The Huskies worked out at Cal today, preparing for their 7 p.m. Sunday game against the Golden Bears.
The team stands at 12-4 overall, and 4-1 in Pac-10 play after the 58-56 loss at Stanford on Sunday. With the regular season now halfway through, and the conference season just about one-third through, I asked coach Lorenzo Romar for his take on the team at this point:
"The most disappointing thing is that we haven’t been able to finish some losses, including our game last night. Aside from that, I’ve been really pleased with this team.
"This team has done a really good job of trying to pay attention and get better every day. There are some areas we were deficient in early – rebounding, half-court execution – that we got better at, it’s helped us win games. The sweep in L.A. was huge for us and our future in this program. There have been a lot of bright spots individually and as a team. So overall, I am pleased with our progress.
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"Who knows what’s going to happen (Sunday). But if we are able to get something done, you’re talking 5-1 with four of your first six on the road. That’s a good way to start, and those teams have to come back to us. Other than (Thursday), we’ve been ahead at half every game. All of our games in our losses have been close. I just think we’ve played good basketball, but it’s disappointing we don’t have more win to show for it."
One of the reasons they don't, of course, is that they weren't able to close out games with key shots or key plays against Kentucky, Michigan State, Texas A&M, and now Stanford. I asked if play down the stretch -- especially shooting and the apparent lack of a regular go-to guy -- is a problem.
"You know what the common denominator has been? Rebounding down the stretch," he said. "Last night, whether we lost concentration or whatever it was, we gave up a 10-point lead with 10 minutes to go. That game still came down to a couple of mixed box outs. And when we lost to Michigan State and Kentucky, it came down to a couple of mixed box outs at the end of the game. We’re a better rebounding team now, but we still have to down the stretch do those type things.
"Since Texas A&M we’ve made plays down the stretch, we’ve made baskets down the stretch."