It's hard to imagine coach Geno Auriemma would have much to complain about following the Huskies' 98-60 rout of Tulsa on Wednesday. But Auriemma knows this isn't about one game, but doing what UConn always does: compete for a national title.
Knowing that, it's no surprise that even in cruising to a win, Auriemma wants more form his team, specifically, the bench.
"One of the issues we have with a couple of our bench players is trying to figure out when they are playing well, and that's not a good position to be in for a kid coming off the bench," Auriemma said, via the Hartford Courant. "If you are being asked to do certain things, provide certain things [coming off the bench] and don't have it on a regular basis, that's tough for a coach.
"There are games when we may need some defensive help and that is what guides [Auriemma] into a substitution pattern. Or you may need people to put points on the board. What you'd like are to have options. Right now, the one option we have that we can count on is that Kiah Stokes will come off the bench and block shots, play defense and rebound. That's why her minutes are consistent.
"But for the others [Gabby Williams, Saniya Chong and Courtney Ekmark], it's not a sure thing. And we've addressed it with them if they want to play more. It may not impact our ability to win much, but it's not what this is about. It's about developing, becoming a better player so your role grows. If you want your role to get bigger, it can. If you want it to stay the same, it can. If you want it to diminish, it can.
Auriemma even went George Costanza on us by referring to himself in the third person. "Some people think Coach Auriemma just likes using six or seven players. No, Coach Auriemma likes good players, guys that play hard and contribute all the time. Coach Auriemma like guys that bust their butts all the time, that are reliable and dependable. If Coach Auriemma had 10 of them, like I've had in the past, I'd play all 10 of them. When I have five, I only play five. I hate to disappoint those out there who believe that just because our players are cute and smart, they should all play 25 minutes. That ain't gonna happen."
These are the types of problems most coaches dream about.