Geno Auriemma was not pleased with the look of the offense heading into Tuesday’s game against Marquette. The Huskies were not getting up and down the floor as much as he would like, scoring a combined 23 fastbreak points in the last four games.
UConn scored just seven fastbreak points at St. John’s last Saturday. This led Auriemma to make it known that he wanted the players to make a concerted effort to open it up offensively against Marquette.
The Huskies heeded Auriemma’s message, responding with a blinding offensive display in registering 94 points and scoring all of their season-high 33 fastbreak points in the first 17:46 of the first half.
The overall scoring output for UConn was its highest since totaling 95 at Oregon Dec. 31. The Huskies had reached the 80-point mark just twice in their previous nine games and were averaging just 73.3 in four games leading up to facing Marquette.
“We talked a lot about this time of year what happens is teams become very constricted,’’ Auriemma said. “You don’t want to make a lot of mistakes. You harp on every little thing. And I felt like we were doing that. I felt like we were becoming way too constricted. When we watched the St. John’s game, and a game like that makes you feel like, `Man, this can’t be any fun. Who wants to play basketball like this?’ And St. John’s played great.
“We had a lot of discussions with the coaching staff when we got back about this is not the time to be walking the ball up the floor and trying to make the perfect pass and get the perfect set and get the perfect guy shooting the perfect shot. That’s not the way to go. I think the way to go is you’ve got to play in February and March like you played in November and December. In November and December you just play because you’re not worried about anything. And I think as the season goes on, you start to really nitpick on a lot of things, and it puts guys in a bad spot. So I wanted them to be in a good spot (Tuesday), and they responded.’’
The Huskies blitzed the Golden Eagles by scoring 21 points in transition in the first 11:47. Later in the half, they scored 12 in transition in a span of 2:10.
What was most impressive about the surge was that 21 of UConn’s 33 fastbreak points came off of 3-pointers as Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis made four, Caroline Doty made two and Bria Hartley made one.
It was the most points scored by the Huskies in transition since they scored 41 against Seton Hall at Gampel Pavilion Jan. 9, 2007.
“I think it’s just that Coach has been harping on us about, `You guys can’t not get a shot every time. You guys need to at least get one shot attempt every time down the court,’’’ Mosqueda-Lewis said. “That’s kind of been resonating with us. We’ve been getting better shots every time down the court and now it’s kind of turning into when we get a good shot we want to knock it in. It’s putting pressure on ourselves to make sure that we’re making open shots. Why over-pass? He tells us all the time, stop making something that’s so easy so difficult.’’