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UConn Women’s Basketball: Non-Conference Play Stats Roundup

UConn’s seniors are leading the way on the stat sheet.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Thursday night’s loss to Baylor marked the end of the non-conference portion of the schedule for UConn women’s basketball. The Huskies still have top 25 match-ups against Louisville and South Carolina on the schedule, but the majority of the remainder of their schedule will be focused on American Athletic Conference play.

Heading into the AAC season, here’s the breakdown of how UConn has measured in the stats so far:

Team Stats

UConn is the best team in the country at taking care at the ball. So far they have turned the ball over just 10.6 times per game, the lowest in the country. They are also averaging 18.4 assists per game, which gives them the second best assist-to-turnover ratio in the country at 1.74.

The Huskies’ ability to take care of the ball helps them to have one of the most efficient offenses in the country, scoring 1.01 points per play. Points per play is a scoring measure which takes true shooting attempts (field goals and free throw trips) and turnovers into consideration in the denominator. UConn ranks third in the country for points scored per play, behind just Oregon and Mississippi State.

Despite their struggles on the defensive end at times, the Huskies’ offense has helped them close out the first part of the season with the fourth highest average margin of victory in the country. UConn has beaten their opponents by an average margin of 26.8 points per game thus far.

One stat that stands out on the defensive side is the inability of the Huskies’ to turn their opponents over so far this season. Their opponents have averaged just 13.6 turnovers per game, which ranks in the bottom 15 percent in the nation. This was especially evident in the Baylor loss, when the Huskies turned over a team averaging 15 turnovers per game just five times.

The Seniors

The Huskies’ two seniors, Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson have been stuffing the stat sheet as one of the best duos in the country. The two combine for 37.8 points, 18.6 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game.

Collier is leading the team in rebounds with 10.5 a game. She is impressive on the defensive glass, posting a defensive rebound rate of over 20 percent. That means that if UConn’s opponents miss a shot and Collier is on the floor, she is collecting the rebound about 1/5 of the time.

On the other end of the floor, Collier also leads the team in field goal percentage at 56.4 percent, including a remarkable 60.3 percent from two-point range.

Samuelson leads the team in scoring, with 19.4 points per game. So far on the season, she is shooting 38.1 percent from 3-point range. While that percentage still ranks in the 80th percentile, it is significantly down from last year. In the 2017-18 season, Samuelson shot 47.5 percent from beyond the arc, which ranked eighth in the country. If she can return to that level of shooting for the second half of the season, it will be a big advantage for the Huskies.

Samuelson has, however, greatly improved other aspects of her game. Most notably, her 8.1 rebounds per game are nearly double her average from last season (4.5).

Other Starters

Crystal Dangerfield leads the team in assists with 4.9 per game. When she is on the floor, 22 percent of UConn’s baskets are scored off a Dangerfield dime.

Megan Walker, who made just 13 three-pointers all of last season, has already made 12 this year. This season she has scored in double figures in 7 of UConn’s games, compared to just 9 all of last year. Her field goal percentages from both two and 3-point range are also about three percentage points higher than last year’s.

Christyn Williams ranks in the 99th percentile in points per play, at 1.61. Among true freshman averaging eight or more points per game, she ranks fourth in the country. Williams is also leading the team in 3-point percentage, shooting 46.2 percent from beyond the arc (top five percent in the country).

The Bench

Bench production has been an issue all season long, and the numbers show it. UConn’s five starters have combined for 884 of the Huskies’ 996 points so far this season. That means the rest of the team has contributed just 11 percent of the teams’ points this season. Those points have largely come in garbage time with the starting five on the bench.

Olivia Nelson-Ododa has been the most impactful player off the bench for UConn, and is the only bench player who has made an appearance in every game this season. While on the floor she has blocked 8.7 percent of opponents’ two-point shot attempts, placing her among the top 70 shot blockers in the country.

If you’re interested in more stats from UConn so far this season, you can check out their Her Hoop Stats page. The Huskies begin conference play at Houston on Sunday. The game tips at noon and will be aired on CBS Sports Network.