is not much that I can say to describe her that would be accurate in my description.”
On the serious of events when Maryland was within seven and Banks steps up and hits a three, shortly followed by Bria’s great play and how it was key to giving UConn the distanced needed in this game:
“The three came from an unusual shooter, Brianna Banks. Last year she made three total the whole year and I think she’s got nine already. She’s just shot the ball with a lot of confidence and when she shot it I can tell that she thought it was going in. We finally got the game going the way we wanted it to go, but it took a long time for it to go that way. It’s hard to get into any kind of full court pressure when you’re not scoring, and you are always running back on defense. There was a three or four minute spurt there that I thought we had the game going the way we wanted it to go. That was a huge play by Bria. She seems to always be in the middle of things like that; she only made one shot, but that was a big one tonight. That’s a good sign too, when things are going that great and you’re not flowing too smoothly on the offensive end, but when it’s time to make a play you make the play.”
On how UConn responded in a physical game:
“From a coach’s standpoint you kind of know who your tough guys are and you know the guys who are going to be affected by it. It was good for them to see it. The coaching staff, we know who’s going to do what when the punches start flying and we want the other guys to step up and be like that. We have it on film now so they can see it for themselves; it came at a great time this kind of game, at a great time for us.”
Senior Guard Kelly Faris
On her role as a senior leader:
“I need to keep everyone calm and set the tone. We have to keep it even keeled. The second my teammates see me flustered, or any other upper classmen for that matter, it’s not a good sign. So, they feed off of us and we feed off of them but we have to set the tone and play our game. We can’t let the other team make us play their game.”
On playing a tough opponent:
“I think defensively we responded pretty well but offensively they sped us up a little bit and that’s something that we need to continue to work on”
Freshmen Forward Breanna Stewart
On team response to a physical game:
“I think we could always respond better but it’s something we were prepared for. Coach was talking about coming back and having a really strong practice these next two days and preparing for teams to be physical because that’s what they’re going to do a lot.”
On what she learned tonight:
“I learned to embrace the physical play because we’re going to see it a lot and I just need to always embrace the contact and get used to it. That starts at practice with the practice players.”
On if Maryland caught the team off guard:
“No, I knew they were going to be physical just from the scouting report. But I was just a little slow getting into the groove of things which is obviously something that I can’t do.”
Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese
“I love the fact that there’s no quit in this team [battling through] a lot of adversity. We worked defensively, we scratched, we clawed, we did everything we can. I thought we forced Connecticut into some difficult plays on the offensive end and showed just a ton of heart. Obviously, Chloe [Pavlech] as a freshman to come in to an environment like this and play the way she did and obviously Tianna [Hawkins] was spectacular. That’s what you’ve got to be able to have. As we continue with this team, we’re adjusting to a new point guard, adjusting to a new two guard. Connecticut is a tremendous team; the depth, the talent, they’re so aggressive on the glass and in the paint.”
Is it difficult playing shorthanded due to injuries?
“I think that if you’re going to be consistent as a team, defensively you can bring it every single night. I think that is what this team is able to see with the win that we had at Nebraska and then be able to come in, with the firepower that Connecticut has and be able to work through the progressions, I thought was a positive thing for us.”
What can you say about the ability of players to step up when needed?
“We’ve got great kids in this locker room. It’s fun. They’re coachable, they love to be challenged and you see that they play for each other. It’s a long season. We’re going to be tested with a lot of adversity. Our numbers are thin, but as long as we can continue with this workman-like mentality and just come out and leave everything out on the floor, it will be a really good season for us.?
What was your mentality coming into this game?
“Honestly, at first I was really nervous, but I just wanted to play for my teammates. At the end of the day, they just give me so much confidence.”
Were you proud of the way the team played today?
“Absolutely. You could just tell on our faces, we were not disappointed in the way we played. We’re the first team to actually give UConn a game. They’ve played 10 players all year and they shortened their bench to six. So I’m absolutely proud of my team.”
What about UConn’s defense made things difficult?
“I think it was just myself; just in my head and over-amped. They didn’t do anything that we haven’t seen all year. It just came down to us hitting shots.”