Geno Auriemma cites ‘s—ty coaching’ for UConn basketball woes

(Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

UConn head coach Geno Auriemma is placing the blame on himself when it comes to his team’s recent performance against Oregon. The Huskies lost 72-59 to the Ducks on Monday night.

Auriemma cited his team’s poor guard play as part of the issues that led to the Huskies’ loss.

“Our really good guards are not playing,” he said. “From a coaching standpoint, it’s been s—ty coaching, by far the worst it’s ever been, and it shows up.”

In the second quarter, UConn scored only 10 points. They committed 19 turnovers throughout the game, which Oregon scored 21 points off of. From beyond the arc, the Huskies made just 3 of 18 3-pointers.

“We can’t shoot,” Auriemma said. “And when you’re playing a team that’s going to play 40 minutes of zone, you’ve got to make outside shots.

“I just want them to make some outside shots, Christ almighty.”

Defensively, the Huskies were sound, grabbing 27 rebounds. They held Oregon to just 10 points in the fourth quarter.

“Defensively, I think we did a pretty decent job, but once we stopped scoring, I think we got demoralized a little bit that we couldn’t get a shot to drop and now we’ve got to go back on defense,” Auriemma said.

As has been the story all season, UConn was playing with a depleted roster. On top of the absence of Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd, the team was without guard Christyn Williams, who is out due to COVID-19 protocols. In the lead up to Monday’s game, Williams had been playing some of her best basketball. Through 12 games this season she averaged 14.6 points, second on the team behind Bueckers, who has been out with a knee injury since early December. Over the last two games, she had been averaging 19 points.

“It’s another unfortunate blow to an already challenging season, especially when I thought Christyn was playing … at a really high level, and she had put together a bunch of really good games,” Auriemma said. “It’s another punch in the gut for our team, for everybody.”

Senior Olivia Nelson-Ododa had a good showing, contributing 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The performance earned praise from Auriemma.

“We got the ball inside a bunch, and I thought Liv played a great game. I really did,” Auriemma said. “But we needed more help.”

Help may be on the way, as Auriemma revealed postgame that Fudd is coming along in her rehab and will be able to begin doing workouts again. On Sunday, he said that Bueckers came off of her crutches last week and is back shooting. Bueckers is estimated to be back in February after having surgery to repair an anterior tibial plateau fracture on Dec. 14.

UConn will look to rebound against Seton Hall on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.