Saturday afternoon was the perfect example of teammates stepping up for teammates who are struggling. In the case against Temple, it was Napheesa Collier stepping up for Katie Lou Samuelson and Crystal Dangerfield stepping up for Christyn Williams.
“I would like to think that could be a typical game for Crystal, creating a lot of points for us and knocking in her share of points,” coach Geno Auriemma said after the game, according to the Huskies website. “I think she was on her game tonight. She made shots, she got people shots and she managed the game. That about says it all.”
As former Knick great Walt “Clyde” Frazier would say, Dangerfield was “dishin’ and swishin.” The junior point guard, who was coming off a subpar game against Tulane, was able to do a little bit of everything for the Huskies. Her signature play of the game came in the fourth quarter with UConn up 70-52, when she dribbled into the lane taking on a double-team before slicing the defense on a no-look pass to Megan Walker for the easy layup to put them up 20.
The UConn (16-1, 5-0 AAC) “quarterback” was able to finish the game with a career-high 26 points to go along with nine assists, two steals and zero turnovers. Taking care of the ball has certainly been a point of emphasis for UConn in order to create a better “feel” and cohesiveness on the court.
Napheesa Collier was dominant for the Huskies in the post as she reached her season-high for points with 30. The senior was able to score efficiently on 10-15 shooting, reeling in 12 rebounds (10th double-double of the season), hitting two 3-pointers and dishing five assists of her own.
Katie Lou Samuelson was quiet on the scoring end during the Huskies 88-67 win against Temple. The senior scored 10-points on 4-13 shooting, but Auriemma has said that he is not worried about her shooting struggles and compared it to a hitting slump in baseball. So far this season, Samuelson is experiencing a career-low for 3-point shooting (37 percent).Despite only coming away with two rebounds against Temple, Samuelson has a career-high average of 7.5.
Freshman guard Christyn Williams is going through a bit of a rough patch. Over her last three games, she has scored a combined four points. Right now, she is figuring out how to be effective without having the ball in her hands at all times as well as figuring out what to do when not scoring.
Williams, who is as quick as a cheetah, will figure it out. She is just going through the pains of being a freshman, similarly to what Walker went through last season and what Dangerfield went through two seasons ago. Having said that, it is clear that she is frustrated, but her coaching staff has her back and Auriemma has said he is not worried about her struggles.
Despite starting, Williams played a season-low 14 minutes, scoring two points, securing two rebounds and recording zero assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Fellow freshman Olivia Nelson-Ododa played a solid game off the bench for the Huskies, scoring seven points and collecting seven rebounds. This was her best game since Seton Hall on Dec. 8, when she scored 13-points. Auriemma has said in the past that the team needs Nelson-Ododa to get better at a rapid rate, since she offers something the team does not have much of — size.
This game was originally supposed to be played Sunday, but it was moved up with the inclement weather. Because of this, the Huskies will have an extra day of practice and rest before they hit the court Wednesday night.
Michael Logan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.