WE made it to ANOTHER consecutive final 4, and a VERY young team that when healthy started 2 freshmen, 3 juniors, and had (reliably) 1 freshman and 2 sophomores off the bench. On top of that, the team had to endure losing 2 starters during the course of the season. Name another top team who had to endure that. We lost Anna early, then we lost Nika late.
ON PAPER, hardly anyone (if anyone) had more talent than UCONN, but our talent was really young... and then really injured. We literally had no seniors, and partly as a result, played 2 stinkers last season - one against Arkansas, where the team learned a lot, especially Paige and Christyn, and one against Arizona, as a more experienced team out-quicked, out-hustled, and out-played us. And I really don't think Nika (or Anna) was close to 100% for that Arizona game.
Geno laughs when asked about the expectations - he almost always says "Some people just don't get it - it's really really hard to win a NC", and let's be honest... No team in the history of WCBB has accomplished as much as UCONN historically, this year notching their 13th consecutive final 4. He has also said you need to be really good, and have some really good luck. Well last season, UCONN had some really bad luck. Yet still, we made it to the final 4.
As I've read thru the various threads and the criticisms of one player or another, who can or can't make layups, who can/can't shoot reliably, who plays good or lazy defense, who has or doesn't have "toughness", AND for all the disappointment I felt at not making it to the NC game, there are literally 347 other teams who would LOVE to have had our "problems".
I'm just so grateful for the players who have chosen the hard path of coming to UCONN. So many incredibly talented players who could have gone anywhere else, and been one of THE stars (if not THE star) on a different team, yet they chose team, family environment, and the hard work that comes with going to UCONN over an easier path.
Geno's recruiting has been otherworldly the past 5 recruiting cycles. He's changed with the times, and while not a "hip young" coach like Barnes or Staley, has certainly proven that not only can an old dog learn new tricks, but he can still to it better than pretty much everyone else.