UConn's Bria Hartley and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had the answers when the Huskies were struggling on the offensive end. Photo by Jessica Hill
UConn was led in scoring by freshman Kaleena "the killA" Mosqueda-Lewis with 25 points on 10-17 shooting. Mosqueda-Lewis also collected 8 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist and an impressive 0 turnovers in 32 minutes of action. Bria Hartley also 19 points for the Huskies on 8-16 shooting, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 turnovers in a team high 38 minutes.
In fact, Mosqueda - Lewis and Hartley were the only 2 UConn players to have a field goal until 14:33 remained in the game. Yes. The entire game.
UConn's defense was impressive and cohesive. Probably more so than at any time this season. They forced 16 turnovers, had 12 steals and forced some ugly shots. They were impressive of their selection as to when to double and when to help and when to let their defense stand on their own.
Stanford was plagued with some early foul trouble when Nnemkadi Ogwumike picked up her 2nd foul with 12:49 in the first half. She wouldn't play for the rest of the half. She returned in the 2nd half and the Huskies struggled to contain her. She had 22 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block for the game.
The surprise of the game for Stanford was freshman Jasmine Camp. Prior to today's game the freshman has averaged 2.3 points, 1.3 rebounds in 7.7 minutes per game. Camp had 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting including 3 of 4 3's in 21 minutes off the bench.
For now, a brief look back at what the keys were going into the game...
Keys to Victory
Leadership: There will be some freshman and sophomore moments on both sides. Both teams have young guards with a large load to bear. It is up to the upper classman to right the ship and lead by example. That’s calling you: Tiffany Hayes, Caroline Doty, Kelly Faris, Lindy La Rocque and Nnemkadi Ogwumike. Which of you imposes your will on the game will have a direct correlation to who goes home with the victory.
Hello Hayes, Caroline Doty, Kelly Faris, and Nneka Ogwumike. You each did your roles exactly as you had to. While La Rocque didn't have any major mistakes, no outrageous turnovers, she also didn't make her presence felt for a senior guard. Her 3 shot attempts, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 turnover in 23 minutes will simply not get the job done. If you are not a threat to score, you make the Chiney and Nneka's life extremely difficult in the lane. While Hayes, Doty, Faris will not impress you with gaudy numbers, they made big plays when it was needed. It was Doty's '3' that put UConn up by double digits. Igniting the crowd and simply saying, 'not here and not tonight.' When Hayes couldn't hit water, if she fell out of boat, in the ocean, she collected 13 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. It was Faris who played some great defense on Nneka and made her life difficult when helping Dolson. It was the collective effort of UConn's leadership that allowed Kaleena to be Kaleena and Bria to be Bria.
Rebounding: In UConn’s 2 losses last year they were rebounded 43-36 by Stanford and 39-27 by Notre Dame. Both teams want to run and to do so you have to control the boards because you can’t run without the ball. Stanford has been averaging almost 15 more rebounds than their opponents this season, while UConn has been averaging 16 more rebounds than their opposition. (UConn has had an incredibly weaker schedule at 312th compared to Stanford’s 49th.) Guards have to rebound. Hartley’s and Haye’s rebounds are at the lowest of their careers right now.
Rebounding was a virtual tie with UConn collecting 46 and Stanford 45. Connecticut had an impressive 18 offensive boards which resulted in 15 second chance shots. Stanford had 12, which is less than Holy Cross had against the Huskies. The Cardinal was able to score 12 second chance points. UConn was able to fast break more than Stanford, getting 9 fast break points.
Live by the "3" die by the "3": Connecticut is small. That has been well documented this season with their 4 guard set. Auriemma believes this is an extremely tough match up for Stefanie Dolson because of the athleticism that the Ogwumike sisters present. A lot of pressure will be put on UConn’s guards to make shots to free Dolson. UConn is shooting 45% from 3 in the early season, with them hitting 9.5 3’s per game so far. Stanford is shooting 40% from 3 with 7 players having attempted a 3 in a game.
31 of UConn's 70 shots were from 3. They connected on 7 of them. Stanford with a decisive presence in the lane only launched 12 connecting on 4. Those 3 additional 3's by UConn, basically cover the 10 point spread.
Control the Turnovers: VanDerveer believes that this team is her most athletic and fastest yet. They want to extend their defense and press. That is exactly what Connecticut wants to do too and when they have shown to be at their best. 67 of UConn’s 189 points this season have come off of turnovers. Stanford’s starting guards, La Rocque and Toni Kokenis have only averaged 2 turnovers between them per game. Orrange has shown that her handle has been a little shaky in the early season with 7 turnovers for the season, 5 against Texas alone. For UConn, Guard Bria Hartley will have the ball in her hand most of the time and she has a team high, 6 turnovers (3 per game) in the early going. Rebounding and turnovers give you more possessions, the latter can lead to quick points.
Coach VanDerveer might need to a recheck the definition of athletic and fast. Her players are not fast by ACC, SEC, or Big East standards. They got caught with their head down and tried to dribble out of the press. taking 1 dribble and picking the ball up will get you EVERYTIME. Stanford had 16 turnovers, 5 by Chiney Ogwumike. UConn was able to finished the game with 7. Total. And ZERO by their freshmen.
You’re No Use on the Bench: Simply put you need to play smart. Both teams have the propensity for their key players to get into foul trouble. Tiffany Hayes has had to sit in the first half of both games with 2 fouls. Dolson and Hartley have had issues in the past. Stanford’s posts have been shown to be flat footed in the past and can pick up cheap fouls but the most important pieces are the Ogwumike sisters. Both Chiney and Nneka have to stay on the floor for the Cardinal. Chiney fouled out last year trying to guard Maya Moore and Kelly Faris. There is no more Moore but Mosqueda-Lewis can be just as big of a handful.
Nneka Ogwumike was in foul trouble for the tip and it led her to be a little tentative, especially in the first half. Stanford had 19 fouls and 4 players with at least 3. Dolson picked up 3 fouls, all in the 2nd half. Mosqueda-Lewis did pick up 4 fouls in the final minutes attempting to battle the Ogwumikes on the boards. It should be pointed out that while Stanford did foul the Huskies were not able to convert from the line. They were 11-21 from the charity stripe for 52%. Yuck.
More to come... Including What Geno didn't want to say but I'm going to say for him and what was actually the most impressive part of UConn's win.