Huskies Have 25 Years of Sustained Success - NBC Connecticut
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Huskies Have 25 Years of Sustained Success

UConn's ability to pass -- then score -- sets them apart from other teams



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    The Huskies, as they've done all season, made quick work of their opponent on Saturday. This time, it was St. Francis Brooklyn and it was the NCAA Tournament, but the results were familiar: UConn won going away, 89-33.

    Next up: Rutgers comes to Gampel on Monday night, who will almost certainly be a footnote in the latest title run for the Huskies, which would number ten in the last quarter-century should they win the whole thing again early next month.

    "You could see what they've done for the last 25 years," said John Thurston, the St. Francis Brooklyn coach now in his 42nd season, via the Hartford Courant. "They are a spectacular team. And it's not only because they get talent; they get talent that plays as hard and smart as they do. You can really see the difference."

    Meanwhile, Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer knows her team faces long odds against a Huskies group that has dominated opponents all season long.

    "We've been telling the team there is no sense in trying to understand their offense," Stringer said. "It's precise. You are dealing with concepts, and their kids have great basketball IQs. And that is the first thing that needs to happen if you are a team. Lots of players can score, but they can't pass it to their teammates. He has great players who can score, who can pass, who understand spacing and concepts."

    Rutgers senior Betnijah Laney echoed her coach.

    "They are a great passing team," she said. "So it's a little harder to scout. They have their plays, and they know what to do. ... You have to use defensive keys to stop them. We definitely respect them and what they have done. But are we intimidated? No, not at all. We come in ready to play."

    The ability to share the ball isn't lost on Geno Auriemma during the recruiting process. In fact, it's one of the most important attributes he looks for.

    "You can tell before you even recruit them whether they have any interest in sharing the ball," he said. "We can tell which kids want to be good passers. Some kids just can't pass and never will have the ability to because they don't have the God-given ability to see things. But there are just as many that don't want to pass the ball. Their favorite shot is an uncontested 18-footer and their second favorite is a contested 18-footer."

    You don't see a lot of those at UConn for a reason. Meanwhile, the Huskies haven't lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament since 1992.