Kelly Faris stepped up again today in the wake of UConn’s 73-72 loss to Notre Dame. After all, what would you expect from the Huskies’ senior leader.
Faris was not at all pleased with her defensive performance against Kayla McBride, who scored a career-high 21 points to lead the Irish. And she made sure everyone within earshot knew exactly how she felt about it.
“Personally, I take responsibility for this game,’’ Faris said. “I don’t just say that because it sounds like I should say that. As a leader on the team I’m supposed to set the tone. And, defensively, I didn’t do that. And I think that’s usually what’s expected of me, and McBride got any shot she wanted and she hit almost every single one of them. It started from the beginning. I didn’t set the tone and it kind of went from there. We made too many turnovers. We didn’t get rebounds. They out-toughed us. The second half we came out stronger, but it was too late. We can’t hold off a whole half and think that we’re going to come back and just blow the out in the second half.
“We had that issue last year when we came in and different teams and they decided the way to beat us was just to punch us, punch us, punch us. And there’s been a few games this year that we’ve done fine with it and it hasn’t been a problem. And then there was a few games that we let it get to us a little bit. So this is definitely a wake-up call for everybody, and myself included. We knew that was their gameplan. We knew what they were going to do. We’ve played them a thousand times. But from the top down, the upperclassmen to the freshmen, overall we didn’t get done what we needed to get done.’’
When told about Faris’ comments, UConn coach Geno Auriemma has this to say …
“That’s how Kelly is,’’ Auriemma said. “She takes every little thing personally. She feels responsible for everything that happens on our team. There’s only so much that one person can do. We needed … Stefanie (Dolson) played great. Kaleena Lewis played well even though she sat out a lot in those 10 minutes in the first half (with two fouls). So between Kelly and Stefanie, Kaleena … I thought Bria (Hartley) struggled a lot. And (Breanna Stewart) struggled a lot. The other guys may or may not be ready for a game like this. I don’t know. But I think Kelly looks at all that, the big picture, if I’d have done more we would’ve won. That’s just how Kelly is.’’