Recently, the Connecticut Huskies’ women’s basketball team has become synonymous with winning. They don’t back down from challenges, facing the best competitors and regularly brushing them aside. They should be careful, however, that they don’t overlook what Asia Durr and the Louisville Cardinals are capable of.
Durr and the Lady Cards will head up to Storrs, CT this Monday night for a battle that will see two of the NCAA’s top four ranked women’s programs squaring off. Sure, UConn has earned its reputation of excellence, with an enviable resume that includes 11 National Championships, 22 conference titles, and 10 winners of various Player of the Year awards. Sure, head coach Geno Auriemma is basically the John Wooden of women’s ball. And yeah, it’s not likely that Huskies guard Katie Lou Samuelson is going to come up short in clutch situations. Still, Cards coach Jeff Walz is in an enviable position for this one.
Looking around the national landscape, it’s pretty clear that this will be the best opponent that the Huskies have faced all season. Durr, a junior guard, is the only player on either squad currently averaging at least 20 points per game, and her smooth left-handed shot is something no defender–male or female–ever gets fully used to seeing. Meanwhile, Louisville senior forward Myisha Hines-Allen is the only player on either team putting up double-digit rebounds per game, giving Louisville a prime opportunity to create more possessions for Durr to take advantage of, while simultaneously creating fewer opportunities for Samuelson. On top of all that, both players are midseason finalists for this year’s Wade and Wooden Trophies, and the list of true finalists will be announced during the game; what better way to prove themselves worth of inclusion than a prime performance on the highest stage?
If either player has a case to collect a bunch of trophies this season, it’s Durr by a wide margin. She’s a truly elite scorer who has drawn comparisons to legends like Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore–both Huskies alums–and has already bagged upset victories against elite squads like Notre Dame and Ohio State this season, dropping 35+ points in both games. This season is the best opportunity that Walz and Co. have had at a National Championship in a long time, thanks largely to her efforts. While most Cardinal fans are loving the fact that former men’s team star Donovan Mitchell is stealing the national spotlight as a rookie for the NBA’s Utah Jazz, real fans of the game are going to want to pay close attention to Durr, who could very well wind up as the #1 pick in the WNBA Draft some day very soon.
For right now, her attention is focused on UConn. And if they aren’t ready, she’s going to spoil their unbeaten season before March even starts.
Be sure to check out our brand-new Facebook group dedicated to bringing you everything you need to know about all the schools and sports taking place in Kentucky! Cards, Wildcats, Toppers, and more!