UConn came in to Mohegan Sun Sunday afternoon and ran Oklahoma out of the 10,000-seat arena by a final score of 97-53.
The 44-point win is the largest margin of victory for the No. 2 Huskies (10-0) so far this season, and it came in front of a packed and energized crowd in Uncasville, Conn.
Olivia Nelson-Ododa earned herself the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase MVP award with her best game of the season. She scored 27 points (13-of-18 from the field), pulled down 15 rebounds and blocked seven shots.
“We killed it today,” Megan Walker said. “Liv [Nelson-Ododa] did a great job of blocking shots, scoring in the lane and being efficient. She did great today.”
Notice that Walker said “we.” She had a great game herself, also grabbing 15 rebounds while scoring 17 points, dishing five assists and swatting two shots. Walker has been UConn’s best and most consistent scorer so far this season, averaging 21.6 points per game.
— UConn Women’s Hoops (@UConnWBB) December 22, 2019
Then of course, there’s the senior floor general and team leader Crystal Dangerfield. She started the game hot with two 3-pointers in the first quarter. She finished the game with 19 points, six assists and two steals.
“We’re doing well. As long as we can stay focused on the details each game, we will be in great shape,” Dangerfield said.
Essentially everybody that wore blue and white played great.
“We played as close to a good 40 minutes as we have all year,” associate head coach Chris Dailey said. “Having played DePaul the game before this helped us in terms of getting out on 3-point shooters.”
Dailey is assuming head coaching responsibilities while Geno Auriemma recovers from his successful diverticulitis surgery. Auriemma should be ready to return to the sidelines for UConn’s next game Jan. 2 against Wichita State.
To beat Oklahoma, you have to get out on one 3-point shooter in particular. Sophomore guard Taylor Robertson came into the game as the team’s leading scorer with over half of the Sooners’ 3-pointers, and demanded most of UConn’s defensive attention all afternoon.
“I have the best shooter in the country,” Oklahoma (7-5) head coach Sherri Coale said. “She’s terrific, I love her confidence. I have not yet seen a stage that’s too big for her to handle.”
Robertson finished the game with 24 points, shooting 7-of-14 from deep and making all three of her free throws after getting fouled on a 3-point attempt.
Aside from Robertson, the Sooners struggled to put the ball in the basket. Everybody else on the team combined to shoot 12-of-54 (22.2 percent) from the field, and 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) from three.
Earlier that Sunday afternoon, Texas took down No. 1 Stanford in a tight 69-64 game. Assuming someone else isn’t voted into that top spot, UConn could be looking at their first No. 1 ranking of the season.
“We aren’t really worried if we’re number one now, what we want to do is give ourselves the chance to be in the best position in March,” Dailey said.
CD sounded very Auriemma-esque, downplaying regular season rankings and putting the focus on what the Huskies can accomplish in the postseason.
Dailey also said that Auriemma FaceTimed her after the game and addressed the team.
“It was good because they got a chance to see him [Auriemma]. Of course he had to make a few comments about things that went on, and he wished everyone Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas. He was really proud of everyone,” Dailey said.
Dailey joked that though she isn’t a M.D., she expects Auriemma to make a full recovery.
The Huskies are finished with the 2019 calendar year, and will be moving on to 2020 undefeated. After a short break, their next game will be Jan. 2 at home against Wichita State. That game will be played at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m.