STORRS - Crystal Dangerfield is fast to share the wealth, and the credit.
The UConn women’s basketball team’s junior point guard matched her career high of 10 assists Wednesday night in recording her third double-double as the third-ranked Huskies rolled past Cincinnati 82-38 in American Athletic Conference action at Gampel Pavilion.
Five teammates were on the receiving end of Dangerfield passes for baskets. Napheesa Collier led the way with three, with Katie Lou Samuelson, Christyn Williams, and Megan Walker accounting for two each and reserve Kyla Irwin one.
“The biggest job I have is seeing what we need at that time,” Dangerfield said. “Most of the time we have our stuff running through Phee or through Lou but we want to make sure that everyone is involved.”
Six of Dangerfield’s assists came in the first quarter as UConn (13-1 overall, 2-0 AAC) scored the first 17 points en route to a 30-8 lead after 10 minutes.
Her familiarity with Samuelson and Collier - she was Samuelson’s roommate and teammate with the United States U-16 national team six years ago - is obvious. But the Murfreesboro, Tennessee, native makes it a point to work with first-year UConn starters Walker and Williams to get to know their games better.
“Playing with Lou and Phee for so long I know where they want the ball and how they want it,” Dangerfield said.
“With the others it’s about making sure they’re involved in the offense and getting them the looks they need.”
Samuelson led the Huskies with 23 points with Williams adding 19 - 15 in the first quarter - and Collier 14.
Dangerfield recorded her 10th assist with 3:55 to go in the third quarter and completed her double-double when her 3 with 30 seconds left in the period gave her 11 points.
Her only turnover of the game came on the first possession of the fourth quarter.
“Crystal has a tough job,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “If she comes down and makes a lot of shots, that means she’s not passing the ball. I would rather see her create 20 points with 10 assists, probably more than 20 with a couple of threes off her passes. I would rather her account for 30-35 points any which way, whether she is getting them or she is getting them for somebody else. I don’t ever worry when someone gets 10 assists and doesn’t score a lot.”
UConn finished with 26 assists attached to its 31 baskets.
Dangerfield, however, did not have her best shooting night as she was just 4-for-11 from the floor. Three of her baskets were from behind the arc.
“I’m a pass-first guard in a sense, and when my team is making shots like we were I want to keep getting them the ball,” Dangerfield said. “Coach has said that when I’m getting other people involved my shots will come and I will capitalize on them.”
Her effort Wednesday night allowed her to regain the AAC lead in assists from the Bearcats’ Antoinette Miller at 5.4 per game and moved her to the top of the league in assist-to-turnover ratio, edging by Samuelson at 2.42.
Not that Dangerfield is one to count her assists, nor does she get frustrated when her teammates miss shots that cost her assists.
“Not so much for the stat, but if it’s a layup, don’t miss layups,” Dangerfield said. “We want to capitalize on every easy shot that we can get. That’s the frustration, making sure our offense is running well so we get good shots.
“Tonight they were hitting shots. Thanks to them,” Dangerfield added with a smile.
UConn improved to 103-0 in AAC play (88-0 regular season, 15-0 tournament) with the win. The Huskies’ 83rd consecutive home win broke a tie with Stanford for the second-longest home streak in NCAA history behind only UConn’s 99-game run that ended seven years ago.
“It’s just a standard we want to keep and make sure we come out each night ready to play no matter who it is against,” Dangerfield said.
The Huskies will play back-to-back home games for the first time this season when they host league rival South Florida Sunday at Gampel Pavilion. The Bulls (10-6, 1-1) are down three starters due to injury and illness and are coming off a 62-49 loss to Central Florida in Tampa.