After running a demolition derby on the Temple Owls at Gampel Pavilion on Saturday, Geno Auriemma's UConn Huskies (16-0) will be welcoming the Central Florida Knights (4-13) to the XL Center for another American Athletic Conference tilt.
This UCF women's basketball team has more losses than UConn has had since the start of the 2008-2009 season. Barring a Space Jam scenario where aliens land on Earth, siphon the talent out of UConn's entire roster into a glowing basketball and give it to UCF, the Knights will probably be leaving Hartford tonight with a loss.
For the Huskies, freshman Katie Lou Samuelson has been coming on strong lately. She earned the opportunity to start in the Temple game, scoring 21 points while grabbing three rebounds and dishing out six assists. Geno has credited Samuelson's involvement in all phases of the game as the catalyst to her improved production.
The Huskies will be without preseason All-American Morgan Tuck—who has been playing consistently well all year—tonight as she rests her reconstructed knee. Though Tuck obviously brings a lot to the table, UConn should be able to deal with her absence as none of the upcoming competition will be too difficult to handle. Tuck, who is averaging 14.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, should be ready to go when the Huskies travel down south for a showdown with No. 2 South Carolina.
Natalie Butler, the 6-foot-5 transfer from Georgetown, will likely be seeing an increased workload with Tuck sitting. She has shown some very nice progress in relatively limited action thus far—recovering from an injury of her own—and should do well with this opportunity.
After tonight's game UConn will go on a two-game road trip, with games at SMU and Tulsa. The Huskies will play three more conference games after that before the highly-anticipated matchup with South Carolina on February 8.