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UConn women’s basketball downs Wichita State, 83-55

The Huskies started slow but finished strong in the comfortable win.

Playing its second conference game of the season Thursday night, UConn women’s basketball posted an 83-55 victory over the Wichita State Shockers at home.

Crystal Dangerfield played one of her best games of the season, scoring 22 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists while turning it over just once. Megan Walker scored 21 points along with seven rebounds and five assists as well in her seventh 20-point game of the season. Olivia Nelson-Ododa tied her career-high with seven blocks while also chipping in 13 points and nine rebounds.

As a team, UConn dominated the glass with a 41-23 rebounding margin. The Huskies also grabbed 13 offensive boards which they turned into 17 second-chance points.

The Huskies’ offense struggled to get into gear early on, taking over two minutes to score its first points while missing its first six shots. Meanwhile, Wichita State couldn’t miss, making its first four shots and quickly jumping out to a 10-1 lead.

After the first TV timeout, the Huskies finally found a rhythm. UConn scored 16 points in a row — 8 from Megan Walker — and held the Shockers scoreless over the final 4:52 of the quarter to jump ahead 22-12.

The second quarter saw much of the same as the Huskies opened with six straight points before an 11-0 run pushed their lead past 20. After the early nine-point deficit, UConn out-scored Wichita State by 28 to go into the half with a 45-26 advantage.

In the second half, the Huskies appeared to be on their way to a stress-free victory after extending the lead to 24 points late in the third quarter. The Shockers couldn’t generate much on offense while UConn scored with ease, a good recipe for success.

But in the final quarter, the Huskies let up and left the door open for the visitors. UConn played uncharacteristically sloppy, with bad turnovers and fouls down both ends of the floor. Suddenly, Wichita State was back within 10 with 6:20 left to play. To make things even worse, Walker fouled out, leaving the Huskies without their best player.

With Walker on the bench and the Shockers closing in, Christyn Williams came up big for UConn. The sophomore scored the Huskies’ next seven points and grabbed a critical offensive rebound to help UConn re-gain control of the game. Williams recovered from a slow start to finish with 19 points on 6-13 shooting.

UConn closed the game on a 20-2 run over the final six minutes on its way to securing the 83-55 victory in Geno’s first game back on the bench after recovering from a December surgery.

Next up on the schedule, UConn travels to Dallas to face SMU on Sunday at 4 p.m. in a game that will be televised on SNY/ESPN3.