Michigan State handed the UConn men’s basketball team its first loss of the season Friday night, but the Huskies’ women’s basketball team got some revenge Saturday afternoon with a 96-62 victory over the Spartans.
After playing three games in a five-day stretch last week, UConn (5-0) came into the game with three days of rest. With fresher legs, the Huskies went on a 16-2 run over the opening 4:23 of the game.
UConn led 36-9 midway through the second quarter and took a 46-21 lead into halftime. The Spartans received votes in this week’s AP Top 25 Poll, but Michigan State struggled to score against the No. 1 Huskies.
Redshirt junior Azurá Stevens had the best game of her short UConn career, scoring 25 points and grabbing 16 rebounds to go along with five assists. Stevens has started the past three games and is getting more involved in the absence of Katie Lou Samuelson.
Stevens wasn’t the only one stuffing the stat sheet for the Huskies on Saturday, as sophomore Crystal Dangerfield and junior Napheesa Collier each recorded double-doubles as well. Dangerfield dished out 10 assists in addition her 10 points and Collier had 14 points and 12 rebounds while recording five steals and three blocks.
Kia Nurse was the Huskies’ second-highest scorer with 20 points. Nurse shot 2-6 from the 3-point line, recovering from a 0-4 3-point shooting night at UCLA last time out.
As a team, UConn shot just 7-24 (29.2 percent) from the 3-point line. With the help of 56 points in the paint, the Huskies still managed to score 96 points, just one away from their season-high point total.
Defensively, the Huskies held Michigan State (4-1) to just 62 points, well below the Spartans’ season average of 99.8 points per game. Michigan State shot 34.3 percent from the floor.
The Spartans received 37 points from their bench, including 11 from freshman Sidney Cooks, their leading scorer in the game. Cooks shot 4-5 from the floor, including 2-3 from the 3-point line, and also led the team with eight rebounds.
UConn’s bench scored just 19 points, an area that head coach Geno Auriemma has repeatedly pointed to as a weakness. Freshman Andra Espinoza-Hunter led the Huskies’ bench with a career-high eight points in seven minutes on Saturday afternoon.
The Huskies will play one more game on their trip to the west coast, taking on Nevada on Tuesday. Gabby Williams, a native of Sparks, Nevada, will be returning home when the Huskies tip off against the Wolf Pack.
Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.