The Huskies committed 12 turnovers in the first half against Duke Monday. This led to a spirited halftime speech from UConn coach Geno Auriemma in the locker room and associate head coach Chris Dailey leading the crowd of 9,671 at Gampel Pavilion to chant “No more turnovers’’ prior to the start of the second half.
The Huskies then went out and committed just three turnovers in outscoring the Blue Devils 47-19 in the second half. Stefanie Dolson had a turnover with 18:39 left. Breanna Stewart had one with 13:07 left. And Bria Hartley committed the final one with 3:41 left.
Meanwhile, Duke committed 12 turnovers in the half. UConn converted these into 17 points.
“We have three when we’re warming up to get the game started,’’ Auriemma said. “So I’m surprised we only had three in the second half. Maybe CD encouraging the crowd to chant, `No more turnovers’ … Maybe that’s what we needed to do. But, again, the more people you have on the floor that aren’t that familiar with playing together, which is what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get a lot of people in the game, playing a lot of minutes and what you’re going to get out that is some bad decision-making or just missing each other.
And that second half we were on point. We knew exactly where we were going with the ball. We knew what we were trying to do. There was a great feel, great communication. Non-verbal. It’s not the stuff you have to say. And we were in a great rhythm. And usually when you’re playing like that you don’t turn the ball over. Now, we didn’t pass the ball more than twice either, did we? We came down the floor and we went pass-pass-shot. Again, I’ve been saying that’s the key. After we go to four passes you should already start looking at the turnover box and go, `Where am I putting this one?’ So if we can get a shot off after three passes or less we’re good to go.’’
Here is Auriemma talking about his substitution strategy for the second half …
“We, as coaches, we’re trying to accomplish a lot of things and sometimes it doesn’t always go that way,’’ Auriemma said. “There’s a great line in the Thomas Jefferson book that I’m reading right now that says something about like sometimes your philosophical ideas have to give way to your practical ideas. And my idea about we’re going to play a lot of guys, we’re going to get a lot of guys a lot of minutes. It’s a great opportunity for them to play in a big game like this at home against Duke. And then you look out there when they’re out there and you go, `Why? Why do I feel this urge to have to do this? Why?’
So in the second half I came out and (assistant coach) Shea (Ralph) goes, `We’re not going to do that in the second half are we?’ And I said, `No.’ She said, `Good. Put them in one at a time and don’t you dare have them all out there.’ But at the same time, a couple fouls here, a couple fouls there … So I think what happened in the second half is we were able to keep our core out on the floor for a long, long, long time and that really made all the difference in the world.’’