By Carl Adamec
HARTFORD, Conn. — Kelly Faris was all smiles Monday with people wishing her an early Happy Birthday. The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team’s senior guard turns 22 Wednesday.
And while Faris is certainly pleased that the third-ranked Huskies pulled out a 72-58 Big East win over No. 15 Louisville at the XL Center Tuesday night, a part of her stat line may put a damper on any celebration. That’s just how she is.
Faris, the nation’s leader in assist-to-turnover ratio, had seven assists against the Cardinals but also matched her career high of seven turnovers in 36 minutes. She entered the game averaging one turnover every 25.0 minutes this season. She had one every 5.1 minutes Tuesday night. Most of her miscues came on passes into the post to center Stefanie Dolson.
“You know, it’s good to be tough and it’s good to be determined,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “But it’s not good to be stubborn and hard-headed. Like if that pass ain’t going to work, it ain’t going to work the first time, the second time or the third time.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and nothing surprises me anymore. I see things that I don’t think I’ll ever see anything like it. Then you see it. I used to get real upset about it. But you know what? They don’t get upset about it. You should see the kids on the bench. You just threw two bounce passes to a 6-foot-5 kid that you make her get on her hands and knees to catch it … ‘You got it Kel.’ Got what? What? I don’t get it. I can’t even understand it. So I just sit down.
“Look, Kelly takes it hard. She’s hard on herself. I know she’s miserable right now because that’s not who she is.”
On the bright side for Faris, who was named to the Big East honor roll Monday, her seven assists give her 462 for her career and she moved past assistant coach Shea Ralph for 12th on UConn’s all-time list. Her two steals tied her with Ketia Swanier for ninth all-time with 247. She trails Rita Williams by one and Ralph by five. And her 13-point effort was her career-best seventh straight double-figure scoring performance. She now needs 121 points to reach 1,000 in her career.
Ironically, Faris’ other seven-turnover game came exactly two years earlier on Jan. 15, 2011, against Louisville at the XL Center.