UConn coach Geno Auriemma ended practice about 30 minutes early today at Gampel Pavilion. He then made some pointed comments in the huddle regarding their lack of intensity and focus during the final portion of practice when Auriemma was simulating the final three minutes of a game.
Here is what Kelly Faris, Stefanie Dolson, Bria Hartley and Auriemma had to say afterwards …
On Auriemma ending practice early
“I think he had had it,’’ Faris said. “I think he was done. I didn’t want to be (done). No player wants to end on something like that. We were going from offense into our press defense. And he gets irritated when he has to reiterate himself day in and day out. And it’s happened pretty much the whole season.’’
“It should (bother us),’’ Dolson said. “I know it bothers me. I think that’s one thing we’re maybe not on the same page about. I think some people are bothered by things and some people aren’t. And I know that definitely bothers me. You never want to end a practice like that. So it’s just frustrating because I see what he sees too. And it’s me too. It’s not just whoever. It’s everyone that lost focus at the end. So we’ve just got to keep working hard and we’ve just got to keep the energy up. We were so high in the first two hours. Our energy, our competitiveness … Everything was good. And then we just lost it. So I’m definitely disappointed.’’
“Look, nobody comes here and we give you character,’’ Auriemma said. “But we can find out if you have any once you get here. That’s the bottom line.’’
Where is this team right now?
“I think we’re in kind of a tough spot right now,’’ Dolson said. “It’s halfway through the season and I’m sure people are tired. I feel like people are kind of letting their tiredness get to them. We didn’t respond to our (66-61) loss to Baylor very well. I think we responded to it as almost like a `We don’t care. We just want to go home’ type of thing because we were going home for break right after. So it’s not the way we should have responded to it. We should have responded like we were (mad) and just fight back. Coaches say that the team after a loss should not want to play you at all because you want to play so hard and fight them almost like you were playing the team you just lost to. But we didn’t do that (at the College of Charleston). We went out and just … I don’t even know. We just didn’t play the way we should have. We will run offense and then it will break down and everyone will just play 1-on-1. I think we did that too much. We just have to get back to playing as a team like we were at the beginning of the season, just playing UConn basketball. We are just not playing the way we should be.’’
“I think we are a good team, but I think we are still searching as to how good we can be,’’ Hartley said. “We are really good, but we can be even better. This team definitely presses really well. I think everyone comes out and plays pretty hard most of the time. I think we run pretty good offense. A lot of people can score. A lot of people can do different things on the court. So if we just do that on the court every night, we should be fine.’’
What needs to change on team?
“To get through a whole practice,’’ Faris said. “I think we go in spurts and we don’t last the whole practice. So I think that’s our big thing. It’s hard to get everybody on the sane page. Some people don’t get it yet and some people don’t have the right mentality. So we don’t do a very good job of keeping everybody accountable.’’
“I’m frustrated,’’ Faris said. “It’s not fun to come in here every day and get yelled at and have everybody leave unsatisfied. On the outside it looks like you go win a game by 40 or 50 points, everything’s all good. Well, any player who’s ever been here knows that that’s not the case. We walk away from games very rarely satisfied, and that’s kind of how it’s been at practice. And it’s frustrating that we can’t … For some reason we’re not figuring out what it is that we need to get done.’’
“It’s halfway through the season and the way we responded to the Baylor loss is not the way we should at this point,’’ Dolson said. “Maybe if they were the second game of the season, but they weren’t. So the fact that we’re not on the same page we need to just come together. The people who should lead have to lead and the people need to follow. I think some people are trying to lead, but no one’s following. So we just have to come together and just focus. I think that we’re so young that we just lose focus all the time so easily. I think that’s our biggest thing.’’