Auriemma Cancels Practice Today; Huskies Eye New Beginning

The UConn players can get their hands on a copy of the game film from Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame if they choose. Kelly Faris made sure that she did.

Huskies’ coach Geno Auriemma said he has already twice watched the game. Faris plans to watch it over again as well. And collectively seeing the circumstances that yielded a 73-72 loss on film today in the locker room did not get any easier to absorb on film.

“Yeah, it’s still extremely frustrating,’’ Faris said. “I’m still mad about it. I still sit there and think, `I could’ve done this. I could have done that. Why didn’t we do this?’ I still think that about all the other games we’ve lost since I’ve been here, especially last year in the Final Four and the year before that in the Final Four. Those things don’t go away. And we’ve said it 1,000 times after every game we’ve lost is, `Yeah, I could sit here and pout about it and I could sit here and be ticked off about it and go in my little corner and think of all the things that we didn’t do right.’

“But like with every other loss, you have to learn from it. You can’t just sit there and say, `Yeah, I learned from it. We didn’t do this right. We didn’t do that.’ It’s going to show up (in practice) tomorrow whether or not we really wanted to make a change and whether we really actually did learn from it and we’re going to do something about it.’’

Aside from watching film today, the Huskies lifted weights and got some extra shots up at Gampel Pavilion. Auriemma decided to cancel practice.

“I thought Saturday took a lot out of us at the end of a really tough, tough stretch for us,’’ Auriemma said. “If you think back to the day we left for Texas A&M on that Friday (Nov. 16) and we went right to the Virgin Islands and then we were out in California. We almost never travel both on Christmas and on Thanksgiving. Usually, we’re home one of those two times. This is one of the few times where we’ve been on the road so many days, and including when they left for Christmas, and now we’re on the road all week this week.

“So I just thought that the fact that we’ve got so many guys trying to recover from different things, Caroline (Doty) came out that game (against Notre Dame) all banged up (ankle) Kaleena Lewis came out of that game all banged up (ankle, shin, elbow). I just thought that if you could get a good lift in today and get some shots up I thought that was the best option for us for today.’’

“It was more of a day to get mentally focused again,’’ said UConn sophomore Kiah Stokes, who is expected to play Wednesday at Georgetown after missing the last five games with a stress reaction in her right shin.

Of course, Faris said that she would have liked to have had a practice today.

“I would have liked to have done more,’’ Faris said. “I definitely would’ve liked to have had a practice, but it is what it is and you’ve got to learn from it. So tomorrow is Day 1. Start back over and you’ve got to set to the tone right from tomorrow. Tomorrow is a pretty important day I think for us, and that’s how we have to approach it. We have to approach it like tomorrow is extremely important and the next day is even much more important and so on.’’

The Huskies are eyeing this week as a new beginning. Where they go from here is up to them now.

“You can’t really look back,’’ Mosqueda-Lewis said. “You’ve got to learn from what happened before, but right now we’ve just to got to really focus on ourselves, focus on getting better, getting back on our feet and making sure that the same thing doesn’t happen again.’’

Here are Auriemma’s thoughts on the Notre Dame game …

“I’ve watched it a couple times,’’ Auriemma said. “I think there’s three areas where if we’re playing well there’s three areas where I think we have to control. One is we have to win the offensive rebounding battle all the time. And I think we lost by one (18-17). And sometimes that’s not even enough. Sometimes just offensive rebounding is not enough. I think it’s how many times you convert those offensive rebounds into points. No. 2, we have to win the free throw battle. We have to get to the free throw line more and we’ve got to make more free throws than the other team. And we didn’t do that (Notre Dame 17-24; UConn 11-14). And lastly, we can’t get outscored from the 3-point line, and we did that (18-15). So if you take those three things and you can control those three things or maybe two out of the three … We lost all three of them and lost the game by one. So I don’t know. Is it annoying? Is it frustrating? It’s a whole bunch of things.’’