Women’s Basketball: UConn welcomes No. 20 USF in attempt at tying historic win streak


Gabby Williams makes a pass in the Huskies' win over East Carolina on Jan. 4, 2017. (Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog)

Gabby Williams makes a pass in the Huskies’ win over East Carolina on Jan. 4, 2017. (Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog)

The No. 1 ranked UConn Huskies women’s basketball team is a win away from its 90th-straight win, which would tie its own NCAA Division I record for consecutive games won, the longest win-streak in NCAA history, this Tuesday against No. 20 USFat the XL Center. With the previous victory against East Carolina University, the Huskies moved to 14-0 on the season and extended their unbeaten record in the American Athletic Conference.

USF comes into this matchup as the No. 20 team in the country as they boast a 13-1 record, with their lone loss coming against Long Beach State at the Play4Kay tournament in Las Vegas. So far this season, USF is unbeaten in the American and started the season on an impressive eight-game winning streak.

Sophomore Kitija Laska leads the way for the Bulls, averaging a team-high 21.6 points per game and hitting a team-high 54 threes on 42.9 percent shooting. Laska has been on fire as of late, scoring 37 points on 13-25 shooting, including seven 3-pointers in their last game against Tulsa last Saturday night.  Maria Jespersen and Ariadna Pujol join Laksa amongst USF’s scoring leaders, with both averaging over 14 points per game this season. Jespersen is leading the team with 9.4 rebounds per game while Pujol is second on the team in steals and assists.

Despite the success that USF is having this season, the Huskies are a perfect 20-0 all-time against South Florida with the last win for UConn coming by 26 in the American Athletic Conference title game. The Huskies will be the first major test for South Florida this season as they are the first ranked team on their schedule. In comparison, the Huskies have already beaten seven ranked teams, including former No.2 Notre Dame, No. 2 Baylor and No. 4 Maryland. Against ranked teams, UConn has a 237-61 record all-time, as they are also an impressive 158-13 at the XL Center, winning 82 out of the last 85 games.

The Huskies have been rolling this season behind sophomore Napheesa Collier who is coming off a 21 point and seven rebound performance over ECU. Collier is second on the team with 19.4 points per game and rebounds with 7.4 per contest, as she is first in field goal percentage, offense rebounding and blocks per game. Her strong play along with the rest of the starters, are only part of the reason UConn is scoring 81.5 points per contest and has posted a 24.7 point scoring margin this season.

The game’s tip-off is scheduled at 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on CBS-Sports Network with radio coverage on the UConn/IMG Sports Radio 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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