The Legendary UConn Huskies Women’s Basketball program is undefeated – 106 games – in conference play since joining the American Athletic Conference in 2014. Ten of those wins came against Memphis.
So the Tigers came into the game knowing they would have to play a near-perfect game to pull off the upset – and they came oh-so-close to doing so. But UConn (14-1, 5-0 AAC) was able to emerge victorious over the pesky Lady Tigers, winning 68-56.
UConn was led by senior guard Crystal Dangerfield, who scored 24 points and dished three assists. She was supported by fellow guard Christyn Williams, who chipped in 16 points and three assists. UConn forward Megan Walker, who played all 40 minutes of action along with Dangerfield, scored 14 points and forced four big steals.
Memphis comes up just short against No. 4 UConn. A 21-point, 10-rebound double-double for @DulcyMendjiadeu paces the Tigers, while @_maddieg23_ hits her record-breaking 48th triple of the season. #GoTigersGo pic.twitter.com/OsNAsz9uun
— Memphis Women's Basketball (@MemphisWBB) January 15, 2020
However, the Tigers played as if they were not heavy underdogs all night, forcing UConn into uncharacteristic turnovers, with the Lady Huskies finishing with a grand total of 13.
Lead by junior forward/center Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu, the Tigers (9-8, 0-4 in AAC play) were able to show they would be no pushovers. Mendjiadeu finished the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds, shooting an efficient 6 of 8 from the field and 9-10 from the charity stripe.
The most impressive part of her performance, however, centered around her efforts on the defensive end, as she limited 6-5 UConn forward Olivia Nelson-Odoba, one of the more efficient overall post players in the nation, to just eight points and nine rebounds. The Cameroon native was anxious to show that she could shine bright on a big stage, and she was able to do just that.
“I have gotten better from practice, and I’m just using what coaches have worked on with me in the games,” Mendjiadeau said after the game.
Tigers head coach Melissa McFerrin had nothing but positive things to say about her star post player.
“She’s a warrior”, McFerrin said. “She’s playing against one of the best three or four teams in the country and she’s a warrior. She owned the boards. She took the ball to the glass and she wasn’t scared of anyone.”
Despite the breakout game from Mendjiadeau, the only other Tiger to score in double-digits was freshman guard Madison Griggs, who finished with 12 points, including three 3-pointers. Junior forward Keke Hunter finished with four points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers.
However, Jamirah Shutes, the team’s leading scorer at 14 ppg., managed to put up only 8 points on 3-15 from the field, 0-4 from 3-point range. McFerrin appreciated the effort from her squad, even as the game was fading away at the very end.
“I don’t think it’s a moral victory,” McFerrin said. “I think it tells our kids how good we can be. It should tell our team how good we be when we play our tails off.”
What’s next for both teams? The Tigers will conclude their two-game homestand against SMU on Jan. 21 at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. UConn will travel to UCF and face the Knights on Jan 16.