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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Jim Clark’s Husky Report: UConn 84 v. South Florida 42

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By Jim Clark

Since I joined you last, Connecticut went on the road (for only its third road game this season) to a quick and scrappy then-12th ranked Florida State team. Coming off the exam break, the Huskies were uncharacteristically slow and sloppy for most of the first half. The Seminoles stayed in the game, and UConn led by just six at the half. In the second half, however, the Huskies turned on their A-game and drew away for a comfortable 78-59 win behind Tina Charles’ 24 points and nine boards.

The first half was as challenging as any game (other than Stanford) this season, and showed that quick teams will be a relative challenge for Connecticut. A relative challenge, not a likely win. The Huskies will almost always be able to defend themselves to victory, even when not shooting particularly well. (UConn was just 5-21 from beyond the arc for this outing.)

The next game, against Seton Hall, was another Husky blow-out win at 91-24. The Big East opener for both schools featured the real return of Lorin Dixon, who looked far more relaxed. Her quickness was way too much for Seton Hall’s very poor team. Meghan Gardler posted 16 points against minimal competition; it was Gardler’s career high and her fourth game of this season in double figures. The three-point slump may or may not be over for Moore, who was 2-2 from beyond the arc. She continues to be aggressive to the hoop, however, and Seton Hall made for yet another team who failed to guard her on the drive, leaving her to finish with 16 points. But Tiffany Hayes, who hit six in a game last season, was still shooting terribly both from long (0-2 in this game) and from the field (1-6).

Which brings us to the New Year, and the second of four games in eight days: South Florida, last year’s WNIT champs vs. UConn, NCAA champs.

First Half

Tiffany Hayes hits her first shot, and it is a three!

UConn is pressing full court, mostly with the intent to shorten the shot clock. South Florida has just 16 seconds in the front court on most possessions.

Hayes hits her second shot, another THREE and Coach Jose Fernandez calls his second timeout at 16:28 with the score 12-0.

South Florida is triple-teaming Tina Charles, and wiith UConn scoring mostly in the paint, that’s not a bad approach in theory. Except Hayes is beating them from the outside.

South Florida finally scores on a nice driving runner by Sequoyah Griffin at 15:48.

Lorin Dixon in early, and causes an immediate turnover by the Bulls.

Kelly Faris has abandoned the face mask she has worn for three games to guard her broken nose. It can’t be healed this quickly, so she is open for some serious pain.

Tiffany Hayes hits her fourth shot (4-4). It is a THREE.

Geno sits Charles, Moore, and Hayes by the 12-minute mark. Four guards and Megan Gardler remain in the game.

It’s nice to see Bob Trammel refereeing again. Unfortunately, he is partnered by whistle-happy and routinely horrible Mark Zentz, Mr. Phantom-foul. His mechanics stink, too.

9:29 : 25-6

Gardler, featured in a Jim Fuller article this morning in the New Haven Register, is doing all the little things that were expected of her for the last three years. She gets a surprising number of rebounds, often defends centers much taller than her 6’0” stature, and is even scoring more. She has become a genuine part of the Connecticut rotation, rather than a grudging necessity when the post is in foul trouble.

UConn’s shooting in general is not up to par tonight, though they hardly need it. Just 33 points at 3:20, and “just” 44 percent from the floor. They are 54 percent from the field on the season.

There’s a weird substitution pattern going on by Geno. Both the offense and the defense have stagnated. South Florida outscored Connecticut 15-10 in the last 9:29 of the half, closing with an 11-2 run. The Bulls still trail by 14, however, with the scoreboard showing 35-21 in the Huskies’ favor. No real rebounding by Connecticut leads to five Bulls’ offensive boards—and five USF second-chance points—in that period. Connecticut has eight assists and eight turnovers, four of the latter in the same portion of the game. Ugly, listless, disorganized basketball.

Significantly, Kaili McLaren does not play in the half, and there is no indication that she is injured. This almost always indicates a player who is not practicing up to UConn standards. Sad, as the senior has spent all too much time in that position. She apparently has neither the discipline to practice hard, nor to lose the 30 pounds that could make her a very good player.

Second half

The second half begins with a Mark Zentz display of the worst officiating available in the league. How does this guy continue to work? He stinks in the WNBA. And keeps working. He stinks in college. And keeps working. It is embarrassing, and the bane of women’s basketball writ large.

UConn cannot get the ball inside to either Moore or Charles.

South Florida is breaking the press more easily and getting the ball inside.

Hayes hits her fifth three of the evening. She’s 5-8 tonight. Everyone else in a Husky jersey is 0-5 from long range.

The starters outscore South Florida, 18-6, in the first six minutes of the half. Hayes has 10 of the 18. Tina Charles has four points, Moore has 12. Moore misses a three, clearly aiming the ball rather than shooting it. This is NOT a good thing for Husky fans. She seems unsure of her three, despite her success in the last game. I cannot remember her ever looking tentative when shooting before. Earlier, she missed an open four-footer.

The game is pretty much over at 61-29 with 8:43 remaining. Still ugly, still not much from Tina Charles.

Maya Moore shoots in rhythm, hits a three. Fifteen points.

Now playing: Tina Charles, with four fouls, at the high post; Heather Buck on the block.

Maya Moore hits another three, once again in rhythm. So much for tentative.

Kelly Faris is now shooting under 34 percent on the year, under 18 percent from three. Just a fact.

Heather Buck hits from 12 feet, but passes up two four-footers. SHOOT THE BALL! She’s over 67 percent when she will shoot, but that is just 13 times in 120 minutes on the floor.

Final Score: UConn 84, USF 42

The Huskies shoot 53.4 percent from the floor to 28.3 percent for the Bulls, with UConn shooting the ball much better in the second half.

After a mess like this, I apologize for leaving without waiting for quotes, but really, there is very little creative to say after a sloppy game like this.

The Huskies welcome long-time Assistant Coach Jamelle Elliott, now the first-year head coach at Cincinnati, back to campus on Thursday. On Saturday, on CBS TV, they face a challenge in No. 10 North Carolina (12-1) at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs.

Originally published Tue, January 05, 2010

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Week: February 7, 2012
1 Baylor (31) 24-0 1 1 1 775
2 Notre Dame 23-1 2 2 2 743
3 Connecticut 21-2 3 4 3 710
4 Stanford 20-1 4 5 4 685
5 Duke 19-3 6 8 5 650
6 Miami (FL) 20-3 7 7 6 604
7 Kentucky 21-3 5 15 7 584
8 Maryland 20-3 10 10 8 534
9 Wisconsin-Green Bay 20-0 9 24 9 530
10 Ohio State 21-2 11 NR-RV
10 483
11 Tennessee 17-6 8 3 11 476
12 Delaware 20-1 13 NR 12 434
13 Georgetown 18-5 15 11 14 379
14 Texas A&M 16-5 16 6 15 378
15 Nebraska 19-3 18 NR 13 309
16 Rutgers 17-4 14 12 17 372
17 Louisville 17-6 12 9 20 276
18 Gonzaga 21-3 19 NR-RV
19 234
19 Purdue 19-5 17 21 16 222
20 Georgia 18-6 20 12 21 202
21 Penn State 18-5 21 14 18 176
22 DePaul 17-7 23 18 NR-RV
23 Georgia Tech 16-6 22 NR-RV
22 104
24 South Carolina 18-5 NR-RV
NR 24 46
25 Vanderbilt 18-5 NR-RV
NR 45
Dropped Out: No. 24 North Carolina, No. 25 Kansas.
First-place votes: Total first-place votes received (if any) are indicated in parentheses following school name.
Others receiving votes: St. Bonaventure (22-2) 34; North Carolina (17-6) 19; California (17-6) 18; Florida Gulf Coast (21-2) 16; Middle Tennessee (19-5) 15; Texas-El Paso (20-2) 8; Texas Tech (16-6) 5; Brigham Young (21-4) 4; Fresno State (19-4) 4; St. John's (15-8) 4; Princeton (15-4) 3; Oklahoma (15-7) 2; West Virginia (17-6) 2; Kansas State (15-7) 1.
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Credit: Courtesy Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The weekly Division I Top 25 Coaches' Poll, sponsored by USA Today and ESPN, is based on voting by a Board of Coaches made up of 31 head coaches at Division I institutions all of whom are WBCA members.