Midway through the season, and after the Duke win in particular, it's a fair question to ask: is senior Kelly Faris an All-American?
The obvious answer is: "Yeah, duh." But that's only for people who have watched her on a regular basis, and remember how she has evolved from a role player alongside Maya Moore into the heart and soul of one of Geno Auriemma's most talented teams.
But that's the thing about Faris; her value can't be measured solely by a stat sheet. She's averaging 10.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game. Good numbers, but not great. At least not when considered in a vacuum. Because what Faris brings to the Huskies extends beyond the measurable.
Auriemma is convinced that Faris is an All-American and thinks the senior from Indiana could be selected to the ten-player WBCA All-American squad in April. But he understands better than anyone that it won't be easy.
“A lot of it depends on what kind of team you’re coming from,” the coach said, according to SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “It goes way beyond the numbers. Some people just impact the game in such a way that the numbers only tell not even half the story. That’s what Kelly is.”
And that can't be emphasized enough. Whether it'll make a difference when Faris is being considered for for a spot at the expense of another player who lights up the scoreboard every time she takes the floor is another matter. In fact, the only two UConn players to earn such honor while averaging fewer than 14.0 points per game were Jen Rizzotti, now the coach at Hartford, and Svetlana Abrosimova.
“With Jennifer it was because what happened the previous year, all the attention she got being the point guard and leader of our team, and she had the ball in her hands all the time,” Auriemma said. “For some people, they see it. They can look at someone and they say ‘Wow.’ Then there are others that no matter how much you try to convince them they’ll never see it. That’s why when people vote for things you’re not quite sure. You can’t put your trust in it.”
What Auriemma does trust, however, is Faris to show up every night. And that -- not individual honors -- is all she's worried about.
“That’s not my focus,” Faris said. “My focus isn’t about the accolades outside of winning a national championship. The individual stuff? Yeah, it’s great and there are people that are deserving of it. But is it in the back of my mind that that’s what I want? I come out here and I try to do what Coach asks me to do and what the team needs."