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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Geno Auriemma Critical of UConn After Loss to Notre Dame

UConn was upset by Notre Dame in the Final Four of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, losing 72-63. The loss was even more disheartening because the Huskies had beaten Notre Dame three times in the regular season before falling Sunday night. Speaking after the loss, UConn coach Geno Auriemma did not hold back when talking about his team. In fact, he was quite critical especially of junior Tiffany Hayes and freshman Bria Hartley.

“I think some of our players got caught up in the bigness of the game,” Auriemma said. “Tiffany [Hayes], that’s kind of been her m.o. When she doesn’t get off to a good start, when things aren’t clicking for her, she disappears on us sometimes. And that happened tonight, and that’s something that we’ve tried to address with her and she understands it. I’m sure she’s probably more disappointed than anybody else that it happened tonight.”

If you thought that was harsh, well Geno was only getting warmed up.

“Bria [Hartley] played like a frightened little freshman, not really wanting to attack on a ball screen,” he continued. “It wasn’t until late, late, late that I saw somebody that wanted to make a play instead of hoping not to make a bad play.”

Ultimately Auriemma concluded that “one great player can’t beat a really good team. Not this time of year.”

That one great player of course was Maya Moore who had 36 points on 14-30 shooting in what was considered an “off game.”

Some people may question Auriemma’s method of calling out his players in front of the media, but I’m sure it was a calculated approach aimed at motivating his players. That’s a strategy Phil Jackson often employs and it’s not well received by some of his players, but you can’t deny the results. The same can be said for Geno. It’s just too bad the system allows a team that has gone 3-1 against another to end up less successful than them, but that’s the shame of a single-elimination tournament.

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