UConn’s Aggressiveness, Defensive Prowess Overwhelms Youthful Maryland


You can miss a lot by watching the scoreboard during a UConn Women’s basketball game.  Within the first 60 seconds, Gabby Williams had two steals.  The Huskies team speed and aggressiveness on both ends of the floor didn’t let up until the end of the third quarter when Coach Auriemma emptied the bench.  The result was a fast-paced game that was a joy for those who love defense. The large number of turnovers (Huskies had 25, Terrapins had 20) mostly seemed like reactions to moving hands and feet not the silly pass variety.

For Maryland, a young team that lost of lot of experience from last season, it was an opportunity to test their mettle especially following a strong second-half showing against reigning national champion South Carolina.  Coach Frese said following the game she was especially proud of the fight in her team.  It will help them get better.  

Takeaway 1: You can tired watching Gabby Williams on the floor
Gabby Williams does not stop moving.  She played like a NFL cornerback jumping routes and getting around receivers to deflect or intercept passes.  On several occasions, she crossed the lane to grab a rebound over a player who was right underneath the ball.  However, all that energy was not all positive.  She had 10 turnovers so that gives her an area where she can work to improve.  Her next big test will be on Tuesday where the Huskies will play UCLA in Los Angeles.

Takeaway 2: Crystal Dangerfield’s development
Has anyone ever made a freshman-to-sophomore jump more impressively than Crystal Dangerfield?  She didn’t have the shooting display that she has had against Stanford or California, but she showed her command of the offense and made several plays into the lane.  One great example was near the end of the first quarter.  She motioned senior Kia Nurse to move, then Kia did it.  Next thing you know Kia gets the ball in the perfect position and she nails a 3pt-play at the buzzer.

Takeaway 3: Azurá Stevens has an incredible opportunity while Katie Lou Samuelson is injured

Postgame, Auriemma said Stevens is the best 6th-man in the country.  She has the physical skills to be a great player but needs to get the right “mindset” of what it takes to be great.  On the court today, showed he can be a powerful rebounder.  She also hit shots from several spots on the floor including a 3pt-play. If Stevens can continue to get better especially with tough opponents coming up including UCLA and Notre Dame, the Huskies will be even more formidable in the coming season.

Takeaway 4: Maryland’s Kaila Charles is going to be a star
Charles, whose 31 points nearly willed the Terrapins over South Carolina, had 29 points tonight. The super sophomore played poised and hit shot after shot in the Huskies otherwise stifling defense.  If she can play this well against the two top teams in the country, she should be able to excel in conference play.