HARTFORD— In the midst of the history the UConn Huskies women’s basketball team made Tuesday night, there is some unfortunate news for a team that is already a little short on bench depth.
Freshman point guard Crystal Dangerfield will take two weeks off as a precautionary measure following an apparent foot injury that has been bothering her for some time, according to head coach Geno Auriemma. The injury will not require surgery.
“Crystal’s not playing for the next two weeks.” Auriemma said in a statement during the press conference following the win over USF. “She has a thing in her foot that we have to keep an eye on and today was going to be her last game for a while if it didn’t respond exactly how we wanted it to. It’s more a of precautionary thing.”
Dangerfield most recently put in a solid performance with five points, two assists and two rebounds in the Huskies’ historic 90th consecutive win against the the Bulls Tuesday night. Dangerfield averages 6.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 22.3 minutes per game, having started in three of her 14 games played this season, and was a key player in the Huskies' win over No. 2 Baylor with a five assists and a career-high 19 points.
Dangerfield’s absence could be felt by the No. 1 team in the nation, which only goes seven players deep on most nights. The only other consistent threat off the bench is center Natalie Butler. In the wake of Dangerfield’s injury, however, freshman guard Molly Bent will be expected to contribute more minutes in the Huskies’ backcourt, and Saniya Chong will likely play more than she already does as a starter.
Chong has experience missing time due to injury. The senior guard missed her fair share of time last season due to an IT band injury, and will not only need to step up in Dangerfield’s absence but also serve as a mentor to help Dangerfield stay focused mentally during her time off.
“I’ve been through it, and it’s not easy,” Chong said. “Just letting her know that we’re always there for her no matter what and just keep your head up, and once you come back, come back with a game.”
Barring a setback, Dangerfield could return Jan. 24 on the road against East Carolina, exactly two weeks after her injury was announced. If Dangerfield is not in the lineup against the Pirates, Dangerfield could take the court at the XL Center against Houston on Jan. 28.
Sports Editor Dan Madigan contributed to this report.