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Thoughts on the game from an outsider's perspective

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bballnut90

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First off...WOW. What a fantastic game to start the season! I know no one here is happy with the end result, but a hard fought game between two very good teams, a 3pointer with 1 second left to send it to overtime and a huge upset? Great atmosphere and night for women's basketball, even if it wasn't the best of nights for UCONN fans. Here were some of my impressions on both squads/the game overall:

1. Stanford's guard play is outstanding. Orrange is fantastic at getting to the rim and hitting shots. She had outstanding confidence as a lead guard and came through in a huge way for Stanford. Thompson is dynamite at the off guard position. Great athlete, hard to stay in front of her because of her quickness, but you can't give her space because she'll hit shots from mid range and long range. These two had the best games tonight and were the difference in my opinion.

2. Karlie Samuelson is going to be a great asset for Stanford. She penetrates, dishes, and has a great looking jumper. Had some great hesitation moves that completely faked out UCONN defenders. Made some nice aggressive passes that ended up as turnovers, but I think she has a great mindset and will be a big asset for Stanford.

3. Stanford was much, much, MUCH better than I expected. The absence of a player like Chiney or Nneka allowed other players to penetrate lanes, creating open looks on the perimeter and good drives to the basket. I really thought Stanford would get walloped and was a team in the 15-20 range. Never would have predicted they'd upset UCONN--granted, I never would have predicted that they'd upset Baylor 2 years ago either.

4. On the flip side, UCONN isn't as good as I think most expected UCONN to be. In the past, UCONN has had no problem shedding All Americans and thumping every opponent in its path. That might not be the case this year. UCONN isn't the same team as last year, the role each player has is very different, and they are missing 2 former All-Americans. I underestimated this significance, but I still think UCONN will be the team to beat this year.

4. For UCONN, I think there were certain bright spots tonight, but the team did not look cohesive on the court. Stanford got into the lane at will, not a ton of communication defensively, lots of standing around watching Stewart and try to have her create own magic. I think tonight really highlighted how important Dolson was to this team last year. Dolson ran the offense from the high post and set big strong picks that allowed players to get open. Dolson had very good vision for a post and was a great leader, distributor and finisher for UCONN. They don't have a replacement for that, and as a result, the offense was stagnant.

5. Chong and Nurse were highlights for UCONN tonight. Nurse was a feisty, scrappy player out there. And Chong I thought did an outstanding job, despite the poor decision at the end to go for the layup down by 3.

6. I thought Stewart had a nice night (23 points, 10 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals) but it wasn't her best night. Her jumper looks smoother this year, but she didn't do a great job of finishing shots. Some of that might be fatigue, Stanford was incredibly physical with her. She also missed 4 free throws which is uncharacteristic.

7. Morgan Tuck didn't have a great game but did some nice things in overtime. I'm not sold on the idea that she's going to be another All-American or star for UCONN. She's a versatile player with a big frame, reminds me a bit of Asjha Jones with more range but not as athletic or strong in the post. She does have a unique skill set and I think will be a key contributor for UCONN this year. Will need to improve her shot selection and avoiding foul trouble. Not her best showing, but she had some good moments.

8. KML and Jefferson were no shows, point blank. KML two years ago was one of the very best players in the nation. She was automatic from long range, was an aggressive rebounder and such a smooth scorer. None of that was apparent tonight. Didn't see great leadership from her, nor did I see an aggressive mindset. I still think she can be one of the best players in the nation, she just needs to want it.

Jefferson just didn't show up offensively. 2-7 from the floor, 0-3 from long range and 1-3 from the line. She'll need to have an elevated role this year where she'll be called upon to take more shots, take a bigger leadership role and be creative offensively. I thought she was very passive tonight. I'm interested to see how she develops this year and if she's able to handle the extra responsibilities.

9. Stokes did a good job blocking shots defensively, but she doesn't have an apparent offensive game. Little confidence from her offensively, she also struggled rebounding the ball. Last year she had a very specific role for UCONN: come in, play strong defense, block shots and get boards. This year she's expected to do more, and she doesn't have a strong back up post. That'll be a story to watch.

10. A side note--once the game started to get late....you almost knew Stanford was going to win. Stanford was just oozing confidence, while UCONN seemed tight. Maples might be the most difficult venue in the nation for a road team to pick up a win, Stanford just doesn't lose at home. If there is a rematch at the end of the year, I'd put money on UCONN, but Stanford was terrific tonight.
 
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I have to say both Bonnie and Karlie Samuelson (particularly Karlie) were impressive. I always was shocked that Uconn/Geno recruited them. I figured they were only recruited at Stanford because they have a more limited pool of players that could get into Stanford. Well, both of them proved me wrong. I guess thats why I'm just a fan, and not Geno.

It's a guard's game. Orrange and Thompson outplayed UConn's guard.

Kia Nurse is going to be something special. So poised. UConn is in good hands after Mo graduates.
 
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I agree with a lot -- but

number 7 - I think Tuck will become AA.

number 10- I thought we were going to win in regulation.
 
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First off...WOW. What a fantastic game to start the season! I know no one here is happy with the end result, but a hard fought game between two very good teams, a 3pointer with 1 second left to send it to overtime and a huge upset? Great atmosphere and night for women's basketball, even if it wasn't the best of nights for UCONN fans. Here were some of my impressions on both squads/the game overall:

1. Stanford's guard play is outstanding. Orrange is fantastic at getting to the rim and hitting shots. She had outstanding confidence as a lead guard and came through in a huge way for Stanford. Thompson is dynamite at the off guard position. Great athlete, hard to stay in front of her because of her quickness, but you can't give her space because she'll hit shots from mid range and long range. These two had the best games tonight and were the difference in my opinion.

2. Karlie Samuelson is going to be a great asset for Stanford. She penetrates, dishes, and has a great looking jumper. Had some great hesitation moves that completely faked out UCONN defenders. Made some nice aggressive passes that ended up as turnovers, but I think she has a great mindset and will be a big asset for Stanford.

3. Stanford was much, much, MUCH better than I expected. The absence of a player like Chiney or Nneka allowed other players to penetrate lanes, creating open looks on the perimeter and good drives to the basket. I really thought Stanford would get walloped and was a team in the 15-20 range. Never would have predicted they'd upset UCONN--granted, I never would have predicted that they'd upset Baylor 2 years ago either.

4. On the flip side, UCONN isn't as good as I think most expected UCONN to be. In the past, UCONN has had no problem shedding All Americans and thumping every opponent in its path. That might not be the case this year. UCONN isn't the same team as last year, the role each player has is very different, and they are missing 2 former All-Americans. I underestimated this significance, but I still think UCONN will be the team to beat this year.

4. For UCONN, I think there were certain bright spots tonight, but the team did not look cohesive on the court. Stanford got into the lane at will, not a ton of communication defensively, lots of standing around watching Stewart and try to have her create own magic. I think tonight really highlighted how important Dolson was to this team last year. Dolson ran the offense from the high post and set big strong picks that allowed players to get open. Dolson had very good vision for a post and was a great leader, distributor and finisher for UCONN. They don't have a replacement for that, and as a result, the offense was stagnant.

5. Chong and Nurse were highlights for UCONN tonight. Nurse was a feisty, scrappy player out there. And Chong I thought did an outstanding job, despite the poor decision at the end to go for the layup down by 3.

6. I thought Stewart had a nice night (23 points, 10 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals) but it wasn't her best night. Her jumper looks smoother this year, but she didn't do a great job of finishing shots. Some of that might be fatigue, Stanford was incredibly physical with her. She also missed 4 free throws which is uncharacteristic.

7. Morgan Tuck didn't have a great game but did some nice things in overtime. I'm not sold on the idea that she's going to be another All-American or star for UCONN. She's a versatile player with a big frame, reminds me a bit of Asjha Jones with more range but not as athletic or strong in the post. She does have a unique skill set and I think will be a key contributor for UCONN this year. Will need to improve her shot selection and avoiding foul trouble. Not her best showing, but she had some good moments.

8. KML and Jefferson were no shows, point blank. KML two years ago was one of the very best players in the nation. She was automatic from long range, was an aggressive rebounder and such a smooth scorer. None of that was apparent tonight. Didn't see great leadership from her, nor did I see an aggressive mindset. I still think she can be one of the best players in the nation, she just needs to want it.

Jefferson just didn't show up offensively. 2-7 from the floor, 0-3 from long range and 1-3 from the line. She'll need to have an elevated role this year where she'll be called upon to take more shots, take a bigger leadership role and be creative offensively. I thought she was very passive tonight. I'm interested to see how she develops this year and if she's able to handle the extra responsibilities.

9. Stokes did a good job blocking shots defensively, but she doesn't have an apparent offensive game. Little confidence from her offensively, she also struggled rebounding the ball. Last year she had a very specific role for UCONN: come in, play strong defense, block shots and get boards. This year she's expected to do more, and she doesn't have a strong back up post. That'll be a story to watch.

10. A side note--once the game started to get late....you almost knew Stanford was going to win. Stanford was just oozing confidence, while UCONN seemed tight. Maples might be the most difficult venue in the nation for a road team to pick up a win, Stanford just doesn't lose at home. If there is a rematch at the end of the year, I'd put money on UCONN, but Stanford was terrific tonight.

Great analysis, Nut, right on the money. One more- in retrospect, after watching Stewie and Kaleena playing, joking, laughing on the bench late in the UCDavis rout (and I've never seen UConn players acting so disrespectful to an opponent while a game is still going), I think our kids were, in fact, looking past the Stanford game, not taking them as seriously as they should have. They absolutely did not match Stanford in intensity and desire. As Tara said after the game, UConn is going to get every team's best effort- they'd better be more ready for it than they were yesterday.
 
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I am not sure you can say what kind of offensive Stokes may or may not have until we see he playing in the post. Having her at the high post with the ball in her hand is a waste, that is not her game. The guards have a hard time deciding when to pass the ball in the post players with lead to the 3 sec calls. KLM and Tuck were defensive liabilities, once the Stanford guards got the switch they ate them for lunch.
 
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I am not sure you can say what kind of offensive Stokes may or may not have until we see he playing in the post. Having her at the high post with the ball in her hand is a waste, that is not her game. The guards have a hard time deciding when to pass the ball in the post players with lead to the 3 sec calls. KLM and Tuck were defensive liabilities, once the Stanford guards got the switch they ate them for lunch.
I think Kiah needs to stop trying to be Stef (passing from the top, attempting outside shots). She's never going to be. If she just plays her game (staying down low, blocking shots, cleaning up the boards), she will be fine.
 

easttexastrash

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UCONN needed a lot more from the seniors. Stokes still doesn't seem to have much of a shot outside of 5 feet and KML simply doesn't appear to have taken her off season conditioning very seriously like Dolson did a few years ago. She is too easy to guard because she is not very fast to her spot behind the three point line so her defender has ample time to meet her to her spot on the floor.
 
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I think Kiah needs to stop trying to be Stef (passing from the top, attempting outside shots). She's never going to be. If she just plays her game (staying down low, blocking shots, cleaning up the boards), she will be fine.

...and making layups!
 

Fightin Choke

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My take on the game:

1. This is the first week of the season, so not many conclusions can be drawn. I'm sure that Geno is still instituting the defense, so UConn was vulnerable. Team defense is based on discipline, trust, knowing each other's roles, and endless practice. It takes time for a defense to gel. Each year's team is new, and roles must be redefined. Dolson and Hartley did a lot of things for the team that go beyond what is recorded by any statistical measure. As the team plays more together, the little things the Stef and Bria did will eventually be assumed into the responsibilities of other Huskies.

2. One of the roles yet to be determined is team leader. Stef assumed that role the past two seasons, but especially last year. Last night the Huskies looked confused, especially late in the game and in OT. They needed a calming influence to restore some order. Geno only had so many timeouts so there needs to be an extension of Geno on the floor. Who will it be?

3. Tara did a masterful job is exposing the weaknesses of the Huskies, but this loss really only hurts the ego of some Huskies' fans. As mentioned by many posters already, this game will be a remarkable teaching tool, and Geno and staff will now have the attention of the team even more than they did previously. These problems will be very unlikely to derail the Huskies in the tournament, as they will be fixed long before the conference season starts.

4. Nurse is so tenacious and savvy that it's not fair that she's only a freshman playing her second game. Can you believe that you have almost 4 full seasons left of her as a member of the Huskies? Just unfair.

5. Stokes needs to have her role better defined. If Geno already defined her role, then he needs to remind her what it is. She looked out of place on offense and even a bit on defense. I don't think her defensive gifts are as apparent in space. She'll need to work on that, or Geno will need to tweak the defense to keep her nearer the paint.

6. MoJeff and KML had bad games. It happens (rarely). How they respond to this challenge is more important than this game. There was some bad decision-making by the Huskies, especially late in the game. But better to have this challenge now when a loss doesn't matter. UConn has several more tough games early in the season where UConn can regain their mojo.
 

Biff

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My take on the game:

1. This is the first week of the season, so not many conclusions can be drawn. I'm sure that Geno is still instituting the defense, so UConn was vulnerable. Team defense is based on discipline, trust, knowing each other's roles, and endless practice. It takes time for a defense to gel. Each year's team is new, and roles must be redefined. Dolson and Hartley did a lot of things for the team that go beyond what is recorded by any statistical measure. As the team plays more together, the little things the Stef and Bria did will eventually be assumed into the responsibilities of other Huskies.

2. One of the roles yet to be determined is team leader. Stef assumed that role the past two seasons, but especially last year. Last night the Huskies looked confused, especially late in the game and in OT. They needed a calming influence to restore some order. Geno only had so many timeouts so there needs to be an extension of Geno on the floor. Who will it be?

3. Tara did a masterful job is exposing the weaknesses of the Huskies, but this loss really only hurts the ego of some Huskies' fans. As mentioned by many posters already, this game will be a remarkable teaching tool, and Geno and staff will now have the attention of the team even more than they did previously. These problems will be very unlikely to derail the Huskies in the tournament, as they will be fixed long before the conference season starts.

4. Nurse is so tenacious and savvy that it's not fair that she's only a freshman playing her second game. Can you believe that you have almost 4 full seasons left of her as a member of the Huskies? Just unfair.

5. Stokes needs to have her role better defined. If Geno already defined her role, then he needs to remind her what it is. She looked out of place on offense and even a bit on defense. I don't think her defensive gifts are as apparent in space. She'll need to work on that, or Geno will need to tweak the defense to keep her nearer the paint.

6. MoJeff and KML had bad games. It happens (rarely). How they respond to this challenge is more important than this game. There was some bad decision-making by the Huskies, especially late in the game. But better to have this challenge now when a loss doesn't matter. UConn has several more tough games early in the season where UConn can regain their mojo.


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All great analysis here. Let's remember one thing by looking at my Avatar - I think - though I will be corrected if I am mistaken - that the 2004 team had more than one loss and won the crown. March is a long way away. But I do think they need to define the following:

1. Determine immediately who is going to be the leader and calming influence on the floor.
2. Slow it down on offense - I saw a lot of rushed, jacked up three pointers that were completely unnecessary.
3. Lock it down on defense. When Stanford had the ball our D was all stuck together at the top of the key. There was no spacing allowing a lot of easy cuts to the basket.
4. Breathe - and remember it is only November...
 

UConnCat

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UCONN needed a lot more from the seniors. Stokes still doesn't seem to have much of a shot outside of 5 feet and KML simply doesn't appear to have taken her off season conditioning very seriously like Dolson did a few years ago. She is too easy to guard because she is not very fast to her spot behind the three point line so her defender has ample time to meet her to her spot on the floor.

Kaleena movements on the court last night were no less quick or fast than they were in the E8 last year when she won regional MVP and the FF when she made the all FF team. I'd guess she probably moves a little bit better now than she did last year. What Kaleena missed last night were Dolson's incredible screens. Those screens got her open a lot. The second thing she wasn't able to do was score in the lane which she did a lot in the NCAA tournament last year. Stanford did a great job of clogging the lane which didn't give Kaleena room to post up her defender. She's not a player who is going to take defenders off the dribble and that's not going to change. She can post up defenders and score in the lane but it's easier to do that when the opposing defenders are guarding the other 4 players and those 4 players include Dolson and Hartley. Stanford left other players open in order to face guard Kaleena and clog the lane with defenders. Stanford did the same thing when Maya was a senior and there were many who questioned Maya's quickness, ability to create her own shot, etc. I'm not suggesting Kaleena is close to Maya -- she's not close -- but games like this happen. There are things Kaleena could have done to help herself and there are things her teammates could have done to help her (and themselves) as well. Kaleena isn't the first really good player who was made to look ordinary by Stanford's defense.
 

Icebear

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Kiah would not be in the high post if Geno did not want her there. If he does then he believes she is very capable of playing out of that location. The timing of entry passes to both Kiah and Stewie in the low post was out of sync. This has been an issue in the early season almost every year. Guards need to be prepared to deliver the entry pass as soon as the post player shows them their numbers. And post players need to be aware of whether the guard is ready or in a position to deliver the ball.
 
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It's clear there are things Uconn needs to work on this season, but if there is a rematch in the NCAA tournament, my money is still on the Huskies.

Couple of game points

After Nurse and Tuck fouled out that's where Uconn lost the game imo. They are two of the better defenders on the team and despite some bad shooting earlier in the game, Morgan is a very calm and poised player and I noticed her rallying her teammates quite a few times on the court. I love her game and once she get's back in "game" shape she will be a force.
 
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What I took from the game:

1. Competitive games are good for both teams. UConn and Stanford and women BB all benefit.
2. Uconn does not need to be the best team in November, we need to be the best team in March-April.
3. Nurse and Chong were great!!! Stewie will be double or triple guarded.
4. UConn can used this loss to fix their problems.
5. KML and MoJeff will be fine.

Frankly the blowouts bore me to death.
 

JoePgh

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I think everything is fixable. The question is whether it is fixable in two and a half weeks before the Notre Dame game. It would not be good for UConn to have two losses before the end of 2014.

BTW, I thought KML's offense was about what you would expect, given the way she was being guarded. Her defense against guards like Orrange was also what you might expect, but I'm surprised that the help wasn't there. Help defense against penetration seemed to be seriously bad all night. Either Tara found a flaw in Geno's scheme, or something hasn't been learned yet, but we're not used to seeing even good guards penetrate so effectively to the rim against UConn's defense.

Overall, I thought the shortcoming was on defense, not on offense. UConn scored 40 points in the first half against a very good defensive team.
 
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Kiah would not be in the high post if Geno did not want her there. If he does then he believes she is very capable of playing out of that location. The timing of entry passes to both Kiah and Stewie in the low post was out of sync. This has been an issue in the early season almost every year. Guards need to be prepared to deliver the entry pass as soon as the post player shows them their numbers. And post players need to be aware of whether the guard is ready or in a position to deliver the ball.
Feeding the post is a bit of a lost skill. I doubt many of these players did a lot of passing to the post on their HS or travel teams. Still should not be an excuse. What I have not seen on this site was a mention of how good a passer Bria Hartley was for this team.
 

msf22b

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Kiah would not be in the high post if Geno did not want her there. If he does then he believes she is very capable of playing out of that location.

Surely true
But either a mistake by the staff or a work in progress.
Surely both are true but I would emphasize the former.

Kiah (at this moment) is more of an asset closer to the bucket.
And may never be the high post presence that we had formerly.
And running the 13-14 offense with her subbing for Stef may be a non-starter.

But of course, if she does become effective in this role , it will make her and the team so much better.
but my contrarian view is that she was just mis-cast.

Tara was better in figuring what she had to work with and planned accordingly.
But remember, she had the whole summer to do it.
And Geno didn't.
 
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