Takeaways: UConn Beats UCLA 78-60
Powered by a swarming defense, UConn handily beat UCLA 78-60 at historic Pauley Pavilion Tuesday night. Both teams started out tentative, but it was the Huskies that got comfortable while the Bruins seemed to be under duress most of the game. The pressure contributed to UCLA shooting under 35% for the game. At halftime, UConn led by 11 points then went on one of the team’s patented runs. The lead was 24 by the end of the third quarter and the game was virtually over. Napheesa Collier had her best offensive game of the season with 23 points. Freshman Megan Walker was a pleasant surprise off the bench with 13 points including three consecutive 3-pt shots.
Takeaway 1: Foul trouble could be one way to derail the Husky freight train
Gabby Williams picked up her 2nd foul one minute into the second quarter and then headed to the bench. Azurá Stevens also picked up her second foul in the first half. With All-American Katie Lou Samuelson sidelined with an injury, Head Coach Geno Auriemma does not have a deep bench he trusts. After the Maryland game last Sunday, Auriemma said his reserves played some of the worst basketball he has ever seen. Walker was the only sub that played against UCLA even in garbage time. The bench could get a boost when transfer Batouly Camara returns from injury, possibly in a few weeks.
Takeaway 2: Well hello, Megan Walker
While it is only one game, Walker’s performance could give her confidence that could extend to upcoming big games against Michigan State, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. If Geno keeps a six-player rotation, she is going to have a big role on the team.
Takeaway 3: UCLA will benefit if they see UConn again in the NCAA Tournament
Good teams typically play much better against UConn the second time around. UCLA is really good having recently beaten Baylor. Perhaps too they were a little shell shocked at the beginning of the game. They can draw from this game to help them compete against tough in-conference foes including Oregon and Oregon State.
Postgame press conference with Megan Walker, Napheesa Collier and Gabby Williams. pic.twitter.com/r35NDMUNMX
— UConn Women’s Hoops (@UConnWBB) November 22, 2017