Huskies celebrate snow day news with win
The early snow day announcement didn't deter the No. 1 UConn women's basketball team from heating up Gampel Pavilion as they played Southern Methodist in their last long stretch of conference games. UConn effortlessly surpassed SMU, defeating the Mustangs 102-41.
UConn had a total of 31 assists and 14 blocks as a team. They dominated nearly every aspect of the game with ease. Their competitive play is not found in just one player, it includes every single player on the court. The team did especially well in passing and keeping a balance between which type of shots they made.
"[Passing is] just one of those things that gets contagious. We have a lot of finishers so that's as much of an answer that I can give you," head coach Geno Auriemma said. "We have whoever you pass it to can make shots so that helps too. If you pass it you know you are going to get an assist."
Best AAC shooter goes to...
UConn has been the talk of the American Athletic Conference this season boasting a red-hot frontcourt and backcourt. The team averages 84.5 points per game while Moriah Jefferson and Bria Hartley top the conference in assists. Jefferson leads the way with 5.3 assists per game while Hartley averages 4.7 a game.
"When you get kids every night that are getting six, seven assists and one or two turnovers that means a lot. That statistic does mean a lot," Auriemma said. "That means that every time... or 90 percent of the time at least we are getting a great shot so that is significant...This year we have done a really good job of making the right pass at the right time."
However, Mustangs senior Keena Mays is the leading scorer in the conference. Breanna Stewart follows at a close second averaging 19.2 points per game. Mays, who has played 21 games this season, has scored a total of 422 points and averages 20.1 points a game. Mays proves to be the lone offensive threat on the Mustangs' lineup. She was still able to attain her average of 20 points this game, however her teammates were unable to make ten points against the Huskies. The team had a total of 21 points, while Mays racked up 20 by herself.
"We knew coming into it Mays is the leading scorer in the league," senior Stefanie Dolson said. "[Jefferson] was assigned her but we knew that it was going to be a team defense to make sure that she didn't get all their points. She did a great job tonight but we made sure we talked to each other and communicated and listened. We played really great defense."
Although Brianna Banks played in the last game against Cincinnati, she was unable to play this game due to a reinjured ankle during Monday's practice. Banks tried to warm up with the team, but she did not feel like she could play her best in the game, resulting in only seven healthy players yet again.
"It's not looking good," Auriemma said. "It's like the fifth time she's done it this year so I don't know, hopefully it will get better soon."
Although Banks' status is shaky, the team doesn't seem to be worried about the lack of players, Hartley said. They seem to be accustomed to it this year and will continue to play as hard as they can despite the lack of players.
Rebounding. Rebounding. Rebounding
The hottest topic for Auriemma and the Huskies is undoubtedly rebounding. UConn has leveled out with almost identical total rebounds in the past three games averaging 40 total rebounds and ten offensive rebounds. Although the team's rebounding was better than both the Temple and Cincinnati games, the 23 offensive rebounds SMU racked up was not what the Huskies wanted. Although it is hard to argue that the team needs to work on rebounding when all five starters have double-digit points, rebounding is key.
"This game we did a lot better [in rebounding]," Hartley said. "I think we just need to work on [offensive rebounding] everyday and be aggressive about it all the time. The way you get those shots is being aggressive."
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