#1 South Carolina vs. #2 Connecticut
Watch these two battle on Big Monday (Feb. 9th), at 8pm ET/5pm PT on ESPN2
South Carolina/Connecticut Preview
Big Monday this week features the ladies, #1 South Carolina Gamecocks on the road against the defending National Champs, #2 Connecticut Huskies. The two squads will meet with a combined record of 41-1, and both teams blowing their opponents out by 20+ points per game. South Carolina Hall-of-Fame coach Dawn Staley, is pushing her Gamecocks to be the next “contender” against the always dominate UCONN Huskies. A preseason ESPNw poll showed that 78% of Women Basketball fans thought that UCONN would go undefeated in the 2014-15 season. Many teams have tried and failed to hang with Geno and gang, Texas A&M; Baylor; Notre Dame; Stanford all great teams over the past few years, but only the Texas teams have earned titles during UCONN’s recent historic run. Geno Auriemma also became the fastest coach to 900 victories with the dominant home win earlier in the week against the Cincinnati Bearcats by 60. Auriemma joins the 900 club with Pat Summitt, Vivian Stringer, Tara VadDerveer, and Sylvia Hatchell.
ESPNw Midseason Awards:
Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina)
Breanna Stewart (UCONN)
Freshman of the Year
A’ja Wilson (South Carolina), the freshman sensation shock the recruiting world last season when she stayed in-state and remained in South Carolina. Wilson has not disappointed, only one start this season but she leads the team in scoring and rebounds.
Comeback Player of the Year
Morgan Tuck (UCONN), after missing most of the last two season with knee injuries, Tuck is averaging career high 25 minutes per game. Despite the dominance last season, Tuck’s presence will give UCONN the third scorer they needed in spots during last year’s run.
Many have tried and failed and South Carolina will just be the next head on the wall. The Huskies only slip this season was an early road trip (third game of the season) in Palo Alto against the Stanford Cardinals, a tough place to play for any squad. The Cardinals have a knack for knocking off UCONN and ending streaks. #1 vs. #2 against South Carolina will be played at Gampel Pavilion, UCONN is 2-0 this season at home against Top 25 opponents, both wins by more than 30 points. South Carolina had an early off-the-court victory before the season, landing #1 A’ja Wilson. The two schools battled over the star, but she decided to stay home in South Carolina. On the court will be a different story, the five Husky starters are averaging double-digits in scoring this season. And the #2 Huskies at home will play the underdog card. UCONN will dethrone the latest upstart by 10. Both teams will wrap up the regular season titles and both should win their conference (American; UCONN, SEC; South Carolina) tournament championships before receiving a #1 Seed for the NCAA Tournament. The February 9th matchup will defiantly be a preview for the upcoming National Championship Game in April.
Predictions from Local Hoopers:
Desiree Dedrick, Florin HS- Connecticut
Faith McKinnie, HS Assistant Coach- South Carolina
Ikeysha Smith, Florin HS- Connecticut
Lailani Hanks, Florin HS- Connecticut
Jikara Sellers, Florin HS- Connecticut
Kaliyah Odom, John Reith Elem- South Carolina
Namiko Adams, West Campus HS- Connecticut
Rhianna Jackson, Florin HS- Connecticut
Ry’kyra Gabriel, Brookside Christian HS- South Carolina