Dec. 29, 2011
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UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma
Were you satisfied how successful the team was at getting the ball to Stefanie Dolson in the post early in the game:
“We had talked during the week about being a more well-balanced team. We’ve talked a lot about that this year. We were hoping that if we got 60 shots, one-third of them would come in the lane. Early on, I thought we almost went overboard. We were just staring at Stefanie [Dolson] the whole shot clock waiting for her to get open. [Post play] and rebounding were the two things we’ve talked about most since we got back from Christmas break.”
Did you see a major difference in Dolson’s aggressiveness tonight?
“She has been struggling a little bit. She’s a pretty prideful kid and wants to be good. Obviously, Fairfield doesn’t have a kid big enough to handle her one-on-one, but I thought she did a pretty good job of getting herself to the spots where she wants the ball. We have to keep doing a better job of getting her the ball in those spots. Sometimes we don’t pass the ball very well into the post.”
Do you see any potential for getting help inside from somewhere on your roster?
“I think we had opportunities today, and in other games, where Kelly [Faris], Tiffany [Hayes] or Kaleena [Mosqueda-Lewis] do a pretty good job of getting themselves in the lane to post up. If we could get them in [the post] more often and let them mix it up, screen and make switches that could go a long way.”
Senior Guard Tiffany Hayes
How pleased were you with the way Stephanie Dolson played tonight?
“Very pleased. She was having a tough time lately and it was good to see her come out in this game, right away make all the lay ups, get good looks and make good passes.”
How different of a team are you when Stephanie has is playing like that inside?
“We’re a very different team. We can either get it in to her and she scores, she can make a great pass, or knock down shots.”
How anxious were you to play another game after an eight day break, especially after that last game?
“That wasn’t how we wanted it to end before Christmas. So we had to come back and have a good couple practices. We definitely were eager to get back out there. I’m just glad it was a good turn out.”
Sophomore Center Stephanie Dolson
On her performance tonight:
“I’m definitely pleased with the way I played. I think I demanded the ball a lot more inside. I finished pretty well tonight. The guards did a great job of getting me the ball. There was a few mishaps, miscommunications, but I think we are doing a lot better job of getting a balance of getting the ball inside and getting shots outside.”
You had 16 of the first 18 points tonight, how did it feel to start off that way?
“The way I’ve been playing lately, to get the first few points like that, it definitely feels good. But, I give most credit to the guards for getting me the ball inside. They did a really great job of looking for me inside today.”
Fairfield Head Coach Joe Frager
“It was an interesting experience for our kids, to play in front of a crowd like that. Our crowds typically are about 2,000, so to play in front of this kind of crowd, half of my concern coming into this game was the deer in the headlights look that a lot of teams get when they come in here. We had that for maybe the first couple of minutes, but then we settled down and got a couple of shots to go down. We did our best for 40 minutes. We battled. They are an exceptional team. No one plays any harder, no one is as well coached as they are.”
What positives do you take out of this going into the MAAC?
“What we just talked about in the locker room was on those possessions where we really did execute and did a good job running our stuff, we got good looks at the basket. When we ran our sets, we got some good looks. I think in the second half we got a little fatigued, not only physically but mentally. They put so much pressure on you mentally. We had some defensive breakdowns in the second half that we’ll look at on tape and go ‘How did that happen?’. They just wear you down, especially on the back cuts. Those were fatigue mistakes. Our kids handled most of the post game talk in the locker room. They identified a lot of the things that we can do better. The thing they came away impressed with watching UConn play were the intangibles, just how hard this team played, irregardless of the score and the fact that they seemed to get every loose ball.”
Was (Stefanie) Dolson just too big for you guys inside?
“Oh my gosh yes. Our coaching staff kept saying, ‘Don’t let Dolson get two feet in the paint,’ and they were looking at me like, ‘Coach, we’re really trying. I’m throwing my 160 at her and it’s not doing anything.’ She’s improved tremendously. She’s gotten herself into much better physical shape than when she first came in, and her footwork has gotten so much better. She’s tough inside. She was far too tough for us tonight.”