Women’s Basketball: Late game defense helps hold off first real conference test

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If I were to tell you that after the first quarter, UConn was losing to Memphis by six points, you’d probably laugh in my face. But, that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday, as for the first time in what seems like forever, UConn was actually seriously tested by an opponent from their own conference.

However, it’s not all that surprising considering the Huskies went 1-for-6 from three in the first, with their only triple coming from Crystal Dangerfield. They came back in the second and outscored the Tigers by eight, taking a two-point lead into the locker room for halftime. They bumped their lead up to nine points by the end of the third and won 68-56.

Even though they won by 12, the fourth quarter was not nearly a cakewalk, as six straight points from the Tigers to open up the quarter cut the UConn lead to just three with 6:40 to go. However, from that point on the Huskies outscored the Tigers 14-5 and held them to just one field goal, a three with just over four minutes remaining.

It was the guard show all night, with Dangerfield and Christyn Williams leading the offensive charge with 24 and 16 points respectively, accounting for well over half of their scoring. 

Dangerfield was clearly the team’s most valuable player, stepping up when the team needed her the most and scoring her 24 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-9 from three. She had two turnovers in the first 2:10 of the game but managed to not commit another one for the rest of the game.

Williams was similarly efficient, shooting 7-of-12 from the field but 0-for-3 from beyond the arc, as her struggles hitting the three-ball continue. On the season, she is shooting just 27.9% from three, but despite that has managed to keep her field goal percentage at 51%, even with over a quarter of her shots coming from deep. She has proven to be skilled in not only her midrange game but also in her ability to drive and finish near the hoop. Last season, she shot 37.6% from three, so once those shots start falling, she’s going to be a problem for defenses.

Tonight, someone who is normally a problem for defenses wasn’t so much, with Megan Walker scoring just 14 points on a solid 6-of-12 shooting but committing a whopping six turnovers. She did, however, grab nine rebounds, tied for the team-high with Olivia Nelson-Ododa, and had four steals, as just her and Dangerfield played all 40 minutes of the game.

The Huskies will be back in action shortly, taking on UCF at 6 p.m. on Thursday in what should be one of their hardest conference matchups of the season.


Jorge Eckardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at Jorge.eckardt@uconn.edu. He tweets @jorge_eckardt31.

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