Women’s basketball: Huskies welcome No. 12 Ohio State to Hartford


UConn’s Napheesa Collier takes a shot during the Huskies’ 80-43 win over Chattanooga on Nov. 29, 2016 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

After a week off, the No. 1 ranked UConn Huskies (9-0) will host the No. 12 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-3) Monday night at the XL Center, in what will be Ohio State’s first true road game of the season. The Huskies are riding an 85-game winning streak, and the Buckeyes will be their fourth top-15 opponent they will have faced in their last five contests.

Coming into the game, the Buckeyes are in the midst of a four-game winning streak, with their most recent game being a 118-61 blowout victory over Alabama State at home. On the year, Ohio State have beaten only one ranked team, No. 11 Syracuse, as they lost back to back games to No. 5 Baylor and No. 18 Miami in the Gulf Coast Showcase and the Big 10/ACC Challenge, respectively.

The Buckeyes are led by junior Kelsey Mitchell who averages an impressive 22.7 points per game, sixth in the nation, and has led the team in scoring nine of the team’s twelve games. Along with leading the team in points per game, Mitchell leads in total threes with 39, made free throws and percentage, 49-59 for 83.1 percent and steals per game with 3.6.

This season has just been another great season in Mitchell’s stellar career, as she is the school all-time 3-point leader, the fifth on the OSU career scoring list and is the fastest player in NCAA history to 2,000 career points, having reached the mark in just 79 games.

As a team, the Buckeyes average a staggering 90.5 points per game which is fifth in the nation and are outscoring opponents by an average of 20.5 points per game. All-time, the Buckeyes are 0-3 against the Huskies, with all three matchups coming while UConn has been ranked No. 1 in the country. Ohio State has an all-time record of 2-16 against AP No. 1 ranked teams and is 11-53 all-time against teams ranked in the AP Top-5.

The Huskies come into this game unblemished as they have an already spectacular resume, as they are led by sophomore forward Napheesa Collier, who just earned her second straight American Athletic Conference Player of the Week title. On the year, Collier is shooting 67.6 percent and is second on the team with 19.4 points per game and second with seven rebounds per contest.

Joining Collier in the scoring department is sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson, who averages a team best 19.8 points per game and has hit a team-high 29 threes on 47.5 percent shooting. Gabby Williams is the Huskies’ leading rebounder 7.7 rebounds per game and is also adding 4.7 assists per game.

Before the game tips off in Hartford, the Huskies and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves will be collecting donations for Toys for Tots, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the main entrance on Trumbull Street. Tip-off for Monday night’s game will start at 7 p.m. and it will be broadcast by the CBS Sports Network.

Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at matthew.kren@uconn.edu.

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