Print this story

# 1 UConn takes on # 2 Duke on Tuesday night in NC.

POSTED December 16, 2013
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney


STORRS: Yes, there is still a basketball season going on at UConn and yes, there is a big game on tap for the women in less than 24 hours when they take on # 2 Duke in that sea of blue known as the Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.

It’s been a dozen days since the Huskies dispensed of UC Davis by 60 at the XL Center and each team enters with perfect 10-0 marks so far this season.

The Blue Devils are hungry to get over the proverbial hump that would be accomplished with a win over a top ranked UConn team that may have been a little more vulnerable a week ago when they were down to just six scholarship players but on Tuesday, the Huskies are back at full strength.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who injured a nerve in her elbow in a hard fall against Stanford on November 11, will be back, maybe not at full strength but back none-the-less.

Back too will be Morgan Tuck, who had knee surgery after that same game and Kiah Stokes, who tweaked an ankle just before the UC Davis game.

Duke has been idle as well since December 8 with student exams taking over for both teams.

How much rust will both bring?

How much rust will Mosquada-Lewis and Tuck have bring to the floor as well?

Since those two players went out, one might think the defending champions may have been beatable but great play from sophomore Breanna Stewart (17.8) and Bria Hartley (15.4) have made up for the two stars absent.

Truth be told, with the Huskies running over teams at times this and past years, players don’t always get as much playing time as they may like in an effort to keep the scores reasonable.

Not so this year as Stefanie Dolson (32 mpg), Hartlery (31 mpg), Stewart (27 mpg) and Mariah Jefferson (27 mpg) have been on the court much later in most games, never a problem for players who love time on the floor.

“It’s usually tough to get these guys the minutes they want when you’re up as much as we at times,” head coach Geno Auriemma said earlier in the season. “They love this. They want to be out there.”

Playing their fourth game of the year against a ranked team may be just what the doctor ordered for the Huskies.

In their previous three, they beat Stanford, Maryland and Penn State by an average of 18 points and against Stanford, had to right themselves after the tough Mosqueda-Lewis injury that stunned Gampel Pavilion.

Being from UConn means you are used to having a target on your back and this team is no different.

The time since November 11 has be invaluable for players such as Saniya Chong, who has come off the bench with consistent offense, especially from three-point land where she is second on the team with 14 three ball (Hartley leads with 16).

Bianna Banks has also pitched in with an average of 21 mpg and has started six of those games.

It’s still pick your poison with this team.

Would it have been better for the Blue Devils to catch the Huskies short two weeks ago?

Time will tell but it’s sure to be a great test for the top two teams in the country come Tuesday night.       

For more from Timothy W. Gaffney click here