The No. 2 ranked and undefeated UConn Huskies look to win their 80th game in a row, what would be their fifth of the season, against the Chattanooga Mocs Tuesday evening in the first game of the year at the XL Center. Coming into this game, the Huskies have won 111 consecutive games against unranked opponents, 51 straight home games and 23 straight regular season non-conference games.
Riding a four game winning streak and off the heels of an impressive 98-65 over Dayton, sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson has been the star of the UConn squad. She has set a career-high record in terms of points in back-to-back games, scoring 29 points against the Flyers on 10-17 shooting. The Huskies so far have defeated two ranked teams, Baylor and Florida State, while adding to their second longest winning streak in program history.
“It is a tough stretch coming up, Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday and Wednesday,” Head Coach Geno Auriemma said, as the schedule does not get easier for the Huskies. Tuesday’s game against Chattanooga comes in the midst of a brutal November and December schedule, as this game will be followed by three straight games against ranked teams, including overall No. 1 Notre Dame in South Bend.
To add to the long stretch of games, freshman and early season sparkplug, Crystal Dangerfield, is also questionable for the game tomorrow as Auriemma said she will most likely be inactive. This year, the Huskies are not a deep team as they have only four bench players who have garnered serious minutes. Freshman Molly Bent and the team have taken the last few practices extra hard in order to get ready for the game. In order to get herself ready, she said, “I was trying to come into practice this week and work really hard and gain the trust of my teammates.”
Currently unranked, the Mocs are 3-5 on the season and in the middle of a three-game losing streak. On the year, they have averaged 58.3 points per game on 39.1 percent shooting while allowing 59.9 points per game on 44.8 percent shooting.
Leading the way for Chattanooga this season are Queen Alford and Jasmine Joyner, who average 10.9 and 10 points per game respectively. Joyner also leads the team with 3.4 blocks per game, 1.6 steals per game and an impressive 9.9 rebounds per game, including 3.3 offensive rebounds.
On the offensive end for UConn, Samuelson leads with 21.8 points per game, followed by fellow sophomore Napheesa Collier with 17 per game. Collier also leads the team with rebounds, 8.3 per game, blocks, two per game, and an impressive 57.8 percent shooting percentage from the field.
One of the leaders of the team this year, junior Kia Nurse, has gotten off to a slow start but she has credited her teammates for picking up the slack. “Everyone is stepping up in their own way and understanding how things go around here,” Nurse said, and went on to elaborate, “Every game is going to be a fight and it is a 40 minute fight that we have to fight through as a team and be victorious.”
Tip-off is scheduled at 7 p.m. at the XL Center, where the Huskies hold an all-time mark of 155-13 and has won 80 of its last 83 games played in Hartford. The game will be broadcasted on SNY with radio coverage available on the UConn/IMG Radio Network.
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.