UConn women’s basketball Takeaways: Collier ramps up efficiency

January 20, 2019

PHILADELPHIA — As expected, the UConn women didn’t have any trouble closing out their two-game road trip.

The Huskies made quick work of Temple, beating the Owls 88-67 Saturday afternoon at the Liacouras Center before heading home to beat the impending winter storm.

Napheesa Collier recorded a season-high 30 points and 13 rebounds and Crystal Dangerfield set her career-high with 26 points and nine assists, pacing the second-ranked team in the country to yet another convincing victory in American Athletic Conference play.

UConn (16-1, 5-0) didn’t need much more help. Collier and Dangerfield combined for 15 points in the first quarter, springing the Huskies out to a 22-11 lead. And they stayed comfortably in front the rest of the way.

Here’s five takeaways on UConn’s victory over Temple:

Vintage Pheesa: Collier, revamped shot and all, was efficient. She went 10-of-15 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from 3, to post her first 30-point game since the regular-season finale against USF in 2016-17.

For the season, Collier is now up to 58.3 percent from the floor — matching her rate from a year ago — and just 24.0 percent from beyond the arc.

Geno Auriemma says he never worries about Collier, despite her frustrations with her shot. Saturday, we saw why.

Painting an imperfect picture: There were faults in UConn’s 106th consecutive win in AAC play.

The Huskies were careless with the ball at times, as evidenced by their 17 turnovers (10 in the first half). They also allowed points — 32, to be exact — far too easily in the paint.

Despite their imperfections, the Huskies still led for all but 2 minutes and 50 seconds.

Slow start for Lou: Katie Lou Samuelson had a tough first half (0 points on 0-of-7 shooting) and finished with a season-low 10 points and four turnovers.

Samuelson also had unusually quiet halves against Notre Dame (0-for-7, zero points) and Baylor (3-of-10, nine points) earlier this year, but managed to contribute in other ways.

Saturday, the All-American was able to take a backseat to Collier and Dangerfield.

The more, the better: What UConn’s bench lacks in scoring, it makes up for in energy and intensity.

Against Temple, Olivia Nelson-Ododa chipped in across the board. The 6-foot-5 freshman collected seven points, seven rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes.

At this point, the Huskies will take whatever contributions they can get from their bench.

Dangerous Dangerfield: Slump? What slump?

Dangerfield responded to back-to-back quiet games (3-of-17 shooting, including 1-of-12 from 3) with a career-high 26 points and nine assists.

Even more impressive, though, was this statistic: 0 turnovers.

Dangerfield’s competitiveness and poise stood out, particularly at the end of the first half, when she dribbled the length of the court and beat the buzzer with a layup.

As Auriemma said postgame, “good things are going to happen” when Dangerfield is aggressive.

dbonjour@ctpost.com; @DougBonjour

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