It’s rare that UConn women’s basketball loses a regular season game. Dating back to the start of the 2013-14 season, the Huskies have dropped just four out of 182 games. That’s a .978 winning percentage.
But what’s even more difficult than beating UConn in the regular season is beating them in back-to-back games. Geno Auriemma’s team hasn’t lost back to back games since the end of the 1993 season, a span in which the Huskies have played 973 games.
After the loss to Baylor, UConn has a quick turnaround to their next game with just one day off before facing Houston at the XL Center. Safe to say, the Huskies will be motivated, so much so that Christyn Williams is already taking pity on the Cougars:
UConn's next game is against Houston.— Alex Putterman (@AlexPutterman) January 10, 2020
Here's what Christyn Williams had to say about that: "Houston, they just happen to be the team, so all the frustration and anger that we have, we're taking it out on them. So it sucks to be them."
But in reality, does UConn really bludgeon its next opponent after a loss? There’s not a huge sample to pick from but even still, it’s a mixed bag.
Taking the four games after the Huskies’ three regular season losses since 2013-14 as well the three-point Tulane win in 2017 — which was treated like a loss — UConn’s average margin of victory is 27.8. However, the most recent example is just a 10-point win over Cincinnati following the Louisville loss last season.
So ultimately, just because the Huskies lose doesn’t mean the next game will automatically be a 60-point blowout. At the same time, Houston is hardly in an enviable position. While Williams may be the most open player on the team, it’s hard to imagine her sentiment isn’t felt across the locker room.
Putting a bow on Baylor
Some leftover thoughts from the Baylor postgame:
— Anna Makurat played 18 minutes but only took two shots. While she’s only averaging 4.5 points per game, the freshman looked comfortable on the floor recently after a shaky start. Since three players carried the offense for UConn against Baylor, the Huskies should try to get her more involved against the weak teams of the AAC. But in order to do that, Makurat first needs to get out of her own way.
“She’s her own worst enemy. She plays tentative for whatever reason,” Auriemma said. “But she’s actually getting better, believe it or not. I thought the last couple games she has been better. And she will be better with the more games she plays.”
— Interesting analogy from Auriemma, who compared the course of a season to a class in school:
“At this time of the year, you have to treat every game — especially a game like this against a really, really good team — you have to treat it like it’s another part of your class. It’s a class and this is one of the tests you have to take and there’s one every month. What would be devastating would be if this was the final and then you’re done. That would be a sh—tty way to go out, if this was the final. But it’s not.”
— Christyn Williams built on her reputation of coming through in big games, leading the Huskies with 21 points and nine rebounds.
“I never worry about Christyn in these games. Christyn can take the ball and do pretty much whatever she wants with it. She’s fearless. And yeah, she’s not the shot the ball well from the perimeter this year but I don’t worry about her. And she’s only a sophomore. So she’ll get better. For sure, she’ll get a lot better.”
— Kim Mulkey declared after the game that she thought six teams in the country have “the ability, the talent and the coaching” to win a national championship, including Baylor and UConn (she declined to list the other four).
Auriemma, on the other hand, disagreed: “We’re not the same level they are. We don’t have enough.”
“All I can do is get this team to be as good a team as they can be. Whatever that is,” he added later. “I don’t know where that is right now. We’ll be better than we were today, obviously. But how good? I don’t know.”
The Cougars come into Saturday’s matchup sporting just an 8-8 record with an RPI that ranks them 143rd in the nation.
The two teams have a pair of common opponents: Oklahoma and Temple. Houston beat the Sooners 85-69, compared to UConn’s 97-53 victory. The Cougars fell to the Owls at home, 61-58 while the Huskies dispatched them 83-54 on the road.
How to Watch
When: 1 p.m.
Where: XL Center, Hartford, Connecticut