UConn finished up their Ohio road-trip Tuesday night with a blowout win over Dayton. Megan Walker had 23 points and 12 rebounds in the win, but the story of the night was who wasn’t on the floor for the Huskies.
Crystal Dangerfield was scratched from the starting lineup with back spasms and was replaced by Molly Bent. In her first career start, the senior recorded four points, four rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes.
Anna Makurat went down with an ankle injury after rolling it in the second quarter on the foot of a Dayton (3-3) player. Makurat tried to start the second half on the floor, but promptly checked out. She finished the game with six points, two rebounds, two assists and a steal in 11 minutes.
Dangerfield and Makurat are UConn’s (6-0) two best playmakers, so the Huskies spread the ball-handling responsibilities all over the floor.
Kyla Irwin, who has played her way onto the floor this season with consistently smart play, led the team in assists for the second game this season with six. She also had eight points and six rebounds in 36 minutes (second most on the team) of play.
Christyn Williams, the prime suspect as next-point-guard-up, took the ball up most of the time Tuesday. She finished the night second on the team in assists with four, also recording 14 points, five rebounds and a steal.
Olivia Nelson-Ododa scored 14 points, adding eight rebounds, seven blocks and two steals. Nelson-Ododa’s defense obviously made an enormous impact on this game by swatting shots and affecting a lot of Dayton’s shots. They shot just 21% from the field and 16% from deep.
UConn’s phenomenal team defense is ultimately what made this game a blowout. The Huskies offense wasn’t exactly humming without their two best playmakers on the floor. Forcing missed shots, turnovers and getting out in transition were how the Huskies imposed their will on Dayton.
It’s unclear how long the Huskies will be without Dangerfield or Makurat at this point, but head coach Geno Auriemma will have a lot of time to let his guards heal before their next game.
The Huskies will play at Seton Hall a week from Thanksgiving. That game will be played Thursday, Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m.