Once the dust has settled and the NC game is in the rear view mirror, wouldn't you rather be playing Muffet's hand than Geno's? Better conference, better recruits in the next class, a first rate image, and with Skylar showing what can be accomplished at ND?
ND may have lost the game, but it seems to me one program has a very bright future and the other -- well, what else is it other than just Geno?
long before ND, Louisville, etc ramped up their programs. ND benefited greatly from the move to the Big East and playing against UCONN. Beating powerhouse UCONN the last 7 out of 9 games helped ND gain respect nationally.
Moving to the ACC should help ND recruiting, but UCONN staying in a new league, even if it is not a premier league for WBB, won't hurt Geno's recruiting one bit. It may hurt attendance at games and on TV as 40-60 pt blowouts are boring to watch. He'll need to schedule some tough non-conference teams just to test his players and entice fans to come to the games. He won't need them for consideration for a NCAA Tourney berth. His team is too good for the NCAA to ignore or disrespect.
Remember, UCONN WBB has dominated ACC teams of late. So Muffet should take what she has learned from playing UCONN in the Big East to the ACC with her and she could have ND dominating WBB in the ACC for many years. But even that won't mean she can easily beat any UCONN team in the future.
UCONN WBB doesn't strive to be better than any other team. Geno is a John Wooden fan and his team strives to play perfect basketball in practice and in games.
ND, Rutgers and WVU entered in 1996-97 and while UConn did have a hold on the Big East (only one NC at that time, though), they did have some competition. Miami was pretty strong for a while and Seton Hall even made a Sweet Sixteen.
"I wonder how much Geno used "Freshman POY" award to Loyd to motivate Stewart."
Beanna was the pre-season favorite for that award. Lloyd earned it during the course of the year. Lloyd was consistently good as a freshman player during the season and in the BET; whereas, Stewart went through ups and downs. Stewart started strong against subpar teams, faded during tough games in the middle of the season and then re-hit her stride in the NCAA tourney.
Stewart deserves credit for turning her game around. Lloyd was good thru the NCAA Tourney til last night. But you can't win NC's hoping your Freshmen players will lead you. Freshmen are supporting members. Even though Stewart scored more than KML, the latter was the experienced player who got most of the defensive attention because she is the most dangerous player on UCONN's roster. She can hit 3's like other players hit uncontested layups. KML actually changed her offensive strategy last night from camping beyond the 3 pt line to taking the ball to the hoop for better percentage shots or drawing fouls.
Lloyd had a bad game, but Diggins and McGride were the team leaders and they succumbed to the pressure.
I would take Dolson, Stewart and Tuck over any of our group. That's not to knock Achonwa, Braker or Wright, they have developed into nice players. However, on this elite level the gap in talent really showed. Our best rebounders are McBride and Loyd which is why we got killed on the boards last night.
I have no problem saying we got beat by the better team. It is truly a testament to the players and the coach that we went 3-1 against them this year. My only disappointment is that we played out of control and lost our heads, which were the reasons why we won the other three games. It was our basketball savvy and execution that won those games, which we did not get last night.
You have to tip your hat to UConn and hope that the new recruits live up to their billing.
For all of our terrible rebounding last night, we still outrebounded them. Which is somewhat amazing given how many missed shots ND had. We took 74 shots to their 62, yet still outrebounded them.
A couple were a little fluky too where a long rebound bounced to Farris or Stewart and they hit a shot.
After watching last night, I think the failure of Diggins, Kayla, and Jewell to hit shots and the frequency of their turnovers had a much greater impact on the loss versus our size differential.
Sytewart is a hybrid - certainly not a classic big like Achonwa and Dolson.
Natalie played poorly by fumbling the ball. I think she had a bad game. I look for more improvement in the next year. Maybe further develop her range on he r shot, improve lateral quickness and work on the hands.
She is a very good rebounder, a great passer for a big, and she has very good touch mid-range. And she is decent around the hoop on O. She's pretty good and I would take her over Dolson any day.
Yes, Achonwa can certainly improve the range on her shot. Basketball players typically don't make big strides in "hands" or lateral quickness. Those are skills you generally have or you don't.
I agree that Achonwa is a really good passer and McGraw uses her well in that capacity. But Dolson changes the game by simply being in the lane and putting her hands up. She moves pretty well and has very nice touch around the basket with both hands. The number of blocked shots she had last night and, more importantly, the number of times she changed shots or made us rush attempts altered the complexion of the game.
I also think Tuck is going to be really good as well. I can see that being more of a point of argument because my observations are based on limited minutes, but she has a nice basketball sense and plays within herself while showing the requisite tenacity.
Granted UConn's offense is different than ours as Natalie's goal to run the pick and roll and clean up the glass but Dolson's ability to block shots and stretch the floor would help on our cuts.
the 4 games she was the leading rebounder easily and outscored the other names. Now stewart is a 3 in a 5's body which makes for an incredible player and why she was consensus hs POY. she will be labron good on a women's scale by the time she leaves college.
get much bigger if they ever want to win another NC. Way too small. Our center looked so small compared to UConn's.
Muffet is a great coach but as Brian Kelly figured out a while ago, you better recruit some 'Big Skill'. You can't always rely on out-executing opponents.
I felt so bad for Skylar. If she only had a center with some height. Oh well, hopefully she'll have that in the WNBA.
Great season girls! You made us proud!
Irish rebounded well enough last night.
In an unusual twist, each team outrebounded the other on its own offensive end.
Irish 28-23 on its end. UConn 18-15 on its end. The difference was that, due to height and girth, UConn easily converted their 18 off rebounds into 20 points while the Irish converted 28 into only 17 points. ND had several putbacks blocked (12 blocks for UConn to just 5 by ND, 3 by Diggins).
They got outrebounded at key times of the game. Every time they started to make a run UConn got more than one chance at the offensive end and the Free throw miss and eventual rebound killed us. I have never figured out how that is not a lane violation but she clearly left on the release which is not the rules and as quick and athletic as she is gives the players such an advantage.
Why would leaving on the release be a lane violation? That is when you are allowed to enter the paint unless the rules have changed. Did you mean before the release?
According to the ESPN box score we had a total of 12 defensive rebounds all game on 33 missed shots by Connecticut. That simply is not good enough. The one sequence when I knew it was over occurred when we had cut the second half lead to six, but gave up three possessions on the next trip due to our lack of rebounding. UConn scored and really sapped our will at that point.
I don't blame the players or the coaching. UConn's front court was bigger and more athletic which is a problem that can only be fixed through recruiting.
I just don't understand how FG% wasn't the difference in the game.
The poor shooting was a problem that contributed to the loss. But the absolute lack of any response to Stewart going off was I think a bigger contributing factor. She far exceeded her production in last night's game compared to the prior games against ND.
That was the one coaching issue I saw last night. You can be surprised by her production in the first half. But after the first half, try something to get her out her rhthym. We did not make it tough on her at all as we were letting her spot up and shoot wherever she wanted. I expect tightness/pressure to lead to poor shooting. I was surprised at the lack of a response to Stewart after the first half.
If she is held to 10 or 15 points, it is a different ball game. Even with the poor shooting we were down 6 with 6 minutes left. We couldn't get rebounds when we needed them.
What did Muffet do different to win that game? I love her coaching style, the team and Notre Dame, but last night the meaner Dog won the bone. They wanted it more, prepared for it more and were not going to be denied it in anyway. We did absolutely nothing to surprise them, rattle them or even try to disrupt their rhythm. Our guards were bullied the entire game by better athletes, not basketball players and I believe that Geno saved this for the tournament knowing that we couldn't handle it.
I think the margin between the two teams was razor thin. Yes, we won the 3 prior meetings, but those were extremely close games decided at the end. The one area I thought we could have done better in terms of the in game adjustments was forcing Stewart out of her comfort zone.
We are a good defensive team and yet had no answers for her. Yuo can always defend when your offense isn't working. We dared her to shoot set shots and didn't force her to dribble much to create her shot. More aggressive, rotating defense on her would have been something to try. Force her to put the ball on the floor and see if she continued to make shots.
We did seem tight and let the pressure get to us as the game wore on, so if you want to say we could have prepared differently--perhaps. We had been there the 2 prior years so none of that should have been a surprise except to Lloyd. poor shooting and no defense on Stewart were the killers last night.
that she's a great coach. Where Geno kills her is in recruiting. The only truly elite players she lands are from Indiana or Chicago. If an elite recruit isn't in Muffet's backyard, she doesn't get her.
I don't know which recruiting services are the best for WBB, however ESPN lists ND with 3 top 100 players for next year with two of them being 6'3. They are ranked #4, #25, #39. Hopefully these last few deep runs in the tournament are paying off on the recruiting trail. By comparison(at least on the ESPN list) UConn only has 1 top 100 player at #75.
but UConn had 1, 2 & 6 last year (Loyd was #4)
So for the 2 years, it's like this:
UCONN 1, 2, 4, 75
ND 4, 33 (Mabrey), 52 (Huffman) 4, 25, 39
ND got 6 good players but UConn got 3 of the top 5 while the Irish only got 2 in the top 5.
UConn recruiting is the top of the women's game no doubt. I was just trying to point out that not only does ND have some great talent coming in but they have height as well. This year they only had two players who were 6'2 or taller, next year they will have 4. UConn had 5 players 6'2 or taller on this year's roster. As others have mentioned and I agree with, height has killed ND recently.
3 of the top 39 in 2014 class, including #7 & #8
as it enters conference no man's land.
along with their football team.
The advantage on the men's bb side is that their pool of talent is wider and deeper than the women's bb talent pool, so a good MBB coach can take unheralded but solid bb players and turn them into championship contenders.
When UCONN was steamrolling all the BE teams, he still got great recruits coming. Right now Geno can say to a top notch recruit that if they want to win championships, he knows how to do it and shape them into All Americans. He also knows how to defeat ACC teams and teams from other top notch conferences. It doesn't matter which conference UCONN is in. It only matters how well the players live up to his ideal of perfect basketball. That's the standard UCONN players play to.
Muffet can't quite say that, but she can say that she knows how to defeat UCONN and it took the coach of the top notch program 9 tries to figure out how to defeat Diggins & Co.
What will help ND is when the pool of talent gets wider and deeper so that not every top notch recruit can't find a spot on UCONN's roster. That will spread the wealth of talent around. Before UCONN, Tenn dominated WBB because Summit did what Geno is doing now. Today, Tenn is just another good team. When Geno retires, UCONN will fall back to Earth for a while, even if Jen Rizzoti takes over as head coach. Rizzoti knew Geno's system as a player, but taking over the recruiting tasks from Geno will be difficult because she only won 1 championship as a player and hasn't done it as a head coach at Hartford herself.
Muffet may need to recruit more foreign nationals to find height. Other schools are doing it, but I don't know if ND's recruiting budget can afford it.
Teams like North Carolina and Duke have great recruits coming in and along with ND will be a dominant force the next few years.
than their competition. When you compare income for Athletic Depts ND has to have a ton more money than UConn. It seems to me that we should be able to have recruiting budgets for all of our sports that are at least as good as our competition.
Next year we'll have players from Georgia, Maryland, California, and Pennsylvania on the roster, in addition to ones from more local states. Muffet has explicitly stated in interviews that she wants to get the best 'local' players to come to ND. Recruiting budget-wise, I think she gets whatever she asks for. No?
whereas, ND is a football one and football is more expensive than basketball.
UCONN has a football team but is 2nd tier at best in Div I right now.
I don't know how ND's WBB budget compares to UCONN's, but generally state schools have larger budgets and income than small private schools, like ND. ND is probably in the top 5 among private schools their size, but state schools are generally bigger than ND.
a program that routinely signs a couple of top 10 or better kids a year and 3-4 top 20 kids a year, the level of recruiting you reference isn't going to get it done.
I am not disputing your point however it appears, at least with the 2013 class, that Muffet may have turned the corner into elite recruiting where she could challenge UConn on a recruiting basis. If 2014 recruiting matches the 2013 level then she would be in that territory. Two of those top 40 players that she got this year are 6'3 so she is finally getting some elite size. My point is that it appears that these final four runs are starting to pay off and recruiting is getting better. I think Raoul made a good point about going to point A to B to C and now the program is on the cusp of the elite "D" status.
If the 2014 recruiting doesn't match 2013 then I fully agree that ND recruiting is not there yet.
at Point D for a long time. We are the best of the Point C programs right now it would seem.
I think it is more likely that UConn drops back to being a top C than stays at Point D given the conference upheaval in the short run. More and more schools are improving in WBB and eventually they won't be able to cherry pick across the country. Della Donne's success may embolden more to stay home. Yeah she didn't win it all. But she was on TV yesterday and will get drafted #2 and had fun in college.
The term "The Rich Get Richer" is more evident in Women's basketball then it is in football or Men's basketball. When Geno makes statements about their 7 titles to our one it's about recruiting. No different than rival football coaches refusing to say there was a mystique about ND football. No different than Muffet saying our Final Four appearences put us among the elite. They are speaking to recruits.
Pre-Skylar and the wins over UConn in the semi's, Tennessee was walking into Indiana and Chicago and getting whatever they wanted. With Summit gone UConn was going to fill that void. Farris grew up a ND football fan and never seriously (she said in an article) considered ND. I have no doubt that were it not for those wins Loyd would have been in a UConn jersey last night and Reimer would be on the way.
It was a huge win for UConn. Not only because it puts them in position for another title but slowed the Irish encroaching on recruits from even
Do you have inside information, or are you speculating?
Loyd was one of UConns targets. She took an unofficial visit. The current coach at Depaul had more of a connection with her whe she was young than ND or Muffet did. They were never seriously considered.
I don't believe she would have picked ND without seeing success on the court. Just like Candace Parker did not.
attended Connecticut had ND not beaten them twice in the semis. That can't be correct, because Loyd signed her letter of intent with ND months before the second semifinal win.
My information about her recruiting is certainly far from first hand. But, I never heard that Connecticut was one of her final choices.
"I have no doubt that were it not for those wins Loyd would have been in a UConn jersey last night and Reimer would be on the way."
I suppose it does take a leap of faith to believe that UConn or Tennessee would be involved with a top 5 recruit. Or that Final Four appearences and winning matter to the recruit.
Does the best with what she has available.
If Notre Dame's women's hoops is already the giant money pit some on Rock's House claim, then you have to wonder if Swarbrick would give McGraw the budget to expand her recruiting territory to UConn's dimensions.
can send as many out to see and meet with as many girls as uconn can. Recruiting budget is a non factor. We have never lost a recruit because we did not have enough money to make our contacts. We may have lost some because we were outhustled or because we lied less or had more stringent academic restraints or were out cheated or had a lousier location but not because we did not have enough budget.
And the only reason ND loses recruits is because she is too much of the former, and though a liar, she loses recruits to other schools because their coaches are slightly bigger liars.
As somebody else in this thread has already alluded, UConn's seven national championships dwarf our single national championship.
I strongly suspect that Auriemma has a larger recruiting budget, but he could probably get away with a smaller one. Much like the case many, many years ago with Notre Dame football, the player doesn't pick the school, the school picks the player.
Notre Dame has made great strides on the court and has improved in recruiting. Take a look at how many times Notre Dame made the Big East tournament semifinals between 2002 and 2009, and also check out how many all-conference and all-tournament players Notre Dame had during that stretch. It's pretty sobering.
Hopefully, Notre Dame will better leverage its awesome run over the past four years than it did its 2001 national championship. There is every indication that Notre Dame is doing so, but anybody who didn't think UConn had more talent and more depth than Notre Dame last night was watching a different game.
To my eye, this group of players (including those who graduated last year) and this coaching staff got as much as humanly possible out of their considerable talent.
The biggest factor, especially initially, but I am certain that is a major plus when Geno can get far-flung players like KM-L (CA), Caroline Doty (FL), and Maya Moore (MO) to Storrs for the personal treatment, and/or Geno and/or his assistant (Chris something-or-other?) Flying to meet a recruit and her parents.
For example, even given the oppulent splendor and advantages of Notre Dame football, the commits almost always take one or two visits before committing, and Kelly and his assistants travel continously to charm potential recruits.
that I hoped I was wrong, but I didn't think ND could beat Uconn on Sunday. Uconn's elite youngsters were hitting their stride, and Muffet had no answers for that on her roster.
Muffet has picked up her recruiting, but she still hasn't landed a verbal from an elite big, and if you look at next year's recruiting, Geno is rolling while Muffet has a verbal from one girl ranked around 27th.
Unfortunately for Muffet, when you have a thin roster comprised of mostly kids outside the top 20(minus Skylar) and play in the Final 4 against a program loaded with top 10 or better kids who are hitting their stride, you're probably going to lose.
Muffet can coach. The question is, how high can she raise the recruiting bar? I find it ironic that both hoops coaches at ND would probably tell us off the record that the toughest part of their jobs is recruiting.
can and will adapt over time. She will make changes and she will improve the team/coaching/scheme/players etc.
Thpigh not screamer, her style is much more Brian Kelly than Mike Brey. I think at some point in the next 4 years we'll have a team better than this one was.
were saying before the start of the season that we were a year away from being a Final 4 team.
We lose one in Skylar and gain two more. UConn has 9 McD AAs on their current roster
With Stewart playing at that level, I think it's possible for Notre Dame to beat UConn, but as you and many observed, UConn was a considerably different team once Stewart hit her stride.
Notre Dame would have needed to play a near-perfect game to beat UConn.
Frankly, UConn has an embarrassment of riches, and Auriemma has the luxury of figuring out which of his megastars are best-suited to playing as a team.
Don't get me wrong, that's no easy task -- and he's pretty damn good at it.
But it must be nice to be able to run in elite recruit after elite recruit trying to find the right combination, whether in the course of a single game or the course of a season.
Muffet, on the other hand, has to extract maximum production from a relative handful of players. She's pretty damn good at that, too.