After the UConn women's basketball team suffered a 92-81 upset loss to North Carolina State over the weekend, Geno Auriemma — UConn's 11-time national championship-winning head coach — wasn't afraid to call out his players' disappointing performance.
Auriemma's then-No. 2-ranked UConn squad was outclassed on both ends of the floor by then-unranked NC State, which hadn't beaten UConn since the 1988 NCAA Tournament. As Auriemma put it plainly to CT Insider after the game, "Everything they did was better than ours. ... They were just on top of their game more than I remember. We got our asses beat plain and simple."
Geno Auriemma says he told Wes Moore his team is "10 times better than last year"
"Everything they did was better than ours ... They were just on top of their game more than I remember. We got our asses beat plain and simple."
— Maggie Vanoni (@maggie_vanoni) November 12, 2023
What particularly stood out during UConn's shocking loss was their poor play on defense and how affected they were by NC State's physical style of play. The 92 points UConn conceded against NC State were the most given up by a UConn team in a non-overtime game since 2001.
Perhaps the biggest factor in UConn's defensive failure was being in constant foul trouble, as four out of five UConn starters racked up at least four fouls during the game, with one starter fouling out.
Auriemma saw this collapse as a lack of maturity.
"We weren't mature enough to handle it," he said postgame about his team. He then took his criticism a step further: "We've got a s—- attitude towards rebounding ... and that's got to change."
Geno Auriemma criticizes his team's rebounding and mindset:
"Getting rebounds is just an attitude, and we've got a s---ty attitude towards rebounding because it's hard work. It's hard work and everybody's gotta be engaged in it. That has to change, period." pic.twitter.com/QYsVR3jztC
— UConn on SNY (@SNYUConn) November 13, 2023
Harsh words from the legendary coach.
Yet Auriemma knows just as well as anyone that one loss doesn't define a team and there is still plenty of season for his UConn squad to, well, get their s—- together.
"Losses aren't bad. But losses give you an opportunity to self-criticize, self-evaluate, and decide and realize: What is it that we have to get way, way, way better at," Auriemma said. "Sometimes it's things you didn't know. And sometimes it's things you've been afraid and hope they don't happen. Sometimes you take a lot of positives out of a loss."
UConn — which dropped to No. 8 in the rankings after the NC State loss — will get a chance Thursday to show they've improved when they take on No. 20-ranked Maryland at home. One would imagine that Auriemma's players will be eager to grab more rebounds, remain out of foul trouble and display more-mature play — if only to avoid their head coach calling them out again.
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