UConn will be involved in another big game Saturday against No. 1 Stanford at sold-out Maples Pavilion. The Huskies will face another big-time player too.
Cardinal junior All-American Chiney Ogwumike, a 6-foot-4 forward, is averaging 21.8 points and 12.8 rebounds in 32.4 minutes. She is shooting 61.8 percent from the field, 85.4 percent from the free throw line.
Ogwumike is coming off of a 21-point, career-high 19-rebound effort in a win over Tennessee Dec. 22. That was her eighth straight double-double. She is averaging 22.1 points and 13.9 rebounds during this stretch.
As usual, UConn 5-11 defensive stopper Kelly Faris will see plenty of time defending Ogwumike. However, UConn coach Geno Auriemma said today that Faris will not draw this assignment every minute that she is on the floor.
“Stanford’s got a lineup that’s not easy to match up with,’’ Auriemma said. “And I’m sure Kelly will end up guarding Chiney. I’m sure that’ll happen. And I’m sure that’ll happen frequently. But one of the problems that I think teams have that have played them, and are going to play them, is that if you put somebody like Kelly, who I think can do a great job, then (6-5 center) Stefanie (Dolson’s) stuck guarding a kid that spends most of her time on the perimeter.
“It’s not an easy decision to make and just say, `OK, we’ll see if Kelly can handle Chiney and then we’ll worry about everything else.’ Because I don’t know that that’s necessarily the best way to go about it all the time. So I think we’re going to have to be smart about it. And I’m not worried about what Kelly will do defensively. I don’t think there’s anybody in the country that she can’t guard. But, at the same time, I think we’ve got to be careful what the other match-ups are because is that helping ourselves in one area and hurting ourselves in another.’’
Stanford also features 6-3 forward Joslyn Tinkle, who is averaging 13.9 points and has attempted 35 3-pointers this season, and 6-3 Taylor Greenfield, who has attempted a team-high 36 3-pointers. Mikaela Ruef, 6-3, is second on the team in assists (2.0).