BYU women's basketball: Cougars face a daunting task against UConn
Jessica Hill, AP
After knocking off No. 5 seed North Carolina State and No. 4 seed Nebraska to earn a trip to the sweet 16, the BYU Cougars travel to Lincoln, Neb., to take on the dominant team in women's college basketball today in the defending national champion and No. 1 seed Connecticut Huskies.
The Cougars will try to do something no other team has been able to do this season — beat the Huskies. UConn enters the game with a 36-0 record. No team has even been able to keep a game within double digits against the Huskies.
UConn's 36 wins have come by an average score of 83-47 which is more than a little remarkable considering hey faced seven teams ranked in the top 10 at the time of the matchup. The Huskies have been successful this season because they get it done on both ends of the floor.
On offense, they shoot 50.8 percent from the floor, 37.7 percent from behind the arc and 76.1 percent from the free-throw line. They also hand out 21.6 assists per game while only turning the ball over 11.9 times a night.
On defense, UConn holds its opponents to 30.4 percent shooting and 26.2 percent from behind the 3-point line. Add in 9.6 steals and 8.1 blocks per game and you can see why the Huskies are very difficult to score against.
The first two tournament games were blowouts for UConn as it pounded Prairie View A&M and Saint Joseph's by a combined 82 points.
It has made the Final Four in the past six seasons and hasn't been eliminated in the Sweet 16 since 2005. That season, UConn was a No. 3 seed and fell 76-59 to No. 2 seed Stanford. Only one time since Geno Auriemma has been the head coach has Connecticut lost to a double-digit seed. That came in 1993 when it lost to No. 11 seed Louisville 74-71 as a No. 6 seed in the first round. Since then, the Huskies haven't lost a tournament game to a team ranked lower than a No. 4 seed.
The Huskies roster is filled with high school All-Americans. Eight current players were McDonald's All-Americans with a ninth receiving All-American honors from Parade Magazine. Its clear these women have also found plenty of success in the college ranks. This season, three starters were named ESPN All-Americans led by sophomore forward Breanna Stewart, who made the first-team, while seniors Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley received second-team honors.
Jay Yeomans is a courier by day and a freelance writer by night. He is the creator and lead writer of the website jmoneysports.com
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