According to the most recent NCAA statistics, the Huskies entered Wednesday’s game against Georgetown ranked third nationally in made 3-pointers per game (8.9) and eighth in 3-point shooting percentage (38.8).
Rather than extend out on the perimeter to limit looks from beyond the arc, the Hoyas instead sagged into the lane defensively and dared UConn to shoot. The result was a team single-game record 41 3-point attempts in a 75-48 win.
“We probably only attempted 41 because we turned it over 19 times,’’ UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “So we probably could’ve had 60 3s. I don’t think there’s an ideal number, but I know 41 is probably too many. But Georgetown had a pretty good defense … `We’re going to put five guys in the lane and let you shoot.’ And in the first half it was more of guys trying to force the ball into the lane or wait, wait, wait, wait and then with three seconds left on the shot clock get the ball in the lane. And we just said we’re passing up a lot of open shots to just throw the ball in the lane. What’s the point? Now the game’s going to be played at their tempo. They want to slow it down. They want the game to be 60-55. So we were much more eager to shoot the ball when we were open, and we missed a lot of easy 3s. We just want a good shot. And we got 41 good 3s, for the most part.’’
It was the second time this season that UConn has attempted at least 40 3-pointers in a game, shooting 40 against Oakland at the XL Center Dec. 19.
The Huskies made 12 against the Hoyas, including a career-high four by Kelly Faris and three apiece by All-American Bria Hartley and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. Five different players made at least one.
“The defense they were playing they packed it in,’’ Faris said. “So it’s almost like they left us open to shoot them. And I felt OK about it because we actually knocked them in. There’s times that people leave us open and we can’t knock anything down and Coach gets on us to have somebody step up and make one. So I think we did a good job of hitting shots when we needed them and it came from all different people. So, yeah we would like to get the ball inside, but the second we did they had four people on them.’’
The Huskies have attempted 340 3-pointers (24.3) and 209 free throws (14.9) through the first 14 games this season. They would like to get to the free throw line more often, but if an opponent is going to clog the lane they will keep firing from the perimeter.
“You can’t (force the issue),’’ Auriemma said. “It’s a crazy. If the defense is going to put five of their players in the lane where are you going to drive it to? There’s no place to take the ball. And when you’re playing at home that’s not a bad strategy. If you’re playing at home and you’ve got the visiting team and you say, `OK, let’s see how many shots you can make on our home court.’ So it’s not a bad strategy by teams. We’re a really good 3-point shooting team. I’m not saying that we want to keep shooting 40 of them. But we’ve got some guys on our team that I never want them to pass up an open 3. I never want Kaleena to pass the ball when she’s open, or Kelly or Bria. When they’re open I want them to shoot it. I don’t care what the situation is. I don’t care if that’s the 40th one or the fourth one. And we might lose a game down the road because of that, but we might win a bunch of games down the road because of that.’’