Not even 48 hours ago, the UConn Huskies were going toe-to-toe in an overtime thriller against No. 1 South Carolina. But with a rematch against conference-foe Seton Hall lined up for tonight, Geno Auriemma’s team will have no time to rest and instead must prepare to face off against a tough Pirates team they played earlier in the year.
The first time UConn (14-1, 11-0 Big East) matched up against Seton Hall (9-3, 7-2 Big East) back in mid-December, it was the Huskies who walked away with a 92-65 victory. Bueckers led the way for UConn with 25 points while Christyn Williams (21), Olivia Nelson-Ododa (16) and Aaliyah Edwards (17) also reached double figures in a convincing win.
This was just the second game the Huskies had played together this season, so rotations and schemes have changed a bit since the teams’ first meeting and should pave the way for a different game come tip-off.
Still leading the way for UConn is the freshman Bueckers, who paces the team in points (21.1), assists (5.6) and steals (2.6). The most recent Big East Player of the Week is also coming off one of her best games of the season, a 31-point, six-steal performance against No. 1 South Carolina that included a stretch of 13 straight points and a game-clinching 3-pointer in overtime.
Right behind Bueckers are juniors Christyn Williams and Olivia Nelson-Ododa who are averaging 16.1 and 13 points respectively. Keep an eye out for Nelson-Ododa in this one, who has made up for her struggles offensively — she is averaging just 8.3 points per game over her last three games — by dishing out over five assists per game over that same stretch. If she can keep it rolling as a distributor, the Huskies have yet another weapon to run their offense through to make it even tougher to stop.
For the Pirates, it was Lauren Park-Lane taking control last time out, dropping a career-high 29 points on UConn to go along with six assists. Even so, the Huskies will have their eyes elsewhere in this one, as Andra Espinoza-Hunter is set to play after missing the first meeting.
Since transferring from Mississippi State, Espinoza-Hunter has taken control of this Seton Hall offense. The grad transfer is leading the Pirates, scoring over 21 points per game and can score on all three levels, including an impressive 45% clip from 3-point range. The Huskies will have their hands full trying to slow her down but are coming off their best defensive game of the season and will look to ride that momentum to their fifth straight win.
Tip-off for this matchup is set for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at Gampel Pavilion, and can be watched on SNY.