For just the fourth time this season, UConn is playing a home game on campus.
On Thursday the women’s basketball team is hosting the Cincinnati Bearcats, kicking off a stretch of three straight games at Gampel Pavilion.
“It’s really home,” senior guard Crystal Dangerfield said after a Jan. 19 game versus Tulsa. “We don’t like playing anywhere else. We have XL obviously, but that doesn’t really feel like a home game to us. This is close to us, fans come out and they’re great, they’re loud, especially if it’s a really big game. It’s a great atmosphere.”
The Bearcats are a very solid 13-6 this season and 4-2 in American Athletic Conference play, most recently defeating the Temple Owls 86-81.
They’re led by junior forward Ilmar’l Thomas, who averages over 20 points per game — exclusively on twos — and 8.7 rebounds per game, both team highs.
As a team, they don’t shoot the three-ball very well, if at all, having just two players who have taken over 50 threes this season. Those two, Antoinette Miller and Sam Rodgers, are shooting just 30.9% and 31.6% from beyond the arc, respectively.
As for UConn from beyond the arc, they have four players who have attempted over 50 threes this season, and three of them are making them at over a 40% clip. Christyn Williams is shooting just 30.3%, but that is largely the result of a rough first half of the season. Over her past three games, Williams is 6-for-10 from beyond the arc, seemingly having found her stroke.
The Bearcats also aren’t the tallest team out there, primarily starting just one player who is 6-foot or taller, and in their case, she is 6-foot on the nose. They do have some height off the bench in the form of 6-foot-4-inch and 6-foot-1-inch forwards, but they average just 10.7 minutes and 8.2 minutes per game, respectively.
The Huskies are currently riding a six-game regular-season winning streak (not including the Team USA Exhibition), most recently putting a 98-42 beatdown on East Carolina.
The Huskies have never lost to the Bearcats, going 20-0 against them since their first matchup in 2006. They have also never won by anything less than 10, which happened last season.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., and the game can be watched on SNY and ESPN3.