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UConn Women’s Basketball 5 Takeways from Saturday’s win over Vanderbilt

November 19, 2018

Mark down another ‘W’ for UConn.

The Huskies routed Vanderbilt 80-42 on Saturday in the Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Here are five takeaways on the Huskies’ second straight win in 2018-19.

One step forward: Olivia Nelson-Ododa was the first Husky to come off the bench, doing so with 1:15 left in the first quarter. It was a sign that maybe, just maybe, Geno Auriemma had gained more confidence in the forward following her inspired effort against Southern Connecticut State (16 points and 11 rebounds in 24 minutes).

And then, over the course of just 48 seconds, she picked up two fouls and found herself seated back alongside Chris Dailey.

There are perils to playing freshmen. For now, though, the Huskies can afford to live with these mistakes because Nelson-Ododa — who had a modest five points and two rebounds in 16 minutes — possesses the highest upside of anyone on the Huskies’ bench. And it’s not even close.

Defense does its job: Mariella Fasoula, a 6-5 transfer from Boston College, began the day averaging close to a double-double. And, thanks in large part to Napheesa Collier, she was barely recognizable.

Despite a slight disadvantage in height, Collier (6-1) controlled the paint. Fasoula was a non-factor, committing as many turnovers (six) as points over 21 minutes.

Auriemma has questioned his team’s defense, and while there may be legitimate concerns, Collier (15 points and 16 rebounds) isn’t one of them.

Overall, the Huskies outscored Vanderbilt 44-20 in the paint.

Katie Lou shut out: Katie Lou Samuelson scored 15 points, though none came from beyond the arc. It was her first game without a 3-pointer since Jan. 18, when she played only 15 minutes and injured her ankle in a victory over Tulsa.

What’s to make of it? Well, not much. Samuelson still had a relatively productive day despite going 0-for-5 from 3-point range, picking up six rebounds in addition to finishing tied for second on the team in points.

This, however, is worth noting: Samuelson said she’s been playing with soreness in her right shoulder. It’s why she’s had the area taped in games.

Dangerfield takes charge: Auriemma sees the difference. We’re guessing opponents see it, too.

Crystal Dangerfield is no longer just a point guard. She’s now a quarterback — smart, confident and experienced enough to call her own plays.

It’s another sign of maturity from the junior, who is being asked to shoulder more responsibility this season following the departure of Kia Nurse.

The play she dialed up at the end of the first half was a thing of beauty. Dangerfield drove left in the lane then pivoted to her right, shaking her defender to allow enough room for a nifty fadeaway. Oh, and she made the shot, too.

Extended success: It’s commonly said that one of the best ways to spring an upset is to keep the opponent from going on an extended run. Well, Vanderbilt struggled mightily in that department.

In the first half alone, UConn had scoring runs of 7-0, 11-0 and 13-0.

dbonjour

@ctpost.com;

@DougBonjour

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