It was not surprising that senior Kelly Faris was unaware that she was making her 100th straight start in tonight’s 105-49 win at Providence. She never has been a person fixated on numbers.
Nonetheless, Faris became the fourth player in team history to reach the milestone. All-Americans Renee Montgomery (140) and Jennifer Rizzotti (135) and Jamelle Elliott (106) are the only other players in this select group.
“I didn’t know anything about that,’’ Faris said. “But thinking about it, yeah, it means a lot. It’s nice to know that Coach (Geno Auriemma) trusts you. I think the flipside of it is that it says kind of a lot about him. He’s a very trustworthy, respectful guy and someone you don’t want to let down. So if you have somebody like that as your coach, you’re going to do everything you can not to disappoint him. I think that’s always in the back of my mind.’’
On her memorable night, it was fitting that Faris delivered a Faris-like performance with 16 points, six rebounds and five assists in 27 minutes in a 105-49 rout of the Friars.
“It’s not easy to put into words all the time somebody’s true contributions,’’ Auriemma said. “The stat sheet and the record book that just tells one part of the story, but I think her contributions are so numerous and I think the 100 starts in a row is most indicative of how consistent and how reliable and how fortunate she’s been to stay healthy and just how committed she is to winning and doing whatever she has to do for the University of Connecticut.’’
We have known for years now that Auriemma is a huge fan of Faris. But numerous opposing coaches have praised her this season. And it appears that the admiration DePaul coach Doug Bruno has for Faris just might trump that of Auriemma.
“I’m the biggest Kelly Faris fan I think in the country,’’ Bruno said. “I just really, really think that’s a special, special player. She would be the defensive player of the year in any four years that she didn’t have (Baylor’s Brittney) Griner with her. And if you’re just talking about the perimeter defenders, she’s the best perimeter defender in the country.’’
Mosqueda-Lewis has taken it a step further this by referring to Faris as “Jesus’’ because of her ability to get things done.
“I feel like anything Kelly wants to do or anything she wants to get done she can and she will get it done whether it’s on the court or off the court,’’ Mosqueda-Lewis said. “Everyone knows she got a 4.0 (last spring). Everyone knows that she does it all on the court from steals to points now. She does all.’’
Faris has saved her best for last. She is averaging career-highs in scoring (10.8), field goal percentage (.538) and 3-point percentage (.427) through 24 games this season and is also averaging 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists in 29.0 minutes.
Faris has reached double figures in scoring in a career-high 14 games this season. Her previous high was 10 games last season.
Here is what Faris said about what she takes most pride in …
“I guess I’ve always kind of been the person on the floor that’s trying to make sure we’re all doing the right thing, to kind of give a sense of calmness I guess,’’ Faris said. “You can look at the statistics, whether it’s defense or offense, if you get steals or stops, or whatever it may be. But in reality I think you need people on the team like I said where once you’re on the floor there is kind of that feeling like, ‘OK, we can do this. We can do that.’ I’m not just the only one. I think there’s a few people that I feel that way with when they get on the floor. So if I have done that, then I think that’s something I take a lot of pride in.’’