What you may not know is that Auriemma feels more comfortable using a tighter rotation. But there is a downside to that, as well.
"You know you are going to get good ball movement because there is an easy chemistry [on the floor]," Auriemma said. "The players [that play regularly] know each other very well and they know where the ball is going when they move it. It's like boom-boom-boom. That's the plus side.
"But we really can't play the way I want us to play unless we can get up to 10 players in the game. When you play a minimum of eight or nine players, the ball movement can get crazy at times. It can create some bad combinations out there, some guys who aren't quite sure what to do with the ball and it can mess things up for everyone else.
"So we spent a lot of time, every day, on making sure our combinations are right and that the younger players are in with those veterans who can help them out. We are leading the country in assists and field goal percentage [before Thursday's game against Penn State] so we are there. We're just not there, yet."
He used basically seven players in Thursday's 67-52 win and said there was a reason for it.
"There is a big gap between our top four players and the next four or five," Auriemma said. "The average person thinks our second five can go to the Final Four. Our second five couldn't be a good intramural team here at UConn at times with the way they run offense."
People Are Watching
SNY released its first ratings numbers of the season and says the numbers for women's basketball are up 14 percent in the Hartford-New Haven demographic area. The Huskies are averaging a 5.14 household rating over the first five games, previous to Thursday's broadcast. Their highest rating was for the Nov. 23 game against Marist from the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, which drew a 5.86. … Thursday's Penn State game was the 11th between the programs, but the first played on a home site in the last eight, including four in the NCAA Tournament. The teams play next season in State College, Pa., and both coaches have said they would like the series to continue. "I think it is a natural," Auriemma said. "We are both East Coast schools, Coquese [Washington] recruits the kind of players I would recruit. She does things the way I would do them. I really like her. I have gotten to know her as a person and certainly I have coached against her and she has played against us. I really admire her a lot. I think it is a great institution. If that works out, I would love for us to play them." … In five of UConn's first eight games, the Huskies' opponents shot better from three-point range than from inside the arc. Coming into Thursday's game, the Huskies' opponents were shooting significantly better from three (34.8 percent ) than from two-point range (26.8 percent).
Stewart A Scoring Machine
Breanna Stewart scored only seven points Thursday. But she is already making her mark as a historic scorer at UConn. Stewart has scored 121 points in the her first eight games, more than Tina Charles (98), Diana Taurasi (93), Kara Wolters (77), Kerry Bascom (73), Tiffany Hayes (73) and Renee Montgomery (62) had in their first 10. Maya Moore's 165 points are the most scored by any UConn women's player in their first 10 games. Stewart was also averaging 0.72 points per minute, has led the Huskies in scoring in four of the first seven games and was plus-201 points during her time on the floor. "But she has struggled," Auriemma said. "She struggled in the Texas A&M game and against Maryland a bit. And I think that it is good because she now has to come to practice and fight through that." Stefanie Dolson leads the Huskies in that category (plus-227). … Former UConn All-American Sue Bird sat behind the Huskies' bench. She is recovering from hip surgery. … Penn State had a very healthy contingent of fans at the game.