Women's Basketball: No. 1 UConn, No. 4 Louisville prepare for showdown at Gampel

Batouly Camara (32) and UConn will host ranked-foe Louisville at Gampel Pavilion on Monday, Feb. 12 (Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus) 

On Monday night at Gampel Pavilion, the UConn women’s basketball team will play its final non-conference game of the season. In a matchup circled since the schedule released in September, the No. 1 Huskies will take on the No. 4 Louisville Cardinals.

UConn (24-0, 12-0 the American) comes into the marquee matchup with an undefeated record, with the Cardinals being the toughest test in the way of a perfect regular season. Louisville (25-1, 11-1 ACC) has lost just one game all season, a one-point defeat to No. 12 Florida State last month.

The Huskies had an interesting week, with perhaps their best and worst performances of the season coming in back-to-back games. UConn scored a season-low 55 points against UCF Wednesday, 20 points fewer than its previous season-low. The Huskies responded with an incredible 124-43 win over Wichita State, coming within two points of the program record for single-game points.

UConn likely won’t reach an 81-point margin of victory in this nonconference matchup, but the Huskies have already played a brutal slate of nonconference games this season and come out unscathed. UConn has defeated five teams in the top 10 of the current AP Poll, but Louisville ranks above each of them.

“When you add it all up, we’ve played some really, really good teams,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. “We’ve played some of our best basketball against some of the best teams in the country. I don’t know that we’ve played anybody as good as Louisville is right now.”

Louisville is led by junior guard Asia Durr and senior forward Myisha Hines-Allen. Durr leads the team with 19.8 points per game and shoots 46.4 percent from the 3-point line, the seventh-best rate in Division I. Hines-Allen is averaging a double-double this season with 14.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.

“I don’t know that we’ve played against a particular player that’s maybe as good as or better than the two kids that Louisville has,” Auriemma said. “Asia Durr and Hines-Allen, they’re as good as any two players in the country.”

The Huskies lead the all-time series with the Cardinals 16-1 and have won 36 consecutive games against the ACC. In their latest meeting, UConn defeated Louisville by 20 points in 2014.

Crystal Dangerfield returned from a two-game absence in the Huskies’ win over Wichita State. The sophomore point guard will likely be in the starting lineup once again Monday night as she recovers from shin splints.

Senior Napheesa Collier will look to carry over from a strong game against Wichita State (Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

When Gampel is loud, it’s hard to hear anything in there. It’s probably one of the best places to play in the country when there’s that many fans engaged
— Forward Katie Lou Samuelson

UConn has won 105 of its last 107 games at Gampel Pavilion dating back to 2006, including each of its past 47 games. Louisville is undefeated on the road this season and has had five days to prepare for the trip to Storrs, but the Cardinals likely have not played in an environment like they will see Monday.

“When Gampel is loud, it’s hard to hear anything in there. It’s probably one of the best places to play in the country when there’s that many fans engaged,” UConn forward Katie Lou Samuelson said.

UConn and Louisville will tip off at 7 p.m. Monday and the game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

“Our building will be rocking Monday night. It’s going to be pretty cool,” Auriemma said.

Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.buser@uconn.edu.