It's Time. UConn versus South Carolina. Tim Gaffney takes a look.
TORRINGTON: It’s about time.
Can we finally see who the number one women’s basketball team in the land is?
On Monday night (even Mother Nature can’t stop this one) the University of Connecticut Huskies (ranked # 2) take on the South Carolina Gamecocks (number one) in a snow covered Gampel Pavilion at 8 p.m. with stories galore flowing from the place they call ‘The Basketball Capitol of the World’.
So much build up. Hope it’s a good game and on paper, the undefeated Gamecocks (22-0, 10-0 in the SEC) present challenges for certain with a very big front court and having the advantage of playing in close games so far this year.
South Carolina Got by Duke, 51-50 while the Huskies destroyed the Blue Devils by an 83-52 score.
The Gamecocks played close games against Syracuse (67-63), Kentucky (68-60) and Missouri (60-49) along with the tight match with Duke.
UConn lost to Stanford in their second game of the year by an 88-86 score in overtime and played in competitive contests against Notre Dame (76-58) and St John’s (70-54) but that’s about it.
Since starting American Athletic Conference play, their average margin of victory had been nearly 50.
Much was made of Aja Wilson choosing to stay home and play in South Carolina instead of coming to play for Geno Auriemma and the Huskies.
Wilson has had a tremendous freshman campaign, averaging 13.2 points per game which is second on the team, as is her seven rebounds per game.
Auriemma, ever the master motivator, benched three of his biggest stars on Saturday in an 80-34 win over Memphis when he wasn’t happy with the energy and effort of Breanna Stewart, Kiah Stokes and Morgan Tuck.
And they still won by nearly 50.
It’s about having your best players playing at their best at just the right time.
We have often asked how hard it is to get motivated to play team that they are so clearly better than in every way.
Sloppy, uninspired play can sometimes result from that mindset.
The Huskies have had this date circled for a good long while, certainly since the Stanford loss and in front of a packed (we’ll see how the fans turn out in bad weather) Gampel, this should at least be a game with potential drama and intrigue.
Let’s hope so anyway.
Either Rick Wilson or I will be on hand if we can navigate our way up to Storrs and will bring you back the story.
Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. and is the national game of the week.
Until sometime in the NCAA’s, this marks the last time UConn will play a true quality opponent, let’s see if they can make the most of it.