UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Geno Auriemma knows his UConn Huskies are a work in progress.
The Hall of Fame coach just wants them to keep getting better every game.
“This was the second game we played, and we were better than we were last Sunday,” he said after an 80-42 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday in the Hall of Fame Showcase. “We got three players that we know are really, really good. When those guys are good, we’re really good.”
Auriemma was referring to Crystal Dangerfield, Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, the “Big Three” who played well this time for No. 2 UConn (2-0). Dangerfield scored 19 points, Collier had 15 points and 16 rebounds and Samuelston added 15 points.
“I don’t know that you could play better than ‘Pheesa and Crystal did today,” Auriemma said. “Lou’s going to do her part.”
UConn jumped out to a 20-7 lead in the first quarter. Vanderbilt (1-4) cut its deficit to 25-15 midway through the second quarter before the Huskies put the game away with a 13-0 burst. Collier scored seven points during the run.
The Huskies led 44-21 at the half as Collier finished the opening 20 minutes with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Vanderbilt could get no closer in the second half.
“I’m proud of our kids. This was an opportunity for us to bring in a young team in the midst of a building process and experience what it takes to achieve and sustain excellence,” Vanderbilt coach Stephanie White said. “I’m proud of the way our team battled. They were exposed in areas that we will work on.”
Chelsie Hall scored 12 points to lead the Commodores.
The Huskies are 20-0 all-time at Mohegan Sun and have played a nonconference game there for the past five seasons. … The Huskies have won 49 straight nonconference games, dating back to Nov. 17, 2014. … Mariella Fasoula played for Greece in the FIBA World Cup this past fall and averaged 9.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. … UConn improved to 60-1 in the month of November over the past 10 years. The lone loss came to Stanford in 2014.
HALL OF FAME REUNION
UConn’s Chris Dailey and Vanderbilt’s Mickie DeMoss were both inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame this past summer. They were the first assistant coaches to be enshrined in the Hall. Dailey has been at UConn for its entire run over the past three decades while DeMoss was huge in the success at Tennessee. DeMoss just joined Vanderbilt’s staff this year.
Vanderbilt: Hosts Tennessee State on Wednesday.
UConn: Plays Mississippi on Thursday in the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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