After an 88-34 blowout at home over Cincinnati, the UConn women’s basketball team hits the road again to take on East Carolina, this Saturday night in their final road game of the season.
The Huskies (25-0, 14-0 the American) are 13-0 in true road games this season, with four victories (Ohio State, DePaul, South Florida and South Carolina) over ranked teams. Since losing at Stanford on Nov. 17 last season, the Huskies have one 23 straight road games during their 62-game win streak.
UConn used a new starting five in the win over the Bearcats, opting to have stars Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck come off the bench and have Napheesa Collier, Natalie Butler and Saniya Chong joining regular starters Kia Nurse and Katie Lou Samuelson in order to force the younger players to contribute.
While the Huskies had trouble getting going against Cincinnati, the younger players certainly pulled their weight as Collier chipped in 11 points, Samuelson added 10 and Butler scored 14 points, tied with Stewart for the most in the game.
While the young starting five may not stick around for the matchup against the Pirates, UConn could certainly benefit from some more balance offensively. Stewart, Jefferson and Tuck are the team’s top three scorers, and account for 53 percent of the Huskies’ 88.8 points per game.
Sophomore Gabby Williams is the only underclassman averaging double figures with 10.1 points per game, followed by Samuelson with 9.2 points per game.
East Carolina and the Huskies last met Feb. 6 at Gampel, with UConn winning 92-46. Nurse led all scorers with 20 points on 8-11 shooting, including four three-pointers. While Nurse has been up-and-down all season, she showed her potential against the Pirates, scoring seemingly at will from all over the court.
Since that game, Nurse has once again struggled, failing to reach double digits in her last three games, but could get back on track with another strong performance against ECU.
The Pirates (10-16, 4-10 the American) have lost two of their last three matches since falling to the Huskies on Feb. 6, but defeated Houston 68-59 in their most recent matchup. Jada Payne scored 21 points to pass the 1,900-point plateau for her career, and I’Tiana Taylor recorded her 14th double-double of the season with a 17-point, 13-rebound effort in the victory.
UConn and the Pirates tip-off Saturday night at 8 p.m. at Williams Arena in Minges Coliseum. The game can be seen on CBS Sports Network.