It was another win for the Huskies, beating Vanderbilt 64-51, but for the second straight game, the plus-one in the win column wasn’t exactly reassuring.
Sure, they won by double-digits again, putting the Huskies at 2-0 on the season, but they were far from the brand of UConn women’s basketball that is expected from this program.
At one point in the third quarter, the Huskies had their lead up to 26, and at the end of the third, it was 19. The game was seemingly in hand, yet, by the time the clock hit zero, their lead was down to just 13.
For the second straight game, UConn lost the fourth quarter. On Sunday vs. Cal, it was just a three-point deficit, but it was double that on Wednesday.
UConn simply lacks a closer.
The team itself shot just 3-14 from three in the second half, including 0-3 from Christyn Williams from beyond the arc and 0-6 from the field. Williams finished with a line of 15 points, three rebounds, two assists and two turnovers. V
Crystal Dangerfield scored just eight points in her homecoming game, going 3-8 from the field and 2-6 from three. She also turned the ball over four times, being one of three Huskies to do so in the game.
One of the others was Olivia Nelson-Ododa, who after struggling against Cal scoring-wise greatly improved on her 4-15 shooting, going 7-13 from the field while also grabbing 12 boards and dishing out four assists. However, she did have the four turnovers, as did freshman Aubrey Griffin.
Griffin scored her first field goal for the Huskies, finishing the night with four points on 2-5 shooting from the field and grabbed five boards in just 17 minutes of play.
Fellow freshman Anna Makurat got the start for the first time in her UConn career, but her shooting struggles continued, going 0-4 from the field and 0-3 from behind the arc. Aside from shooting, however, she did have a solid game otherwise, grabbing three boards, dishing out five assists and not turning the ball over once in 25 minutes of action.
She replaced Kyla Irwin in the starting five, who did not receive any minutes against Vanderbilt.
The way it looks right now, if anyone is going to transform into a closer for UConn, it’s going to be Megan Walker. The junior put up 25 points on 10-20 shooting from the field and 3-8 from three in the game, as she was responsible for just under 40% of the team’s points. She shot 5-10 from the field and 2-5 from three in the second half, and had two of the team’s five made shots in the fourth quarter.
UConn’s core four all played at least 36 minutes, and just nine of the team’s 65 shots didn’t come from any of them.
Their seeming inability to score in the fourth quarter hasn’t hurt them yet, it can fly against teams like Cal and Vanderbilt. But the Huskies have Oregon, Baylor and Notre Dame on their schedule amongst other top teams, so if they struggle in the fourth when they don’t have a double-digit cushion or are down, it’s going to cost them games.