Auriemma dismayed by UConn women's basketball's reaction to UCF's physical style of play

Published on Wednesday, 10 January 2018 18:21
Written by CARL ADAMEC

JOURNAL INQUIRER

STORRS - Geno Auriemma is the first to defend his players on the UConn women’s basketball team when it comes to dealing with the referees.

But the Hall of Fame coach had no issues with Dee Kantner, Bryan Enterline, and Kevin Pethtel following No. 1 UConn’s 80-44 American Athletic Conference win over Central Florida at Gampel Pavilion Tuesday night. Instead, he saved his best sarcasm for his players, who did not deal with UCF’s physical style well.

“The first half offensively we had a chip on our shoulder toward the officials,” Auriemma said. “Our players didn’t think the officials did a good enough job of helping the UConn players look really, really good. I think some players on our team think it is the officials’ job to help them be really good.”

“As you noticed in the first half, we’re incapable of making a bucket when somebody touches us. We’re incapable of making a layup if there happens to be anyone else in the lane with us. I’m sending out word to the supervisor of officials to have them tell the officials that they didn’t get the memo. According to my players, a couple of them, their job is to make sure the UConn players are not defended, nobody gets in their way, nobody tries to block their shots and if they do the officials are supposed to tell them that is not allowed.”

With a 32-19 lead, UConn did not return to the court from the 15-minute halftime break until 20 seconds remained on the clock. It didn’t matter as the Huskies shot 63.3 percent over the final 20 minutes to get to 50.0 percent for the game.

Auriemma’s message was straightforward.

“We can’t go out there and be a bunch of girls,” UConn guard Crystal Dangerfield said. “We can’t be whining if a call is missed or anything like that. We have to go out there and play. We have to play harder and smarter. When a team is that aggressive, you have more areas to beat them, but we weren’t playing to those strengths. We were playing kind of the way they wanted us to play.

“If somebody says ‘Boo!’ on a layup we were kind of missing them. We were barely being touched and we were looking for fouls to be bailed out. We have to be the ones to initiate contact and go through and finish.”

UCONN NOTEBOOK

Auriemma said again there was no update on the status of freshman guard Andra Espinoza-Hunter, who missed her fifth consecutive game while dealing with personal issues. “We’re going to try and get a resolution to this in the next day or so,” he said. … The Huskies improved to 60-0 against teams that have one of Auriemma’s former players or assistant coaches on their staff. Nykesha Sales, who graduated as UConn’s all-time leading scorer in 1998, is in her second season as a UCF assistant.



Posted in The Bristol Press, UConn on Wednesday, 10 January 2018 18:21. Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2018 18:23.