It will be just game No. 3 for the UConn women’s basketball team this season, but it’ll be game No. 1 in conference play.
When the Huskies travel to Philadelphia to take on Temple Sunday, Nov. 17, it will be their earliest conference game they have (or will) play as a member of the American Athletic Conference.
In fact, this will be the earliest conference game date that they played in their history, at least going back to the 1987-88 season, the earliest year that is available on their website.
In 1996, their second game of the season was against Boston College, and both schools were members of the Big East at the time. However, the game took place on Nov. 24, one week later than Sunday’s game.
But that’s enough of the history lesson, now onto the game. The Huskies (2-0), despite not losing a game, will be looking for some major improvements Sunday vs. Temple (2-1).
One of the biggest problems this season for the Huskies has been their ineffectiveness at the end of games, in both fourth quarters in the games they’ve played. Last year, it was Napheesa Collier, Katie Lou Samuelson or both who shut the door for the Huskies, but they have yet to find someone to fill that role this year.
Megan Walker is currently leading the team with 23.0 points per game while also hauling in 9.0 rebounds, and Christyn Williams is right behind her with 18.5 points per game.
Olivia Nelson-Ododa leads the team in rebounds (12.5) and blocks (4.0) while also putting up a solid 12.5 points per game. It’s point guard Crystal Dangerfield who has had the slowest start this season, sitting at fourth on the team with 11.0 points per game and only dishing out 3.0 assists, fewer than UConn’s center Nelson-Ododa who averaged 4.0.
Freshmen Anna Makurat and Aubrey Griffin have played the majority of the minutes the core four can’t, but they have been almost non-factors offensively, combining to average just 3.0 points per game. However, they have been solid on the boards and defensively, combining for five steals and five rebounds per game.
As for Temple, the Owls started off their season with back-to-back double-digit wins vs. Fairfield and Duquesne, but then fell to Saint Joseph’s (yes, the same school that just beat the men’s team) by four points on Monday. They will have played a fourth game by the time they host the Huskies, taking on UConn’s future conference opponent Xavier Thursday.
They’re led by junior guard Mia Davis, who is averaging 24.3 points on 51% shooting and also grabbing nine boards per game. Davis was the Owls’ leading scorer last season and was just one of two players to average double-digit points per game (18.9).
Sophomore guards Ashley Jones and Marissa Mackins are the only others on the team averaging over 30 minutes per game. Jones, a transfer from West Virginia, has put up a very respectable line of 16.7 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game, and Mackins is right behind her at 14.7 points, 2.7 assists and 2.7 rebounds.
Both guards have had to take on a large role, with the team losing graduate student Alliya Butts’ 15.2 points and 4.8 assists per game.
First tip is scheduled for 1 p.m., and the game can be viewed on SNY and ESPN3.