While the snow hampered most of Connecticut, the UConn women’s basketball team let it rain early and often during the exhibition game against SCSU and won 99-45. Due to the poor weather conditions, the crowd was lighter than usual (6,337), so all fans in the upper levels were invited to sit wherever they wanted.
With Christyn Williams coming off of a tough game against Ohio State Sunday, it was clear that she wanted to come out aggressive. She scored a quick 10 points in the first quarter and would go on to finish the game with 18 points. UConn head coach Geno Auriemma expects her to do even more for this team.
“My vision of Christyn is, whoever the best freshman in the country are — men or women — I expect her to be that good every night,” Auriemma said.
The Owls (3-0 DII) were able to get some offense going against UConn (1-0 DI) in the first quarter. Steinauer caused fits for the Huskies in the paint early on, scoring eight of the team’s 15 points in the first quarter. But she struggled to get much going in the following quarter, once the Huskies defense flexed their muscles. Steinauer led the Owls with 19 points and six rebounds.
“Some things you can take away, like those first five minutes they were better than we were,” Auriemma said. “They work hard, they were getting open shots and moving without the ball.”
Megan Walker, who has made significant strides in the off season and the early portion of the season, struggled to get much going in the first half, playing only five and a half minutes. She would go on to finish the game with nine points and one rebound.
As expected, the senior combination of Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier were dominant. Samuelson, who wears her No. 33 in honor of Celtics legend Larry Bird, honored him with four 3-pointers. Collier was able to accomplish whatever she wanted to in the post, finishing the game with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Olivia Nelson-Ododa showed that she can attack the boards as she recorded a double-double by grabbing 11 rebounds and scoring 16 points over nearly 25 minutes of play. Auriemma has said that the team will need her to continue to improve because they will rely on her more and more as the season progresses.
Auriemma said that this was the first time that he saw Nelson-Ododa play and compete harder than anyone on the court, since she played for USA Basketball in Spain.
“That was the most encouraging thing tonight,” Auriemma said. “That she was willing to get in there and mix it up a little bit. Obviously there was nobody that could challenge her inside, but that’s a good sign.”
Molly Bent, who is known for being a warrior in practices, shined for the Huskies. In the second quarter, she knocked down her first bucket of the season, a 3-pointer, and the Husky faithful erupted. The guard provided the Huskies with some pesky defense at the top of the key in 20 minutes of play.
The Huskies’ next game will be at 6 p.m. Saturday against Vanderbilt at Mohegan Sun. The Commodores (1-3) are coming off a 20-point loss to NC State.
Nelson-Ododa said that she anticipates that she will be able to play just as well as she did against SCSU during their next game Saturday.
“I definitely have to continue my effort,” Nelson-Ododa said. “I feel like it’s definitely there with me. As long as I play hard and keep the effort up, I feel like I can contribute a lot.”
Michael Logan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.