It’s happened. The sky is falling. How will the program ever recover?
For the first time since 2007, the UConn women’s basketball team is not ranked within the top-five programs in the sport. According to the NCAA, the Huskies spent 253 consecutive weeks inside the top-five, significantly higher than the next longest streak of 96 set by Louisiana Tech.
Yes, at 21-3, UConn is ranked No. 6, and it’s something that’s been keeping head coach Geno Auriemma up every night.
“I really struggled,” Auriemma said. “It was really hard. I went to the drug store, got some medicine, went to go see somebody. They told me, it’s OK, it’s OK. So I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that this, too, shall pass.”
For senior guard Crystal Dangerfield, she took a more optimistic look at the three losses.
“Teams have written us off after our three losses,” Dangerfield said. “Those are three really, really good teams [Baylor, Oregon and South Carolina]. If I’m going to lose, I’ll to those teams.”
Now, going into the final stretch run of the season, it’s just a handful of regular-season games and then the Conference Tournament, which is less than a month away. With Sunday’s game versus USF, the Huskies officially entered into the part of their schedule where there are only conference games remaining, so next up is the Tulane Green Wave.
Tulane is 12-13 this season but a solid 7-5 in conference play, sitting at No. 5 in the standings.
Their season has been a story of runs, currently on a four-game losing skid after going 8-1 previously.
The Green Wave are led by a junior duo of Krystal Freeman and Arsula Clark, who lead the team with 14.4 and 12.7 points per game, respectively. They are both doing so efficiently as well, as they are each shooting over 44% from the field.
Freeman, a 6-foot forward, leads the team in rebounding with 7.4 per game, and Clark, a 5-foot-9 guard, leads the team in assists. They do have some height, with 6-foot-3 Mia Heide playing 20-plus minutes per game and pulling down 5.4 rebounds per game, which is second on the team. They do have another 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-5 player, but neither of them see the floor for over 10 minutes a game.
As expected, the Huskies are undefeated against Tulsa historically, and in their most recent matchup, UConn won 75-33.
The Huskies have another home game on Saturday at Gampel Pavilion, their last one on campus this season, and then will be on the road for a week before returning to the XL Center for their final game of the season.
Wednesday’s tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the XL Center in Hartford.