The newly No. 1 ranked UConn Huskies came to town and for 40 minuets they made it their own. In a season record crowd of 4052 the Huskies dominated both ends of the floor and showed no signs of allowing the Ducks to make it a game. But the Ducks managed to find positives and improved in a game that was simply not in reach.
In the first half, the Huskies came out firing on all cylinders and it seemed like the game was already over at that point. They opened with a 12-0 run that had no intention of slowing down and the Ducks were turning the ball over left and right. The Ducks managed to gather themselves as they made a run of their own and they found themselves in a manageable deficit at 19-13. But this was the last time the Ducks would see any daylight as the Huskies took full control of the game moving forward.
As the half went along, the Huskies lead continued to grow as they never let their foot off the gas. Racking up basket after basket, the Huskies went on an unstoppable 34-11 run to finish the half. Within that run were 5 three point field goals that were cherries on top of an otherwise dominating performance.
What separated the Huskies from the Ducks were rebounding and passing. As expected, the Huskies were very well coached and with every seamless pass and offensive rebound their reputation was solidified. Everything that has been discussed about UConn basketball up until this point had become reality and there was no kidding as to why they are the No. 1 ranked team in the nation.
Heading into the second half the Ducks were looking to do one thing and one thing only: keep the game within reach. But what came in as a game plan soon became reactions to the Huskies’ play. To open the half the Huskies went on an 18-9 run and with just under 12 minuets to go the score was 77-40. In a blink of an eye the game was out of reach and now it was simply time for Coach Westhead to create a learning environment as takeaways from the game were now the most important aspect of the matchup. UConn continued to extend their lead until the conclusion of the game and when the buzzer rung the score read 95-51 as the Huskies went on to keep their perfect record in tact.
The Ducks have now concluded non-conference play and will look forward to improving on their 2-10 record. Despite their disappointing record Coach Westhead and his players remain positive and as they begin conference play against UCLA this Friday, they will have an attitude centered around a fresh start — a clean slate if you will.
“I was very proud of their performance,” said Coach Westhead after the game. “I thought my team engaged in a very competitive fashion and I think it will serve them well moving into the start of the real season,” said Westhead. “This is a warm-up, the real season starts against UCLA,” said Coach Westhead.
Even in a blowout win Coach Auriemma was also impressed with the Duck’s effort.
“They’re committed to a certain style of play, it’s how they practice and it’s how Coach Westhead coaches,” said Coach Auriemma after the game. “They push the ball up the court well and they’re very aggressive,” he said. “They’re competitiveness is impressive and I thought they were much more competitive than a lot of the teams we’ve already played this year,” said Coach Auriemma.
Takeaways: Freshman Devyn Galland and Jillian Alleyne led the way for the Ducks today. Finishing with a season high 13 points Galland had her best game of the season and her teammate and roommate Alleyne also contributed 18 points and 6 rebounds as both freshman fearlessly had games of their own.
“Two freshman are our leading scorers,” said Coach Westhead. “Devyn Galland wouldn’t be afraid of a live husky growling,” Westhead said. “She wouldn’t know what to do with it; she would say ‘sit down dog here I come,’ joked Coach Westhead. “She’s a tough kid and I’m proud of her too,” Westhead said.
“She’s interesting and I’m learning about her and I hope this is a pattern,” said Coach Westhead in reference to Alleyne’s play today. “She seems to want to play when the competition rises,” said Coach Westhead. “She played like she belonged out there,” Westhead said.
On the horizon: The Ducks now begin conference play against UCLA this Friday at home and will look to shake off a rocky start to their season. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.