I wore the new UCONN shirt and sat down to watch the game.
UCONN did well early on – taking a 6-point lead at the end of the first half. They held their throughout the second half, until the end of regular time that ended in a tie. The game went into first overtime with UCONN building what appeared to be an almost insurmountable lead for most teams – unfortunately, UCONN was not playing most teams – they were, after all, playing Notre Dame.
UCONN choked at the free throw line near the end of the first overtime and that was the reason the overtime ended up in another tie.
During the second overtime, UCONN built another good lead and then they chocked at the free throw line again. As time ran out in the second overtime, Notre Dame made an incredible 3-point shot to put the game into the third overtime.
If there is one thing I know, it is that you cannot give Notre Dame too many chances to win – if you want to beat them you have to seize the moment and beat them decisively – instead, UCONN lost the game three times before Notre Dame finally won the game.
In the third overtime, Notre Dame got hot while UCONN made a steady stream of miscues – charges, turnovers, bad passes, etc. Sure, Notre Dame forced many of the miscues, but UCONN did an equal amount of damage to themselves – in effect, UCONN shot themselves in the foot three times before they finally lost the game.
There were two very bad calls in the game but even after those bad calls, UCONN had numerous chances to win the game. There were a handful of “no-calls” that benefitted both teams.
The 5th foul on Dolson was for a moving pick that in 99 out of 100 times would not normally have been called – but it was and she fouled out of the game. There was another call where Dolson’s opponent reached in and hit Dolson hard in her neck – yet, Dolson was charged with a personal foul. That is when Geno became unglued.
Geno did not help his team’s cause when he protested that play. In addition to raising such a stink, Geno was assessed a technical foul because he walked onto the court. Notre Dame was awarded two free throws, which Diggins made and ND got the ball as well.
No complaining on my part. It is just that UCONN choked and Notre Dame was the better team during the third overtime.
There is always the Big East tournament. It is in this tournament that UCONN seldom chokes.
UCONN will probably win the Big East Tournament and get the higher seeding in the NCAA tournament, but that will barely be sweet revenge for the two regular season losses to Notre Dame.
The one shining highlight in this game is how Morgan Tuck grew up in this triple overtime nailbiter. She will be ready for the next meeting and hopefully will be part of a decisive UCONN victory.
This was a serious wakeup call for UCONN – if they do not buckle down and correct their mistakes, which included a high number of turnovers – poor free throw shooting – and not protecting the basket from backdoors and easy layups, UCONN will not make it as far as the final four. UCONN has a significant height advantage over Notre Dame, yet they did not take advantage of it as well as I thought they would have.
For a senior, Doty made more than her share of mistakes and unless their next meeting goes into overtime she should not see a lot of playing time. She did not score and only attempted one shot. In my estimation, she had a few opportunities but seemed hesitant to shoot. In my humble opinion, I believe Jefferson should get more playing time in upcoming games and Doty should only get playing time when absolutely necessary.
Stewarts height makes her more valuable inside instead of outside – her outside shooting is lacking but her blocking and rebounding will give UCONN a better chance next time. Stewart gets her share of rebounds and steals but she tends to lose the handle on the ball too often. I believe she needs to focus on securing the ball first before she attempts to pass it or shoot it.
On a good note, Stewart gained a ton of experience in this game – experience that just MIGHT give UCONN a distict advantage in the upcoming Big East tournament as well as the NCAA tournament.
As far as the t-shirt goes, I plan on wearing it for all future games because I believe UCONN will learn from their mistakes tonight. The sky is the limit for UCONN. I believe they are more than capable of beating Notre Dame in both tournaments and as far as Baylor goes, I believe Dolson, Tuck, Stewart, Faris, and Mosqueda-Lewis will be up for the challenge.
I am glad I bought an extra UCONN shirt. The games are more frequent so I do not want to be doing laundry every other night. On the other hand, maybe I will just wear the original shirt until they either lose or win it all in the NCAA tournament.