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Expect paradise for UConn in 2018 Paradise Jam Tournament

UConn will play in the U.S. Virgin Islands-based tourney against Ole Miss, St. John’s and Purdue.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Ohio State at Connecticut
UConn is heading back to the Paradise Jam after a six-year absence, where they will once again face Purdue in their final game.
Photo by: David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports

Spring Break is arriving a little early for the UConn Huskies as they travel to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where they will play Ole Miss, St. John’s and Purdue in the 2018 Paradise Jam Tournament.

The tournament was relocated to the U.S. in 2017 after hurricanes Irma and Maria paralyzed the Caribbean Sea in 2017. Meanwhile, UConn has been absent from the Jam since 2012, when Breanna Stewart captured the tournament’s MVP honors as a freshman.

In this round robin-style schedule, Purdue and UConn will meet again as they did in 2012. One step at a time, however, is the modus operandi, as the Huskies face Ole Miss, who already have a loss to IUPUI on their record. Opposing offenses get only more questionable with UConn’s next opponent in the Paradise Jam, St. John’s, who scored only 61 and 60 points in wins against Iona and West Point, respectively. Then there’s Purdue, who’s shown a heartbeat this season with help from Karissa McLaughlin’s and Dominique Oden’s combined 100 points after four games.

UConn’s Paradise Jam Tournament résumé

2007 - Game-by-game results

Game 1: UConn 66, Stanford 54

Game 2: UConn 86, Old Dominion 43

Game 3: UConn 74, Duke 48

After completing its 2007 Paradise Jam Tournament run, UConn remained untouched for the rest of their 2007-08 season with the exception of two losses to Rutgers and Stanford.

2012 - Game-by-game results

Game 1: UConn 95, Wake Forest 34

Game 2: UConn 81, Marist 39

Game 3: UConn 91, Purdue 57

Just over a month after the 2012 Paradise Jam, UConn would begin a four-game season series with Notre Dame that the Huskies finished 1-3, including a triple-overtime loss where UConn committed 35 turnovers.

What’s UConn’s schedule like while in St. Thomas?

Game 1 vs. Ole Miss Lady Rebels

When: Thursday, Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET

How to tune in: FloHoops (paid subscription), 97.9 ESPN Radio

What to watch for: In terms of statistical leaders for Ole Miss, Crystal Allen leads in points (53), La’Karis Salter in rebounds (18) and Mimi Reid in assists (15). It’s also worth noting that it’s Yolett McPhee-McCuin’s first year as head coach. She replaces Matt Insell, whose 19-loss 2017-18 season featured a 13-game losing streak.

UConn should see explosive defense from Napheesa Collier, who recorded 16 rebounds against Vanderbilt on Nov. 17. Offensively speaking, a wild Molly Bent and Olivia Nelson-Ododa may appear in the second-half of the game, dependent upon UConn’s lead after halftime.

Game 2 vs. St. John’s Red Storm

When: Friday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET

How to tune in: FloHoops (paid subscription), 97.9 ESPN Radio

What to watch for: St. John’s guard Tiana England is a player worth keeping an eye on, especially because of her 16 assists through two games, though UConn’s Crystal Dangerfield is equally impressive in spreading the ball around. Another player matchup that screams excitement involves Megan Walker and Alisha Kebbe, who each know what it’s like to contribute on both offense and defense.

Game 3 vs. Purdue Boilermakers

When: Saturday, Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET

How to tune in: FloHoops (paid subscription), 97.9 ESPN Radio

What to watch for: Sharon Versyp’s Boilermakers have the highest chance of upsetting UConn during the tournament. The reason? There’s flexibility among the starters; in its first four games, Purdue has averaged 18.5 assists per game, while three to four players reach double digits in points per game.

Unlike their first two contests in the 2018 Paradise Jam Tournament, the UConn Huskies will have to be more aggressive to contain Purdue’s McLaughlin, Cassidy Hardin and Tamara Farquhar, who are responsible for 87 points, 30 assists and 46 rebounds.

If you’re in the Virgin Islands and want to attend the event, then you may purchase tickets in-person for $100 (women’s) and $150 (men’s). One ticket is valid for the entire tournament.