Women’s Basketball: Huskies look for victory in Memphis matinee

Azura Stevens looks for a teammate during the Huskies 78-60 victory over Tulsa on Jan. 18, 2018. Stevens led the team with 22 points. (Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

The UConn women’s basketball team heads south Wednesday for the second game of a two-game road trip, as they take on the Memphis Tigers in a matinee showing at the Roane Fieldhouse in Memphis, Tennessee.

The No. 1 Huskies (18-0, 7-0 the American) remain undefeated this season and undefeated in the history of the American Athletic Conference after yet another dominant win this past Sunday. UConn played the Temple Owls in Philadelphia and came away with a 113-57 win on the back of 22 points from freshman Megan Walker off the bench.

This came days after the Huskies’ most disappointing effort of the season in a 78-60 home win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Head coach Geno Auriemma called that game the most disappointing in his 32-plus years at UConn. The Huskies now sit at 77-0 in regular season conference play since the inception of the American in 2013, or 89-0 overall including post-season play.

The Tigers (7-12, 2-4 the American) have not had the best season thus far. Memphis has lost three of its last four games and, at one point in the season, had nine straight losses.

The two teams have gone in to battle once prior this season. That game took place on Dec. 31 at the XL Center in Hartford and was the conference opener for both teams. On that day, the Huskies prevailed 97-49 with a huge performance coming from senior forward Gabby Williams. Williams finished 10-10 from the field for 20 points and added seven assists, three rebounds and four steals.

Brea Elmore was the leading scorer for the Tigers that day, finishing with 20 points of her own on 8-17 shooting from the field. Elmore is Memphis’ second leading scorer for the season averaging 15.5 points per game. Her teammate Cheyenne Creighton averages a tick more than she does, as Creighton scores 15.8 points per game this year.

Expect Creighton and Elmore to play big minutes in this one. The two hardly ever leave the floor, averaging 36.3 and 33.5 minutes per game. In contrast, only the Huskies’ Kia Nurse comes close with regard to playing time, averaging 32.8 minutes per contest.

Speaking of Nurse, the senior guard out of Hamilton, Ontario leads the nation in three-point shooting percentage after hovering around the top-five for a number of weeks. Nurse shoots an incredible 50 percent from beyond the arc. Point guard Crystal Dangerfield is another dangerous threat from 3-point range, ranking fifth in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage at 48 percent.

Katie Lou Samuelson is another sniper from deep range, shooting 47.9 percent, but is ineligible for NCAA rankings since she does not meet the minimum of 75 percent of team games played. Samuelson has missed five of the Huskies’ 18 games this season due to various foot and ankle ailments, and could miss another one against the Tigers Wednesday.

Nevertheless, UConn should be confident as they step on the court in a rare weekday matinee game in college basketball. Tip-off is at 1 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on SNY.


Chris Hanna is the associate sports editor  for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at christopher.hanna@uconn.edu. He tweets @realchrishanna.