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The UConn Fast Break - 2/3/2023
Can you believe it's already February? What comes next...?
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UConn women’s basketball just keeps winning
Geno Auriemma’s squad is going through a brutal stretch right now.
The Huskies have played five games in the 12 days since Jan. 21, doing so with only eight players, including as little as six against No. 21 Villanova on Jan. 29. In that contest, Nika Muhl, Dorka Juhasz, and Aaliyah Edwards played all 40 minutes, with Ayanna Patterson coming off the bench for just 5:36.
The five starters are averaging well over 30 minutes per night and it’s more often someone will play the whole game than a starter will have their minutes dip into the 20s. The bench is ultra-thin, particularly among scorers. Azzi Fudd is out indefinitely (knee) and Caroline Ducharme (concussion) should be back soon but has missed significant time.
This exhaustion has shown itself at the end of this stretch, as Wednesday’s road battle with Providence and Sunday’s date with Villanova were defensive slugfests in which the loser didn’t break 60. Between the two games, the Huskies got a single point from their bench players and even the starters struggled to score and put the game away.
Despite all that, UConn is 5-0 in that stretch and has won 14 straight since a road loss to Maryland in December. However, a familiar foe looms, as No. 1 South Carolina will come into a sold-out XL Center on Sunday. Auriemma’s eight will have three days to rest up, but it will be their toughest test of the season.
Huskies at No. 24 in AP Poll - The slide down the poll in January continues, but Dan Hurley’s team stays in the rankings.
Kelis Fisher commits - The first commitment for the Class of 2025.
Breanna Stweart to join Liberty - A superteam is in the offing in Brooklyn.
UConn WBB Weekly - What was the atmosphere like around Knoxville when UConn visited last week?
Is the rivalry back? ($) - For a few moments on Thursday, it felt like the bad blood between UConn and Tennessee had returned.
Huskies can’t hold off Quinnipiac ($) - It was a battle between two top teams, but the late push from the Bobcats was too much.
Bracketology ($) - The Huskies are the first team out of the tournament after last weekend’s action.
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Jordan Hawkins did it all on Wednesday. He dunked, he hit 3-pointers and he also had a rejection, pinning this shot against the backboard.
Poor Duquesne. Breanna Stewart is coming back east to play for the New York Liberty after spending the first part of her career in Seattle.
Let’s remember one of the most impressive plays from her incredible UConn tenure, in which she swatted three (3) shots away in a single possession during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
UConn, Great Pic
The CT Ice tournament took place at Quinnipiac’s barn in Hamden, CT this past weekend. The Huskies dominated Yale and played a tight game with the hosts in the final in front of a lively crowd at M&T Bank Arena.
The NCAA men’s hockey committee voted this week that it will remove any games played by Division I teams against Stonehill from the PairWise formula, according to the USCHO. This midseason change caused a stir, including from UConn athletic director David Benedict.
However, this is a non-issue. It’s an announcement of something that would have almost definitely happened anyway given the way the PairWise is calculated.
The PairWise compares teams based on three criteria: Adjusted RPI, record against common opponents, and head-to-head record. Each team is compared to every other and the better school in each category is awarded a point. The team with the higher number of points wins the comparison, then teams are ranked by the number of comparisons they win. The top 10 programs in the PairWise that don’t earn an automatic bid then receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Stonehill is playing just five Division I games this year- three against LIU, with two more against Lindenwood. One of these games happened Oct. 8, ending in a 7-1 LIU victory. Stonehill isn’t playing enough Division I games to merit NCAA Tournament consideration and is playing mostly a Division III schedule, which eliminates the head-to-head comparison aspect. Since the Skyhawks are only playing two schools, the common record criterion would only be in play for LIU and Lindenwood, teams that are No. 49 and No. 58 in PairWise, respectively.
Lastly, RPI is heavily adjusted. It removes games a school won that would lower its RPI, for example. LIU already beat Stonehill 7-1 and unless the Skyhawks take a win in one of their four remaining games, it’s likely all five games would be removed from the calculation on this merit.
This is just an announcement of a process that likely would have taken place anyway. It will not impact UConn’s — or anyone’s —NCAA Tournament hopes.
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