The Women’s Beat with Bob Joyce: 20 Games In

Nine Games remain in the regular season for the Top Ranked UConn Women. And to the surprise of no one, they’ve pretty much dominated a good, solid non conference schedule. And dominate doesn’t even describe what the Huskies have done to the conference foes, as they are beating the American by nearly fifty points a game. A big reason why ? Forcing turnovers and scoring a lot of points off them. 20ppg off turnovers is usually been the bench mark… But in 8 of the last 9 games, the Huskies have scored 30pts or more.  The high point came Saturday against Memphis when UConn turned the Tigers over 34 times and scored 45 points, season highs in both.

The big reason is their aggressiveness in the passing lanes. Between the quickness of Moriah Jefferson & Kia Nurse, plus the length of Stewart, Collier, Williams and Samuelson, the Huskies have brought the steals per game number up to help compensate the lower amount of blocks from seasons past. And funny, the Huskies are 4th nationally still in blocks per game… Now 7th in steals per game.  That’s a lot of unproductive possessions for the opposition.

Then there is the Freebies from the foul line… The Best FT% team in the country ? UConn at 79.6%… Mid 80’s in Conference play.  The biggest improvement over last season ? Gabby Williams… 46% last season, now at 76.5 %… Who says hard work and a few changes doesn’t pay off ??

So, with nine games left, what should we expect ? Well, we’ll get a few more answers a week from tonight at #2 South Carolina. I honestly don’t know what to expect from them in Columbia in front of 18,000 fans..They’ve been involved in many close games this season and found ways to win them all. As good as Tiffany Mitchell has been, the game versus UConn likely comes down to how the Coates/Wilson duo play. They’re easily the best post duo the Huskies will face all season. If Morgan Tuck can’t play due to her knee issues, even a bigger factor. Morgan is slated to play Wednesday at Tulane as long as everything goes well in Practice this week. We’ll see what happens..

Conference play shouldn’t be an issue…Tulane could be a bit of a pain Wednesday in NOLA and the two games with East Carolina could be chippy. Especially the February 20th game in Greenville.  That’s who the Pirates were last season…

So now it’s off to the Big Easy where Mardi Gras winds up in the final week leading up to Ash Wednesday..But for the College Basketball World, February means closer to March and the postseason… And for UConn, the continued pursuit of more history…

See you on the radio tonight for the Coach’s Show at 6 from Geno’s Grillein Storrs and Wednesday Night at 7:30 from Tulane…

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