clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UConn Women's Basketball Game Preview: Huskies visit Cincinnati in conference play, TV: 3pm, ESPN2

The Huskies travel to Cincinnati, who have lost more games this season than UConn has in the past five seasons combined.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This afternoon the No. 2 UConn women's basketball team will face the Cincinnati Bearcats in a nationally televised event. Cincinnati is having a white-out during the game at Fifth/Third Arena but the only white-out UConn is concerned with are the potential blizzard hitting the state of Connecticut and affecting their trip back.

The Huskies have been a dominant force in the American Athletic Conference, and have not been challenged in league play.  They are currently unbeaten and the streak looks like it will continue for the foreseeable future.

Today's opponent features a very young Cincinnati team that former UConn assistant coach Jamelle Elliot continues to build. Her sixth season with the Bearcats has been a struggle without having a senior on her roster. Elliot starts three freshmen along with a sophomore and junior.

The Bearcats have lost two straight road games and they are 5-13 overall, 2-5 in the American.

They have three players that score in double figures, two of whom are freshmen. They are lead by 6-2 forward Marley Hill. Hill averages just over 13 points and 10 rebounds per game. Ana Owens is a 5-6 guard who is averaging 13 points and five rebounds.

The Bearcats are ranked in the bottom half in the conference in most statistical categories, while UConn is ranked near the top.  This game has all the making of another mismatch on the court.  The Huskies have never lost to Bearcats, in a series dating back to 2006. The only loss UConn has suffered at Fifth/Third Arena was in 1999 when they were upset by Iowa State in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.

The Huskies (17-1, 7-0) are coming off three dominant performances over the past week and a half and they continue to get stronger and stronger.

UConn has beaten their last three opponents (Temple, USF and UCF) by an average of 44 points. Defensively, they are just locking down teams and preventing them from scoring. The games have been decided before the first official timeout.

Offensively, UConn has a balanced attack. Five players score in double figures. Breanna Stewart is averaging under-17 points per game. The coaching staff said that Stewart should be averaging at least 20 points. However, Stewart assist totals have increased.

Morgan Tuck (14.5 points) and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (14.4) continue to be an inside/outside threat. Both players have taken control of games, with many national commentators saying that Tuck is the best player on the UConn team. However, Mosqueda-Lewis has been the team's leading scorer the past two games.

The guard play continues to improve. Both Moriah Jefferson and Kia Nurse continue to run the offense, both average 12.1 points. Many teams that have backed off Jefferson in the past to shoot the three now need to guard her as she had made 13 of her last 18 shots from long range. Overall, Jefferson has made her last 13 straight field goal attempts.

Geno Auriemma is still figuring out how to utilize his bench. He admitted in a recent radio interview that he needs to keep some starters in the game along with his bench players or it would be a potential disaster. However, the bench has gotten a lot of minutes in recent games since they have not been contests.

Kiah Stokes has been solid off the bench on the defensive end. The sennior leads the team in rebounds per game (7.7) and is second in the nation is blocks (4.4).

Gabby Williams has also been a spark off the bench. Many compare her game to that of former UConn All-American Swin Cash with her athleticism. Although she has been up and down and hit the proverbial freshman wall, Williams has averaged over 8 points and 6 rebounds.

After today's game, UConn will return to Hartford with a showdown with East Carolina on Wednesday night at the XL Center.