The UConn women’s basketball team is nearing the end of a perfect season, but this weekend will provide a tough test. Similarly to the NCAA Tournament, the Huskies will play Saturday and Monday games this weekend, concluding with a matchup against No. 4 Louisville at Gampel Pavilion.
But before the Huskies welcome Louisville, they’ll have to get through Wichita State.
UConn (23-0, 11-0 the American) will welcome the Shockers to Hartford Saturday afternoon for the first meeting between the new American Athletic Conference foes. The Huskies will be holding their annual Play4Kay game for breast cancer awareness in memory of former North Carolina State head coach Kay Yow.
Last time out, the Huskies struggled mightily on the offensive end of the floor, scoring a season-low 55 points in a win against UCF in Orlando. UConn’s previous season-low was a 75-point performance against Texas. The Huskies are still Division I’s highest-scoring team with an average of 89.7 points per game, but they’ll look to get back in form Saturday.
Wichita State (10-15, 5-6 the American) has seen highs and lows in its first season in the American. The Shockers lost their first three conference games before rattling off five straight wins, including an upset over No. 22 USF. After those five wins, Wichita State is currently in the midst of another three-game losing streak, falling to three of the American’s top six teams.
The Shockers own the conference’s third-best field goal percentage, behind just UConn and USF at 43.2 percent, but they are only 2-9 on the road this season.
Redshirt senior forward Rangie Bessard leads Wichita State with 18.9 points per game, the fifth-best scoring rate in the American. Bessard was the Shockers’ top scorer in seven of their eight games in the month of January. The forward also averages a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game.
UConn sophomore guard Crystal Dangerfield has missed the past two games due to shin splints. Dangerfield could make her return this weekend and would likely prefer to see game action against Wichita State before taking on Louisville Monday.
The Huskies have just six games remaining on their schedule before the start of tournament season. With tournament-style schedules looming, UConn will get necessary experience with two games in three days this weekend.
UConn has twice played two games in three days this season and appeared to have no problems in the back half of the stretch. Each of the previous two instances were road trips, including a span of three games in five days in November.
The Huskies and Shockers will Play4Kay at 1 p.m. Saturday at the XL Center.
Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.