Women’s Basketball Notebook: Makurat has strong but by no means perfect performance


First, I just want to apologize for Sean’s lack of impulse control when it comes to making puns. If you read his recap, you know what I’m talking about. But now on to the actual content. 

Anna Makurat has shown a lot of positives in her freshman season for UConn. She can shoot the ball effectively from under or near the basket, midrange and behind the arc, she has excellent court vision which helps her pull off some spectacular passes and she has been improving throughout the season on the defensive end. 

Wednesday night versus Tulane, Makurat had an overall great night, even recording a five-by-five. For those who do not know, a five-by-five is when a player records five or more in five statistical categories in a single game. 

In 32 minutes on the court, Makurat recorded 18 points, five assists, five rebounds, six steals and … five turnovers. 

Of course, this isn’t a true five-by-five, which usually consists of points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. However, by the literal definition, it qualifies. 

“I was especially happy when she started knocking down shots early, and her confidence, just kind of, you could see it,” head coach Geno Auriemma said. “She couldn’t wait to shoot it, and she was so happy, she started passing the ball to the other team too. You know, because that’s the kind of kid she is. Some of our guys were open she threw it to them, some of their guys were open she threw it to them, I think she had a great all-around game for both teams. She was terrific.” 

Makurat agrees. 

“I would say the same thing right now,” Makurat said. “I wasn’t happy about those turnovers.” 

It was the third time this season Makurat has turned the ball over five or more times, the first coming against UCF just over a month ago and then again at East Carolina a little over a week later. 

For Makurat and a lot of players of her age, Auriemma said they need to stop having each and every possession change their thinking. 

“You gotta stop thinking that everything you just did is gonna affect everything that’s about to happen,” Auriemma said. “Ball goes in, you’re not gonna make the next one. Ball doesn’t go in, you’re not gonna make the next one. Players are like that, they make two or three, they see it go in the net, they think they can make 23. They miss two or three, ‘I can’t buy a bucket.’” 

It’s something that’s been noticeable about Makurat from the very beginning of the season. Despite being a very good three-point shooter, she started her UConn career 0-for-11 from beyond the arc. Even recently, before tonight, she was 0-for-9 from three in her last three games. 

The UConn women's basketball team Tulane 74-31 at the XL Center on Wednesday night. Megan Walker had 18 points in the blowout.  Photo by Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus

The UConn women’s basketball team Tulane 74-31 at the XL Center on Wednesday night. Megan Walker had 18 points in the blowout. Photo by Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus

But she’s also had other times where it seems like she can’t miss, most notably her game versus East Carolina – the same game where she had five turnovers – where she went 8-for-10 from three. 

“I’m talking with coach about it all the time,” Makurat said. “To have a short memory, just be focused on the next possession, just on the things that I can do well. You can’t change the past, so just be better in the next possession.” 

With a final stretch of regular-season games coming up and then the conference tournament, the Huskies will need Makurat to really step up her game and have more nights like tonight versus, say, two Fridays ago against Memphis, when she had two points and three turnovers in 32 minutes. 

“They’re putting her at the one a little bit more, so she’s handling the ball, finding open people and knocking in shots,” junior Megan Walker said. “She gives us another scoring option.” 

That scoring depth that Makurat, who has just recently returned to the starting lineup after a lengthy absence from it, opens up a whole new range of possibilities for the UConn offense. If she continues to be a threat, then not only will her better play alone benefit the team, but it will also open up opportunities for the rest of the players on the floor. 

If UConn is going to make a run in the NCAA Tournament, they’re going to need all five starters –which includes Makurat – to be at the top of their game. 

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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