The Women’s Beat with Bob Joyce – Another Number 1 vs. 2 Matchup

Well. here we go again. One versus Two. Been there, done that many times. That is if you’re the UConn Women. The 20th such meeting in the last 20 seasons where they’re 16-3 in the previous 19 such games. But tonight’s game will be the first as a #2 at home since 1995. You may remember that game as the Huskies vaulted to #1 for the first time with a win over Tennessee. Nikki McCray was a member of that Lady Vols Team..and now, she’s an assistant with the current Top Ranked Team in 22-0 South Carolina.

The Gamecocks, coached by Hall of Fame Player Dawn Staley, start with defense. They yield just 50ppg and no team has scored more than 63 on them all season. Then again, they haven’t seen a team with so many options on offense like the Huskies. Tops in the nation in points per game and FG%..2nd in assists and 3pt %..Oh yeah, the Huskies do lead the country in defense and FG% as well..But back to the east coast USC, the Gamecocks are led by 5-9 All American Guard Tiffany Mitchell. The Charlotte Native is in the SEC’s top 5 in scoring, FG%, FT% and 3pt made. She’s got a complete game as a penetrater and can hit the 3 ball. And while their starters set the tone, it’s the bench that can score a lot. Sophomore Alliyah Coates and the Freshman duo of A’ja Wilson and Bianca Cuevas have the ability to light up a scoreboard. Coates has a SEC high 10 double doubles, Wilson a team high 18, double figure scoring games and Cuevas a flashy, hot shot point guard from the Bronx..has averaged 12ppg in her last 5 games.

As for UConn, you maybe aware of what happened to the post players Saturday in Memphis.. Stewey, Tuck and Stokes were benched after their stints early and didn’t return. Geno Auriemma said he wasn’t sending a message, but he expects more of the veterans’ players in setting the tone early in games. And the last three have started slowly..The last time he did this to a post player was Stefanie Dolson at the end of her Sophomore season at Marquette. Dolson was determined to change and she did..How Stewart and Tuck respond ? We’ll find out soon.

But we do know that Gabby Williams’ confidence is very high right now…She gets better with every game. Now how she plays v South Carolina ?  We’ll find out…But she and Soniya Chong are in good places right now..And that can only help the cause moving forward.

The game is an advanced sellout..The weather won’t be great as snow has decided to arrive for another Monday. IF you have tickets and don’t wish to venture out..Contact the UConn Ticket office and make sure you donate the tickets to students. Make Gampel the great environment it can be for basketball for either one of it’s teams…And make this a great night of hoops for all the nation to see..

And of course Deb and I will be there with all the action on the radio with pregame at 7:30. Hope you can join us !

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