Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Monday, April 05, 2004

Which is more difficult emotionally: losing by a lot or a little?

Minnesota is proud of the way it kept fighting back. At times in the game, it looked like it could be a 30-point UConn win. But the Gophers refused to go away, and they gave themselves chances to win.

"I'm very proud of our team for surviving the punches and coming back and still having a chance to win," coach Pam Borton said.

Yet at the same time, because they had a chance down the stretch, the Gophers will be left wondering about what might have been.

"We were going into the game talking about how we have to box out," Kadidja Andersson said. "But we didn't manage to do that." "I wish we could have gotten a defensive rebound when we needed it,'' said Whalen. "We couldn’t convert some things that we normally do," said Bolden.

As Pam Schmid says, "A key rebound, a made layup, a called foul -- all or any of those might have made it a different game at the end." But none of that happened, in part because the Huskies executed better and hustled more, in part because the ball just bounced the other way.

UConn played its best basketball at the most important moments in the game. Ann Strother made the biggest play at the biggest moment, hitting a three when Minnesota had momentum and was threatening to tie the game.

"[T]hat was the most emotional game I've played in," said Strother. "We jump on them, they come back. It's trading baskets until the last six minutes. Whew. We're emotionally exhausted."

Geno had kind words for Minnesota after the game. "Lindsay Whalen is as good a player as I've had the pleasure of coaching against. And Janel McCarville is just one of the toughest kids in America. To beat them today is as gratifying as anything that we have ever done at the University of Connecticut."

But again, it's cold comfort, the only kind you have after a season-ending loss.