Women’s basketball game day

December 21, 2018

No. 1 UCONN at No. 14 CALIFORNIAWhen: Saturday, 3 p.m.Where: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, Calif.Records: UConn (10-0); California (9-0)TV: Pac-12 NetworkRadio: 97-9 ESPNKEEP AN EYE ONGolden girl: Katie Lou Samuelson grew up more than 400 miles from Berkeley, Calif., so Saturday’s visit to Haas Pavilion is by no means a homecoming. Nevertheless, Samuelson is excited about returning to the Golden State.“I’m mostly excited because I’m closest to home, so I get to fly home with my family,” Samuelson said with a laugh following a 72-63 win over Oklahoma Wednesday. “I’ll be super excited.”An ankle injury kept the Huntington Beach, Calif., native from playing in her homecoming game against UCLA last season. She expects her parents and older sister, Bonnie, to be on hand for the Huskies’ date with the Golden Bears.After Saturday, the Huskies will go 12 days until their next game — Jan. 3 at Baylor — meaning players will get to go home for the holidays.“We pretty much all go our separate ways (Saturday night). I’m leaving to fly to Dallas and then go home,” said junior Crystal Dangerfield, a Murfreesboro, Tenn., native. “On the way back, I think we all have early morning flights. … We’ll get back on the 28th, I believe.”Staying power: Lindsay Gottlieb has guided California to the NCAA Tournament six times, including the program’s first Final Four appearance in 2012-13.“They’ve got everything you need to be good,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said Monday. “Lindsay’s got a really good staff, and she’s got a system and she’s got a style of play that she knows what she’s looking for in players. Every year they’re good, some years they’re great.”In other words, Gottlieb, now in her eighth season with the Golden Bears, has managed to not only achieve success but sustain it. This year, the Golden Bears are off to a 9-0 start that has them ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press poll.In a roundabout way, Auriemma explained that rival Stanford has helped fuel the Golden Bears’ rise.“You have a fierce rivalry with Stanford that is constant in every sport,” he noted. “I’m sure it’s in the psychology department, in the business school, and everything else. You’ve got this incredible rivalry right across the street. With Stanford being so good in women’s basketball, I think it was obviously ripe. You needed the right person in there and they’ve been able to carve out a place for themselves.“That Final Four was really something. It was a heck of a run. That kind of puts you in position to get to the next Final Four.”Finding their stroke: The Huskies had an uncharacteristically poor shooting night against Oklahoma, going 28-of-70 (40 percent), including 2-of-17 from 3. They entered the game shooting 51.9 percent on average.“We’ll play better,” Auriemma said. “I’m sure we’ll shoot the ball a little bit better.”Top challengers: UConn is 2-0 this season against ranked opponents (DePaul and Notre Dame) and 56-3 since the start of the 2013-14 campaign. The Huskies’ last regular-season loss to a ranked team came to Stanford, 88-86 in overtime on Nov. 17, 2014.PROBABLE STARTERSUConnPlayerPos.PPGCrystal DangerfieldG13.7Christyn WilliamsG13.9Katie Lou SamuelsonG20.1Megan WalkerF10.6Napheesa CollierF18.9CaliforniaPlayerPos.PPGAsha ThomasG10.0Kianna SmithG10.7Recee CaldwellG7.0Jaelyn BrownF6.3Kristine AnigweF23.6— Doug Bonjour

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