What went wrong in UConn's Sweet 16 loss to Ohio State
The Buckeyes' press proved to be too much for UConn to handle as the Huskies make their earliest exit from the tournament since 2005
UConn women’s basketball controlled the opening five minutes of the game against 3-seed Ohio State in the Sweet 16, but it was all Buckeyes from that point on. Turnovers and mental mistakes piled up for the Huskies, leading to their earliest exit from the NCAA Tournament since 2005 in a 73-61 loss.
So what went wrong?
UConn couldn’t handle Ohio State’s press
The Huskies started off the game with a 10-2 run — as many would have expected. When Ohio State missed shots, UConn got the ball into the half court without any trouble and found the looks it wanted on offense. The Huskies couldn’t keep Ohio State from scoring forever, however, and once the Buckeyes found ways to get the ball in the basket, the Huskies started to unravel.
UConn looked unprepared to play against the press and completely unaware of how to navigate it, turning the ball over possession after possession while allowing the Buckeyes to capitalize on the offensive end. The Huskies had 18 turnovers in the first half alone with far fewer made field goals (just 10) than giveaways at the break. They turned the ball over on over 50 percent of their first half possessions.
Nika Mühl, tasked with the primary ball-handler role, struggled the most with seven turnovers. However, every Husky contributed to the failure to execute against Ohio State’s press with every player other than Ayanna Patterson — who played just one minute — accumulating at least two giveaways in the game.
“Well, we had eight in the second half, right? So it just took 'em 20 minutes to remember what we worked on, I guess,” said Geno Auriemma of the first half. “I don't know. I think sometimes when these things happen, the bigness of the moment, you know, it's not like you're getting pressed in a game in January on the road against somebody. You're under pressure now in a regional and you either handle it and we win the game going away or you don't handle it and you lose.”
Despite the improvement in the second half, the first half deficit and pressure proved to be too much for UConn to overcome.
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