After missing the last five games due to a stress reaction in her left foot, freshman guard Crystal Dangerfield is set to return to the Huskies’ rotation as they travel to Philadelphia to take on Temple.
Dangerfield last played for UConn on Jan. 10 in the Huskies’ 102-37 win over USF, scoring five points and adding two rebounds and two assists. The Murfreesboro, Tennessee native is averaging 6.1 points and 3.46 assists per game in her first season in Storrs, and while she is good to go against the Owls, her minutes will likely be restricted.
“She wants to play. She’s anxious to play,” head coach Geno Auriemma said. “I think she’s probably a little disappointed that it’s taken this long. She’s probably disappointed that there’s going to be a limit on her minutes Wednesday night, but that’s where it is right now.”
The return of Dangerfield adds more depth to an already short bench. In Dangerfield’s absence, Molly Bent has seen a slight increase in minutes but hasn’t capitalized on it, scoring just a total of five points in the five games Dangerfield has missed. Not to mention Dangerfield’s speed, quickness and talent allows her to impact the game the minute she steps on the court.
Her impact has already been obvious in games this season, most notably the win over No. 2 Baylor, where she scored a career-high 19 points and added five assists. She posted a career-high nine assists two games later in a 98-65 rout of Dayton.
“She’s somebody that, when we bring her in, we’re not sacrificing anything. She’s going to be able to score and make things happen for others as well. We need her back, and that will automatically make our bench production a lot better,” Auriemma said.
Dangerfield’s return could not come at a more perfect time, as Temple presents a challenge to the Huskies due to their quick and talented duo of guards Feyonda Fitzgerald and Alliya Butts. Fitzgerald is scoring 17.9 points per game and averaging 7.5 assists, while Butts is scoring 15.9 points per game and has 43 steals on the season. Having Dangerfield back lightens the workload for starters Kia Nurse and Saniya Chong on both ends.
“It’s extremely helpful. Temple is a quick, fast backcourt. They know what they’re doing, they’re smart,” Nurse said of Fitzgerald and Butts. “A short guard lineup is not always fun, but Crystal does a lot of great things for us so it’s going to help us out for sure.”