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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Jim Clark’s Husky Report: UConn 88 - North Carolina 47

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By Jim Clark

Another chance at a good game. Gampel Pavilion is sold out, and the weather is very cold. Single digits expected tonight.

Looking backwards, just two days ago, the Huskies trounced Cincinnati, 83-51. They welcomed home first-year Bearcat Coach Jamelle Elliot by pulling off the press, but played an outstanding first half of basketball, to lead 52-26 at the break. The starters came out flat and listless in the second half, and all of them were benched after just four-and-a-half minutes. Kalana Greene never returned, while first Moore, then the others reentered with just 7½ minutes remaining in the game. Moore finished with 25 points.

The big news of that game was obviously not the win, which was preordained, but a seriously turned ankle suffered by Tiffany Hayes just 2½ minutes into the game. She lay on the court for an extended period, and did not return. But at least it was an ankle, not a knee. And she participated in warm-ups for North Carolina with good movement, though perhaps favoring the wrapped right ankle a bit.

The Tar Heels are much less a team without the injured Jessica Breland, and their guards are the strength of the team now. Italee Lucas is the outside threat and leading scorer at 17.4 points per game. Cetera DeGraffenreid is one of the nation’s best point guards, averaging 15.3 points, 6.1 assists, and 3.4 rebounds, with a creditable 1.72:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

To benchmark that, UConn’s double-headed system at the point (Tiffany Hayes and Caroline Doty) cumulatively averages 7.5 assists per game with a 1.75 assist-to-turnover ratio.

But North Carolina has not played anybody until now, with the possible exception of Michigan State (now ranked 19/21) to whom they lost 72-66 in early December.

So please tell me that this is not the No. 10 team in the nation! Score at halftime, Tina Charles 25, North Carolina 24.

Oh! The actual score is 56-24 Connecticut. The Tar Heels went scoreless for a full five minutes in the first half.

Sylvia Hatchell is still at North Carolina after 23 seasons, despite not having a team that plays any recognizable defense for at least the last 13 years. No difference here.

North Carolina counts on being quicker than the opponent. They are not quicker than UConn. They count on lots of steals and layups. They had two of each in the half. They shoot poorly, 24 percentin the half.

So Sylvia, when She’la White scored nine of your first-half points, all on threes, why does she play only 10 minutes? She’s three-for-six, and the rest of the team is 7-35, but she sits on the bench for half of the playing time in the period? Brilliant! It wasn’t for defense: UConn’s guards shot 11-22 in the half. Charles was 11-14.

The second half was the half of missed layups. Both sides looked like there was a cover on the hoop. But it hardly mattered. UConn shot 3-18 from three, only 12-21 on free throws (62 percent, versus their season average of 76 percent from the stripe), and beat the No. 10 team in the nation (that’s Full Court’s more conservative ranking—AP and the coaches’ polls both have the Tar Heels at No. 7!) by 41 points.

UConn looks like they figured out how to defend White over the break. She’s held scoreless in the second stanza.

The Huskies had just 18 assists and 18 turnovers, an unusually poor ratio for this team. But there were 189 possessions in the game.

Three Huskies had double-doubles: Charles led all players in both categories with 25 points and 13 rebounds; Greene added 11 points and 10 rebounds; and Moore posted 12 points and 10 boards. As a team, UConn shot 50 percent to North Carolina’s 22.4 percent.

Remember how the NC starting guards have averaged 32.7 points a game? They collectively scored six points on two-of-14 shooting against the Husky defense. None of the Tar Heels managed double figures; White came closest with her nine (first-half) points. Laura Broomfield hauled down 10 boards for the visitors.

Hatchell conceded that UConn’s run to begin the game surprised her. “Even when we were driving to the hoop we were not getting to the free throw line,” she said afterward. “They were getting on the foul line and we were not during that period. They exposed my young team. [North Carolina has no seniors.] UConn plays at a level that my team has not yet reached. This could be the best team that UConn has ever had. Tina Charles put on a show tonight. She was like a well oiled machine out there. . . . They are so physical, big and just dominating out on the court at times.”

UConn has beaten four ranked opponents this season by an average of 24.25 points. The Huskies have won 54 consecutive games by double digits, and hold the current longest active home winning streak, at 50 games. UConn is 294-11 on its home courts since the 1993-94 season.

Do you think UConn fans might be spoiled?

Maya Moore: “As a natural competitor, the bigger the hype and reputation of the program [of the opponent], the more excited you are going to get. . . . We know that we have to be focused and usually when we can put that pressure on ourselves and face good competition, it brings out the best in us. That’s why we come to Connecticut.


Originally published Sat, January 09, 2010

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Week: February 7, 2012
1 Baylor (31) 24-0 1 1 1 775
2 Notre Dame 23-1 2 2 2 743
3 Connecticut 21-2 3 4 3 710
4 Stanford 20-1 4 5 4 685
5 Duke 19-3 6 8 5 650
6 Miami (FL) 20-3 7 7 6 604
7 Kentucky 21-3 5 15 7 584
8 Maryland 20-3 10 10 8 534
9 Wisconsin-Green Bay 20-0 9 24 9 530
10 Ohio State 21-2 11 NR-RV
10 483
11 Tennessee 17-6 8 3 11 476
12 Delaware 20-1 13 NR 12 434
13 Georgetown 18-5 15 11 14 379
14 Texas A&M 16-5 16 6 15 378
15 Nebraska 19-3 18 NR 13 309
16 Rutgers 17-4 14 12 17 372
17 Louisville 17-6 12 9 20 276
18 Gonzaga 21-3 19 NR-RV
19 234
19 Purdue 19-5 17 21 16 222
20 Georgia 18-6 20 12 21 202
21 Penn State 18-5 21 14 18 176
22 DePaul 17-7 23 18 NR-RV
23 Georgia Tech 16-6 22 NR-RV
22 104
24 South Carolina 18-5 NR-RV
NR 24 46
25 Vanderbilt 18-5 NR-RV
NR 45
Dropped Out: No. 24 North Carolina, No. 25 Kansas.
First-place votes: Total first-place votes received (if any) are indicated in parentheses following school name.
Others receiving votes: St. Bonaventure (22-2) 34; North Carolina (17-6) 19; California (17-6) 18; Florida Gulf Coast (21-2) 16; Middle Tennessee (19-5) 15; Texas-El Paso (20-2) 8; Texas Tech (16-6) 5; Brigham Young (21-4) 4; Fresno State (19-4) 4; St. John's (15-8) 4; Princeton (15-4) 3; Oklahoma (15-7) 2; West Virginia (17-6) 2; Kansas State (15-7) 1.
Rank remains unchanged since last week
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Credit: Courtesy Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The weekly Division I Top 25 Coaches' Poll, sponsored by USA Today and ESPN, is based on voting by a Board of Coaches made up of 31 head coaches at Division I institutions all of whom are WBCA members.