Women’s Basketball: UConn returns to Gampel to host Temple


UConn Women’s Basketball. (Photo By Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

The Huskies are coming off thrashing an inferior ECU team 118-55 and now have its sights set on a poor Temple team. UConn’s 70 points in the first half were the most they scored this season and 118 points was 19 more than they scored in an entire game this year. Just about everyone played a role in the team’s victory.

“You have to be a basketball player, not, ‘I’m a basketball shooter,’” UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma said after Wednesday night’s game. “I think a lot of our guys tonight, they played basketball, they didn’t just stand around waiting for a shot.”

As a team, No. 5 UConn (20-2, 9-0 AAC) racked up 35 assists, with 12 of them coming from point guard Crystal Dangerfield. In front of the home crowd, Dangerfield dazzled again with no-look and behind-the-back passes to get the fans into the game despite the lopsided score.

Katie Lou Samuelson and Dangerfield’s chemistry is getting stronger every day on the court. Samuelson said she is always expecting the unexpected from Dangerfield because of her creative ways of getting her the basketball in transition and when Dangerfield drives to the hoop and kicks it out to her.

Freshman Christyn Williams was able to break out of her funk a little bit. She played 31 minutes, which was the most for a UConn starter, and finished with 15 points on 60 percent shooting to go along with six assists and three steals. Auriemma has said she needs to find ways to be effective without always scoring the ball and she was able to do that Wednesday night.

“I think there were some things she did tonight that she hasn’t done in a month,” Auriemma said. “You know, there was an aggressiveness about her, there was an assertiveness about her and I like that. That is when she is at her best.”

Samuelson, who scored a season-high 31 points, said the team is motivated to get back to where they have been in the past and are trying to show that during each game.

“We can’t get caught up in some of the stuff (Auriemma) says sometimes,” Samuelson said of Auriemma pushing them to improve. “But we also know that we have to prove him wrong a lot of the time. That seems like something that we are going to get used to this year and have been trying to use that as fire to fuel us too.”

Temple (8-14, 4-5 AAC) are coming to Storrs riding a four-game winning streak, which includes beating ECU, Wichita St., Tulsa and Houston. As a team, they are being outscored by opponents 66-65. Sophomore Mia Davis and senior Alliya Butts account for more than 50 percent of the team’s offensive production. Davis averages 19.4 points and Butts averages 15.5 points per game.

Davis is shooting an efficient 45 percent from beyond the arc, while Butts is the team’s best playmaker with 98 total assists. Butts will score points, but she takes plenty of shots and is shooting 35 percent from the field.

The Huskies have yet to lose a game at home this season with a record of 8-0 at their own venues. On the other hand, Temple has only won three out of its 13 road games this season. With this game being played at Gampel Pavilion, the student section should make it hard for the Owls to find a rhythm.

“It’s always great to play in front of the Connecticut crowd,” Napheesa Collier said. “They’re so active and they’re so supportive and I always say this, but we have the best fans in the country and they come out for every game. They definitely gave us energy.”

The game will start at 1 p.m. and can be watched on SNY or ESPN 3 and heard through the radio waves on 97.9 ESPN.

Michael Logan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at michael.logan@uconn.edu.

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