“Publilius Syrus said in 35 B.C.: “Admonish your friends privately, but praise them openly.” Catherine the Great, in the 18th Century, said, “I like to praise and reward loudly, to blame quietly.”” http://ezinearticles.com/?Praise-in-Public,-Correct-in-Private-May-Not-Be-a-Good-Idea&id=1263976
Catherine’s blame needed to be in private because it usually resulted in her executing someone. Yuk!
Muffet McGraw does it one-way and Geno Auriemma does it the other – both, maybe to extremes. Ideally, the most effective way is somewhere in the middle – even though McGraw’s style appears to be winning out against UCONN.
Geno made numerous comments after the game and only one of them was in poor taste.
I found these three comments to be spot on and not critical of any player or the team as a whole.
- “Every opportunity we had to put it away, we let it slip away,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said.
- “How many chances can you have?” Auriemma said. “You’re on the road, against a really good team. You might get one chance, might get two chances when it really mattered, but you are not going to get unlimited chances.
- “We really didn’t need her [Dolson] to go down there and screen for anybody, but she thought it was the best thing to. It’s unfortunate it happened. There was one when the kid tried to choke [Dolson], and she pulled her arm away. Every little foul in of itself doesn’t mean anything, but when they add up to five it means a lot.”
All of the above statements were good observations on Geno’s part. I do not think he was overly critical of Dolson’s choice to screen, he only said that it was unnecessary but it was her decision. Looking at the replay, it was obviously a bad call – but if she did not attempt the screen there would not have been a foul called and she would still have been in the game – probably into at least the first overtime.
Dolson, in reality, does tend to lean into opposing players when executing a screen and the refs might have been aware of that and maybe they were looking for it to happen. That could be a case of her past coming back to haunt her.
Now, as far as Geno saying something very inappropriate, here it is:
Asked to explain the 35 turnovers, Auriemma responded, “I don’t know. I guess we’re not any good.”
Geno spoke out of extreme frustration. If he took the time to think before speaking, he could have said, [“I don’t know, we are normally better at protecting the ball, we’re a good team but tonight we just were not good enough.”
I believe he owes an apology to the team for that one comment.
On the subject of screens and picks, with 2:04 remaining in the 2nd half of the game, Skylar, on offense, was out near the top of the key near the 3-point line and was being guarded closely by Faris. All of a sudden, Ariel Braker, number 44, came out and confronted Faris to the point where she aggressively pushed up against her – preventing her from following Skylar Diggins to where Skylar was totally open to receiving a pass and then making a layup.
If Dolson was given a foul for not moving at all while setting a pick, then Braker should have been charged with the same penalty.
My thoughts are that Skylar is a superstar and she does get away with a lot – the play looked wonderful if you were a Notre Dame fan. The official was positioned perfectly to see the overly physical pick – yet he did not call it. Again, it was at the 2:04 mark in the second half of the game.
Now, I have some personal observations on many of the UCONN players – some critical and some quite positive.
- Doty – Prior to her injuries and surgeries, she was a rock star – playing at the peak of her game. Now, Geno tends to give her the benefit of the doubt by giving her a lot of playing time – but Doty has her limitations and should be used sparingly but Geno tends to give her way too many minutes out of an almost obligation to her past accomplishments.
- Stewart – She is a diamond in the rough. She is now where Tina Charles was in her first year. She will get better, no, she will become one of the great ones at UCONN, but not this year. She is good at blocking and rebounding. On the other hand, she takes too many outside shots. My guess is that she probably is shooting 20 percent from outside. The other thing she really needs to learn is to secure the ball after she gets a rebound or a steal – many times the ball simply gets away from her. I know she finds that frustrating – she wants to start a big play but that cannot happen until she securely has the ball up high – away from defenders trying to trap her and take the ball away. Also, if Dolson is going to be in the high post, Stewie needs to be much closer to the basket – making herself available for layups or short jumpers. She will learn to play using her strengths – her height, her wingspan, her quickness. My gut tells me that Stewie’s best games, this year, are yet to come. What I mean by that is she will have tournament games this year that will shock opponents and make UCONN fans say, “Wow, that is the Stewie we have been waiting for.” Mark my words on this.
- Kalena Mosqueda-Lewis, aka KML – not much to criticize but a lot to compliment. She can do it all and she wants to do it all and for the next two years she WILL do it all. One observation, she is trying to be a combination of Maya Moore and Kelly Faris – all in one. Maybe she needs to focus on one or the other but not both. My thoughts are that she should let Tuck grow into Kelly Faris and KML should just be KML – she doesn’t even need to be a clone of Maya because KML will be loved and respected for being KML.
- Dolson – enough said. She does it all as well – she scores, blocks, rebounds, and intimidates anyone coming near the basket. Two minor observations. One, she has to get a handle on how she screens for her teammates. Nine out of ten times she moves while setting a pick and she tends to move into the defender. Two, she does not get off her feet enough. Sure, she blocks and rebounds but she might accomplish more if went vertical a little more.
- Jefferson – quicker than the roadrunner but sometimes she loses control because of her speed. She will improve and will probably become a key player sometime next year.
- Hartley – I almost hate to say this but I fear that Hartley is starting to go the way Doty did after her injuries. She needs to get her confidence back and the only way to do that is with more playing time – and not by alternating with Doty. If she doesn’t have her touch with three’s yet, then step in a little closer and regain confidence with two’s – and focus on feeding those who can consistently make the three’s. She might focus more on defense and fast breaks – both of which are her bread and butter right now.
- Buck – I am a loss of words regarding Heather. I don’t know how she can sit on the bench as much as she does. My guess is that she could have been used in the overtime periods last night because she would have had fresh legs and with no fouls, she could have cluttered up the lane – preventing Skyler and others from getting easy layups. She is big and she is tough and is deserving of a few more minutes of playing time. Shame on Geno for not utilitizing her a little more.
- Tuck – another diamond in the rough who will improve with time – game time, that is. She did quite well last night but more playing time will help her fit in with starters. She is smart and quick and plays a good inside game. She and Stewie will both improve exponentially and with Dolson will be an incredible front line NEXT YEAR. Add KML and Hartley or Banks, UCONN stands a chance of running the table next year. OMG, where have we heard that before!
Next year, UCONN might be in a position of having too many bigs and not enough smalls.
Maybe Saniya Chong, UCONN’s only recruit for 2013 will be able to hit it running. Next year UCONN will have no problem scoring points but I think their biggest problem will be playing defense without Faris – unless Tuck and/or Stokes can fill in the tremendous void by Faris’ departure.
UCONN might want to start focusing on Jefferson being a true point guard and grooming Chong to be the shooting guard.
UCONN will have no problem scoring next year – their biggest problem will be on defense – my guess is that there will be a lot of very high scoring games with UCONN ending on top the majority of the time – if not all the time.
Lastly, I have a question for those who made it all the way through this blog.
Does anyone know how many games UCONN loses when Geno is assessed a technical foul? I can think of two games at least.
Every time Geno gets charged with a technical foul, the opposing team gets two shots AND the ball after the shots.
Fortunately, for UCONN last night, Diggins made only one of the two free throws and on Notre Dame’s possession, Stewart blocked a Diggins layup – otherwise it could have been a four point swing for Notre Dame. Maybe Chris Daley needs to be more forceful with Geno when the Italian Stallion gets all worked up with a bad call. Maybe Chris needs to recruit the assistance of another assistant coach to settle Geno down. I am sure Dolson was pleased that Geno stood up for her but the net effect is that his anger benefits the other team more than it benefits UCONN.
It is true that the technical was early on in the first half and did not affect the outcome of the game but even though his anger was justified but his actions were not. For those who recorded the game, the controversial play when Markisha Wright hit Dolson in the neck with her forearm and Dolson responded by pushing her arm away she was charged with a foul – it was at the 8:21 mark in the first half.
What doesn’t make sense is that the official was looking at the two players the entire time – yet he did not call a foul on Wright. In my opinion, Wright could have been called with a Technical one. That play reminded me of elementary school where one kid hits takes a swipe at another kid and when the kid chooses to defend himself, he is sent to the principal’s office.