UConn Women Edge St. Francis by 88 Points
It was nip and tuck almost the whole way last weekend in the women’s March Madness tournament game between UConn and St. Francis.
UConn just couldn’t shake St. Francis.
That was, until the end when they pulled away and won by 88 points, 140 to 52 – the widest margin of victory in the history of the women’s NCAA basketball tournament.
“We had a tough time getting our shots off against the stiff St. Francis defense,” said UConn coach Geno Auriemma. “They really made us work the ball around and made it difficult to get our fast break going. That was one of the toughest teams we’ve played all year and I wouldn’t want to go up against them again. They’re a dangerous team.”
St. Francis kept the UConn women off balance with their tight man to man defense and great hustle getting back to slow down the UConn fast break. They played a solid all-around basketball game on offense, defense, and special teams.
“We felt good about the way we competed and held UConn in check most of the game,” said the St. Francis coach, Joe Haigh. “It was only later in the game when they pulled ahead of us by 60, 70 and then 88 points, and that speaks to how well we competed earlier in the game. It was one of the most competitive games we’ve played all season and we can build on this performance heading into next year.”
The coach did acknowledge that his team’s shooting was a little off. The squad attempted 57 3-pointers and made 10.
Through gutsy determination, UConn did find some openings in the St. Francis defense as the game progressed.
UConn broke the NCAA Tournament record for points in a half (94), points in a quarter (55), and points in the game (140).
But the game felt much closer than that. The scoring differential was deceptive and misleading. This was a competitive basketball game throughout. It’s just that UConn kept scoring every time down the court, then stole the ball from St. Francis 93 times, and when St. Francis did shoot, they almost always missed.
This game is yet another example of the parity in college basketball. On any given day any team can beat any other team. The talent is spread out over so many different teams that every squad has to compete every night or they might get beat by a team that wants it more. UConn just wanted this one more. Had St. Francis been a little more determined and focused, they probably would have won by at least 50 points.