UConn women’s notebook: It’s not a rematch for Geno
Published 11:32 pm, Monday, March 27, 2017
REMATCH?: With their win over Oregon, UConn set up a rematch in Friday’s Final Four with Mississippi State, a team they beat by 60 points last year in the Sweet 16.
Just don’t tell Geno Auriemma it’s a rematch.
Behind 41 points from guard Morgan William, the Bulldogs bested Baylor 94-85 in overtime on Sunday to win the Oklahoma City Regional.
“That’s not the same Mississippi State team we played last year,” the UConn coach said. “That’s a whole different team. They have a lot of the same players, but that’s a whole different team. They looked amazing last night [against Baylor]. Going into the NCAA Tournament, I thought Baylor had the best chance of winning based on if you check all the boxes and say, ‘Here’s what you need to win. … We’re playing the same team we played last year in the regionals, but we’re not playing the same team. I think Vic [Schaefer] should have been Coach of the Year.”
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE: On a night when Oregon needed to play its best game of the year against UConn, the Ducks struggled against the Huskies and their frenetic defense.
Oregon committed 22 turnovers compared to only six for UConn. It proved to be a self-destructive statistic for the Ducks.
The Huskies scored 32 points off Oregon turnovers to put the game away.
“They were pressuring us. They were denying us all the passing lanes,” said Oregon guard Maite Cazorla, who had six of those fateful turnovers. “I think it was just our mistake. We didn’t come to get the ball. We just were standing there waiting for the ball to come to us. I think it was the pressure.”
PROVING THEM WRONG: After UConn rolled to its fourth straight national title last year, there were some questions about whether the Huskies could maintain their lofty status without All-Americans Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck.
The Huskies (36-0) answered them by returning to the Final Four for the 10th straight season.
“I couldn’t be happier for this group,” Auriemma said. “They had a lot of question marks going the season, and maybe they didn’t have any in their own minds. Everybody else did, including me. But they seem to have answered every single one of those questions.”
“Obviously this is a special one for us,” added junior guard Kia Nurse. “For us to be in this position when people didn’t think we were going to be … it’s a good feeling.”