Women’s Basketball: Big East preview gives undefeated Huskies scare

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In this Monday, Dec. 9, 2019 photo, UConn was in control, beating the Fighting Irish 81-57. The Huskies came out on top again, defeating the DePaul Blue Demons 84-74 to improve to 9-0 on the season.  Photo by Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus

In this Monday, Dec. 9, 2019 photo, UConn was in control, beating the Fighting Irish 81-57. The Huskies came out on top again, defeating the DePaul Blue Demons 84-74 to improve to 9-0 on the season. Photo by Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus

This is UConn’s last year in the American Athletic Conference. After this school year, most of UConn’s athletic programs will be moving to the Big East Conference, and Monday night, they had a preview of what’s to come.

The Huskies came out on top, defeating the DePaul Blue Demons 84-74 to improve to 9-0 on the season. DePaul was probably the best team UConn had played to this point in the season, coming into the game 9-1 at No. 16 in the nation with their only loss coming to another top-10 team, Oregon State.

DePual got the first bucket, but UConn got the first run, scoring 10 unanswered points after the Blue Demons hit their first shot. By the time the first quarter ended, UConn had a commanding 26-13 lead with Crystal Dangerfield leading the charge, going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. By the time the first half was over, the score was up to 55-29 with the Huskies pushing their lead up to a whopping 26 points. 

But that’s as big as the lead would get, as in the third quarter, the Blue Demons came storming back, cutting the UConn lead back down to 13 by the time the quarter came to a close. In the fourth, they made it interesting, but they never got closer than five. Still, they managed to shave 21 points off of their halftime deficit, and after a first-half where they looked completely outmatched, showed that they will be able to challenge the Huskies for the conference title next season.

One of the biggest reasons for the first half deficit was DePaul’s seeming inability to hit a three, going just 2-for-13. Meanwhile, UConn went 8-for-14, and Dangerfield hit more than their entire team.

However, that essentially flipped in the second half, with UConn going a combined 0-for-7 and DePaul going a solid 9-for-19. Still, it was never enough to counteract UConn’s height, as for the game UConn outscored DePaul by 26 in the paint.

Megan Walker was tied for the team lead in points with 22, the sixth time this season she has had at least 20. On top of that, she grabbed a team-high 11 boards and dished out a team-high seven assists.

Dangerfield also put up 22 on 7-of-13 shooting, an encouraging mark considering she went into the game shooting under 40% on the season. Olivia Nelson-Ododa made good use of her size advantage, scoring 18 points on a perfect 9-of-9 shooting, and Christyn Williams put up 13 of her own but turned the ball over six times. 

The Huskies will be back in action on Sunday, Dec. 22 when they take on Oklahoma at the Mohegan Sun Arena.


Sean Janos is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at sean.janos@uconn.edu. He tweets @seanjanos.

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