Another one bites the dust. UConn women on to the finals after 106-56 win over ECU.
UNCASVILLE: When the biggest mystery of a game is something that happens during timeouts, you know we are all stretching to find something to write about in yet another non-game story result.
On Sunday night in the American Athletic Conference semifinals, the University of Connecticut Huskies once again trounced an overmatched opponent, this time East Carolina, by a 106-56 final to move onto the championship game on Monday night.
During the game, a strange formation seemed to set up outside each time out the Pirates took.
Three members of the ECU staff stood, in a Royal Guard kind of set up, blocking the Huskies view of what was going on in the Pirates sideline.
What on earth could they have been doing? Did they think the Huskies were listening in during their private time, even when they went down 14-4 early, part of an astounding 62-22 first half to the defending champions?
During the post-game press conference (in which it is becoming harder and harder to come up with questions), UConn head coach Geno Auriemma was asked if he knew what was going in the ultra-secretive 60-second meeting.
“I have never seen anything like that in my 40 years,” Auriemma said. “It was like they were ordered not to smile or anything, but one guy did have to look away.”
Maybe the Pirates are looking to get under the skin of the Huskies and to that point, perhaps they should worry more about what happens on the court than off.
Once again, UConn was simply dominant, something we know has been said for a while, but it remains the same.
Five Huskies finished in double figures, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis led all scorers with 21, including five of seven three point attempts, while Moriah Jefferson added 20 along with six assists.
Mosqueda-Lewis moved within a dozen three-pointers of the all-time NCAA record of 392 and has now made nine of 16 attempts during these first two days of the AAC Tournament.
Two plays define just why the Huskies are who they are and your team isn’t.
Both involved Jefferson, who is simply playing at a level unknown to most mortal men or women.
The first sequence went something like this, if I could go with a little play by play.
“Jefferson brings the ball up, starts to fall, still falling, but manages to get a pass of to Stewart underneath. Stewart looks to pass the ball along the baseline, but the ball slips out of her hands and is heading out of bounds, but wait, Stewart saves it and flips it high towards the back court where Jefferson makes the save near the midcourt line. Jefferson goes cross court to a wide open Mosqueda-Lewis who drains a three just before the shot clock expires.”
Okay, not Bob Joyce and Deb Fiske like but it’ll do.
The second was even more remarkable considering UConn was up by nearly 50 in the second half, a half the Pirates actually made respectable with a 34-point effort after the miserable first half.
UCU had put on something of a full court press against the Huskies but time after time, Jefferson would slice through it like butter. Normally if four defenders are on you, one might look to get rid of the ball but for Jefferson it’s just that much more fun to maneuver around you like you like you were standing still.
Celebrating her 21st birthday in style, the junior guard was happy with her team’s play, especially in the opening minutes of the game when their first seven baskets came via the lay-up route.
“They were being very aggressive,” Jefferson said. “So any time somebody is guarding you that hard, you want to try and drive and go by them.”
Go by them well they did.
Even with their second consecutive blowout, the senior leader with the sweet stroke still had things she wanted her team to work on.
“Every game we try and work on things we can do better,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “Whether it’s defensively or offensively just find the flow of each other and we definitely try and build on that. Especially after how we came out and played these first two games, we want to come out tomorrow and hopefully play even better. ”
That would certainly fall under the good luck with that category for the team that lines up at 7 p.m. here Monday night.
NOTES: Auriemma doesn’t buy the thought that the AAC is a bad league and points to another for his point.
“What’s the difference if it’s a 40-point blowout or you win every game,” Auriemma said. “Like is the ACC really competitive? Notre Dame has lost one game in two years. So in our league, if you take us out of the league, this league is pretty competitive.”