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Dangerfield, Samuelson power UConn to first win of 2018-19

UConn celebrated its 23rd season opener win as they defeated Ohio State, 85-53.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Ohio State at Connecticut
Katie Lou Samuelson scored 19 points and grabbed seven boards in an 85-53 win against Ohio State on Sunday.
Photo by: David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports

For their season opener, the UConn Huskies hosted a fresh Ohio State roster that featured more graduate transfers than any other upperclassmen combined. On the other hand, UConn embraced the return of seniors Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier, while Crystal Dangerfield, Christyn Willams and Megan Walker composed the rest of the starting lineup.

To tip things off, Walker recorded UConn’s first points of the season on a breakaway, while Samuelson wasn’t shy in getting a feel for things behind the arc. The rest of the game, a decisive 85-53 UConn victory, followed the same trend.

Five stats worth a second look

  1. Led by Samuelson’s seven assists, UConn out-assisted the Buckeyes, 19 to 5.
  2. Four UConn players — Walker, Dangerfield, Samuelson and Collier — scored in double figures.
  3. Huskies freshman Williams made her debut, ending with 7 points, 3 steals, 2 rebounds and 2 assists.
  4. The Buckeyes scored more points in the third quarter (22) than in the entire first half (19).
  5. Among her teammates who played over 20 minutes, Ohio State’s Carmen Grande scored the least number of points (2) in 36 minutes.

What did we learn from Ohio State at UConn?

UConn had more defense than offense in the first half

Undoubtedly, Samuelson had the best defensive game for UConn, registering seven defensive rebounds and three steals, despite almost fouling out. UConn’s first-half defense closed the door on Ohio State, allowing just 19 points, including holding them scoreless for eight minutes. Lastly, it was a game of turnovers for Ohio State, who committed 21 — an embarrassing number compared to UConn’s 10.

Crystal Dangerfield may have a better season than Katie Lou Samuelson

It’s not a matter of competition among teammates, but Dangerfield has a very promising season ahead, especially if Samuelson’s health affects her minutes. Against the Buckeyes, Dangerfield mirrored a younger Jason Kidd at Cal with exceptional footwork, ball management and then topping that sundae off with a no-look feed to Kyla Irwin. Dangerfield did, unfortunately, leave the game after two facial hits (but didn’t go to the locker room), which deployed Molly Bent.

A flash in the pan for future UConn starters

Fans of the UConn women’s basketball team got a short glimpse of starting lineups-to-come. Though Molly Bent, Mikayla Coombs, Batouly Camara, Lexi Gordon and Olivia Nelson-Ododa had very little time to work with, they held Ohio State to just three points with under four minutes left in the final quarter. If UConn continues to dominate its opponents through three quarters, then expect to see a lot more of the experience-deprived, younger Huskies.

Previewing the Hall of Fame Showcase vs. Vanderbilt

A contest that started with a bang by Vanderbilt in 1992 (UConn lost by 28) has turned its ugly head on the Commodores in favor of the Huskies over the last four meetings. Of the last three neutral site games, however, UConn owns a 2-1 record, looking for its third win at Mohegan Sun Arena next weekend.

These two teams haven’t met since 2014 when UConn detonated an offensive bomb, as five players combined for 80 points. With that variety in ball distribution, UConn dismantled head coach Melanie Balcomb’s Commordores, 91-52. These days, Stephanie White, in her third season at the helm in Nashville, would like nothing more than to change that tune, so to speak, of recent Vanderbilt misfortune against UConn.

UConn Huskies vs. Vanderbilt Commodores

When: Saturday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. ET

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT

How to tune in: SNY, ESPN3, The River 105.9

The UConn Huskies will play an exhibition game against Southern Connecticut on Thursday, Nov. 15, before the Vanderbilt contest. Tickets may be purchased here.