With 22 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a trio of 3-pointers, it was just another night in the office for Megan Walker. At least, it’s certainly the type of performance we’ve become accustomed to from Walker this season. She’s scored in double figures in all but one game and has been an increasing threat on the glass as the season wears on.
But on Monday night, Walker suited up against the best players in the world for UConn’s exhibition game against Team USA. It was a game her team was supposed to lose, but they came out and competed with some of the best of the pros for 35 minutes. That success was in no small part due to Walker, who made a statement Monday night: that she’s one of the best players in the country.
It was the kind of statement that had Walker at the top of Minnesota Lynx and national team coach Cheryl Reeve’s mind when she was asked about the Huskies’ players post-game.
“They have some players we’re going to see at the next level,” Reeve said. “Megan Walker’s going to be a great pro.”
Even head coach Geno Auriemma was thrilled with her performance.
“I was really proud of her today. She battled pretty hard,” Auriemma said. “Meg’s getting better every week and today was just another step in that process.”
Walker’s improvement from last season is obvious, but her game has continued to evolve since November, and that growth was evident on Monday night. She’s becoming more aggressive on offense and finishing better through traffic. Her 22 points against team USA, came on just 16 field goal attempts, one of her most efficient games of the season against the toughest traffic she’ll face all season.
“It’s a great sign when you can get things done in a game like this, because that’s going to give you a ton of confidence no matter who you play against,” added Auriemma. “Because scoring, getting buckets against these guys, it’s not easy.”
That confidence should go a long way for Walker, especially with the Huskies upcoming schedule.
On Monday they play No. 3 Oregon at Gampel Pavilion and the following week they’re on the road at No. 1 South Carolina. Scoring might be easier that it was on Monday night, but getting buckets against Oregon’s trio of pro-ready players in Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally or against South Carolina’s freshman post sensation Aaliyah Boston won’t be a simple task for UConn.
With Walker proving she’s ready to string together All-American type performances against the best teams, her teammates will certainly look for her to have big nights when it counts in the coming weeks.