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The Women’s Beat with Bob Joyce

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A Visit to Cameron – Tonight the Huskies will play the last of the Top 5 teams in the rankings as they visit the #5 Duke Blue Devils on ESPN2’s Big Monday Women’s Package. (6:30 on WTIC N/T 1080 & wtic.com) It’s a big game for both teams for very different reasons. For UConn, it’s their third top five road game. And with losses at Baylor and Notre Dame, finishing one on the road is a must. Of course it doesn’t hurt that Tiffany Hayes is playing the best, most consistent basketball of her UConn career. The newly crowned Big East POW has a UCWBB best 68pts in back to back games….Think about that one for a minute.  Pretty impressive I’d say…

Duke, who starts 4 sophomores and a highly touted freshman post player in Elizabeth Williams, is vastly improved offensively from recent years as four of the five starters average double figures (the 5th 9.7…) And they’ve lost to ND at the Junkanoo Jam and at Kentucky. But just a week ago, they outscored Maryland down the stretch to win 80-72. All that is well and good. Here’s the one number that has me hesitant taking the Blue Devils seriously right now. 32.5 as in UConn’s average margin of victory in the last four games vs. Duke. Including a 33pt loss at Cameron two years ago. Granted, no Maya, Tina or Kalana Greene to deal with. But most who played in the two 30+ point blowouts last season are back..while adding KML to the mix…I’ll be interested to see how Duke’s kiddy corps deals with the Huskies in their biggest home game of the season.

Now UConn is coming off a no so hot-so home win over a game bunch from USF that pushed the Huskies for 40 minutes while scoring the 3rd most pts against the Huskies this season. But the Hayes-Dolson duo was too much as were the rebounding and 2nd chance pts departments.  This is a fairly big game for the game itself. If Duke hangs with or beats the Huskies, you can make them a legit contender for Denver. But if UConn remains dominant against the ACC, you can bellieve what DePaul Coach Doug Bruno said last weekend. The Baylor, ND, UConn and Stanford were the viable FF choices. If that is the case, it’s not good for the Women’s game. Are there more really good teams ? Yes, but the number of the elite programs remain small. That has to change..Sooner than later.

Remember, Kara & I will be high atop Cameron Indoor with all the action tonight. Hope you can tune us in at 6:30 :)

byw: 65 and not a cloud in the sky today in Durham. Could have played golf today….Better that I didn’t :)

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