In their first game against a ranked opponent, the UConn women’s basketball team defeated No.16/14 DePaul 99-63 on Wednesday night.
Freshman Christyn Williams started off the night for the Huskies with a layup. At first, the game was scrappy and sloppy on both sides with UConn missing layups and DePaul (4-3) missing key scoring opportunities. The scrappiness continued well into the first, as the first timeout was not called until just over four minutes remaining. By this point, both teams were visibly tired from the tough play.
“That first five minutes of the game it was a little bit crazy and we had to calm it down a little bit,” Auriemma said.
After the timeout, the Huskies came back with a spark. Williams scored an end-to-end layup that made the crowd erupt. A three-point buzzer beater from Meghan Walker closed the quarter.
UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said he was pleased with what he saw defensively from his team.
“I thought for the most part our defense was good and our rebounding was good and those were the two things that we wanted to work on, on that end,” Auriemma said. “We wanted to make sure that we kept the game at a pace that was comfortable for us and I thought we did that as well,” Auriemma said.
The second quarter brought more of the same for the Huskies as they expanded on their lead. They went on a 24-point scoring run and had the lead up by as much as 30 points. Katie Lou Samuelson racked up points as she scored three three-pointers. By the end of the half, the lead had ballooned to 54-25.
The third quarter started off with DePaul hitting a three. Senior Napheesa Collier responded for the Huskies but after that DePaul went on a little 8-0 run of their own.
“Doug’s come up with a really unique system that gets him to the NCAA tournament every single year,” Auriemma said. “They just play every game, create as many possessions as they can and they figure because they play like that all the time, and you don’t, they have a huge advantage in every game they play.
Later in the third Samuelson was hit off a ball which caused a chorus of boos from the stands. Play continued as no foul was called but Auriemma was hit for a technical for contesting the call.
Williams showed off her athleticism late in the third with a layup that had her turning mid-air. It was enough to make some fans give her a standing ovation.
“I’m definitely more active today,” Williams said after the game. “I forget what game it was Coach made a comment. He asked if I even played in the game and that kind of stayed in my head. So I don’t want him to ever have to say that ever again. Me being more active is a focal point.”
The Huskies didn’t look back in the fourth as they wrapped up the game. Collier earned her fourth double-double of the season and led all players with 24 points. All five UConn starters ended the night in double figures.
Next up, the Huskies will be heading to Indiana to play No. 1 Notre Dame.
After having the opportunity to play both teams this season, DePaul’s head coach Doug Bruno said that both teams are tough to play against.
“I think Notre Dame’s probably a little more experienced,” Bruno said. “Both these teams can win the national championship.”
Later, Auriemma reflected on the Notre Dame rivalry that has resulted from the tough games played against the Irish.
“Usually, every game we go into it reminds me of the old Tennessee series,” Auriemma said. “Every game was like life or death. Every game was the game of the century.”
Last season, the Huskies lost to the Irish 89-91 in the National Semifinal game.
The Huskies head into Sunday’s matchup against Notre Dame 6-0.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN and begin at 4 p.m.
Mariana Dominguez is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.