Anna Makurat missed her first 11 threes to begin her UConn career. Yesterday afternoon, she went 4-for-7 from beyond the arc and lit Tulsa up for a career-high 21 points.
“She’s much more confident taking those shots and driving into the lane when they run her off the 3-point line,” Megan Walker said. “For a freshman, there’s going to be ups and downs, but for her we just need her to keep making shots.”
UConn beat up on their conference rivals in their first game back in Gampel Pavilion for the new year, 92-34. Walker, Crystal Dangerfield and Olivia Nelson-Ododa all sat the entire fourth quarter, and Christyn Williams played just three minutes. This opened the door for Makurat to play the entire period, in which she scored 16 of her 21 points.
“Sometimes you just have this feeling that the ball is going to go in no matter what shot you take. I had it for a moment and it was pretty cool, it was the first time that it happened here,” Makurat said.
Makurat was able to unleash the 3-ball, but also had a few impressive drives to the basket where she’d jump off the opposite foot and hit reverse layups. She shot super efficiently (8-for-12) and contributed across the board, adding six rebounds, five assists and three steals. She played the second-most minutes on the team with 29.
The last few games have built up to this great performance from the freshman. She tied her previous career-high of 10 points Thursday against UCF, shooting 2-for-4 from deep. Two games before that, she also went 2-for-4 from three. The game before that, she made three 3-pointers and grabbed five rebounds.
“I’m not surprised that Anna had a game like today because these last three or four games, she’s looked really, really good,” Auriemma said. “She’s getting more comfortable every day, she’s finding spots on the floor where she can be successful, she feels better shooting the ball and she’s getting better defensively.”
Makurat has a money 3-point shot, but it’s her playmaking ability that Geno Auriemma loves about her game.
“When we were in Dallas, I kept reminding her ‘that guy out there is only one year older than you,’” Auriemma said. “Today she kind of channeled her inner Luka.”
The Luka Doncic comparison is pretty on the nose. Both players have a great jumper, are savvy rebounders, developing defenders and above all else, an incredibly gifted passers. Plus with Makurat being from Poland, both learned to ball European style.
Moving forward, Makurat will play an important role taking scoring pressure off of Walker and Williams, as well as playmaking pressure off of Dangerfield. Auriemma mentioned that Dangerfield is at her best when she is trying to score instead of playing pass-first, so having another distributer like Makurat will be valuable as the long season starts to wear on everybody.
Next for the Huskies are bitter rivals Tennessee on Thursday. That game will tip off from the XL Center at 7 p.m.