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UConn women’s basketball opponent preview: The others

After the contenders and the tournament teams, this group

NCAA Womens Basketball: St. John’s at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

UConn women’s basketball has no shortage of contenders and tournament-caliber teams on its schedule, but the conference schedule is rounded out by a handful of teams that are unlikely to challenge the Huskies.

These games should provide some opportunities to see a wider range of UConn’s roster in action. Minnesota, the opening opponent for UConn in the Battle 4 Atlantis, also falls into this category.

Here’s a preview of some games the Huskies should run through without much difficulty.

Minnesota (November 20)

2020-21 Season: 8-13

The Huskies open up their three-game slate in the Bahamas with Minnesota, which finished 10th in the Big Ten last season. The Gophers return their two leading scorers, Sara Scalia and Jasmine Powell, both of whom averaged 14.5 points in their sophomore seasons. Scalia and Powell, as well as returning starter Gadiva Hubbard, are all capable three-point shooters. Minnesota shot over 40 percent from deep as a team on multiple occasions last year. This game will be a good opportunity for the Huskies to work on their perimeter defense.

Georgetown (January 5 and February 20)

2020-21 Season: 2-15

While the Huskies handled Georgetown easily last season, they do bring a lot of size to the court, with eight players on the roster that are over six feet tall. Despite having only two wins, that size did allow the Hoyas to have some defensive success in the paint and they ranked in the top eight percent of the country for their block rate last season, per Her Hoop Stats.

Creighton (January 9 and February 2)

2020-21 Season: 10-12, played in WNIT

Creighton nearly made the Big East conference final game last season after shockingly knocking off Seton Hall in the quarterfinals, but fell short of upsetting Marquette. The Bluejays don’t return their leading scorer, Temi Carda, but do return the majority of last year’s roster and were voted sixth in the preseason poll, just behind the Big East teams with NCAA tournament potential.

Butler (January 12 and February 4)

2020-21 Season: 3-17

Butler scored nearly 40 percent of its points from beyond the arc last season and hit eight or more threes on nine occasions last season. Despite winning only three Big East games last year, they secured a win over DePaul after knocking down ten triples and also scored 42 points from deep in their second meeting with UConn last season. This game will be another good opportunity for UConn to work on their perimeter defense.

Xavier (January 15 and February 18)

2020-21 Season: 5-10

Xavier is a pesky team on the defensive end. They ranked in the top 10 percent in the country for steals per game and forced their opponents to turn over the ball nearly 19 times per game last season. The Huskies had 34 turnovers in their two meetings with the Musketeers last season - a number that should go down with another year of experience under UConn backcourt’s belt.

St. John’s (January 23 and February 25)

2020-21 Season: 8-15

St. John’s returns Leilani Correa, who was a unanimous preseason all-conference selection after averaging 17.6 points last season. Correa scored 33 points against UConn in their first meeting last season and will continue to be a good defensive test for the Huskies’ backcourt. UConn should win these games easily, but how well they contain Correa will be something to keep an eye on.

Providence (January 30 and February 27)

2020-21 Season: 7-14

Providence returns their size in the paint with their two senior forwards, Mary Baskerville and Alyssa Geary. Baskerville led the team in scoring and rebounding last season, and led the conference in blocks. While Providence was only picked to finish eighth in the Big East preseason poll, this will be one of the toughest frontcourt matchups UConn sees in conference play.