'Cats Come To Town
Published: Monday, January 28, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 10:01
The No. 3 UConn Huskies will try to notch their seventh straight victory when they take on the No. 25 Villanova Wildcats, tonight at the XL Center in Hartford.
UConn is fresh off a 67-31 rout of the Cincinnati Bearcats, when the Huskies only allowed nine points at the halfway point. UConn has won their last six games in a row after a heartbreaking loss to No. 2 Notre Dame at Gampel Pavilion on Jan. 5.
One of the Huskies who has been at the top of her game for the better part of the season has been junior Stefanie Dolson. She is currently second on the team in points scored behind sophomore forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. Dolson has been averaging 13.4 points per game this season and is looking for another good performance on the court when Villanova comes to Hartford.
Freshman forward Breanna Stewart has also has been playing well off the bench for the Huskies. Against Cincinnati, she scored 10 points and grabbed seven boards, earning her Big East Freshman Player of the Week honors. According to head coach Geno Auriemma, Stewart is one of the best freshman basketball players in the country today.
“This is one of those years where there’s a lot of really good freshmen in our league and I think Breanna in the Duke game, in the second half really solidified herself as one of the best freshman not just in our league but the country,” said Auriemma. “She’s had her struggles here and there but I think given what we ask her to do I think she’s overall when you take the whole thing I think she’s had a great year up to this point and it’s only going to get better.”
Although the Huskies have been playing good basketball during the month of January, turnovers have plagued the team during their last two contests. On Jan. 21, UConn gave the ball away 15 times in their 79-49 victory over Duke. Last Saturday the Huskies turned the ball over 15 times again against the Bearcats. UConn has been hard at work at practice to try to reduce the number of turnover they commit in a game. Senior Kelly Faris attributes her turnovers to playing the game too fast at times.
“I’m playing too fast and there’s times where I predetermine what I’m going to do and that’s been a habit that I really had to break this year,” said Faris said.
Villanova heads into the game with UConn coming off a 65-59 win over No. 22 Syracuse on Jan. 26. So far this season the Wildcats have posted a 16-3 record over all and 5-1 record in Big East play. They are led by leading scorer Laura Sweeney, who averages 13.2 points a game. UConn has a strangle hold in the all-time series against Villanova with a record of 35-17. The Huskies have also won the last nine straight gamwes against the Wildcats.
Auriemma has told his players during practice that playing the Wildcats means not just a physical game on the court, but a mental game as well. Freshman Morgan Tuck will experience this for the first time but she said the Huskies are just trying to focus on playing as a team.
“I know he’s talking about it being more of a mental game,” Tuck said. “We haven’t been really focusing on this too much, we’re just trying to make sure we’re ready as a team and that we play together as a team.”
Tip-off between UConn and Villanova is scheduled for tomorrow at 7 p.m. and the game will be televised live on SNY.