Unselfish Huskies Rank Third Nationally In Assists

Forget about the ridiculous margin of victory (39.6), the obscene field goal shooting percentage (.529) or the fact that five players are averaging in double figures in scoring through the first eight games. What has been most impressive is witnessing the unselfishness and the precision in which the Huskies operate offensively to post these types of numbers.

The Huskies rank third in the nation in assists (22.3) and first in assist to turnover ratio (2.23). However, they been even better over the last four games in totaling 110 assists (27.5) and committing 39 turnovers (9.8) for a 2.8 assist to turnover ratio.

UConn, which is on pace for a team single-season record 892 assists, has had at least 22 assists in five games this season and have committed no more than 10 turnovers in six. Against St. Bonaventure Sunday, the Huskies had 27 assists and a season-low five turnovers.

“We take pride in our passes, and Coach (Geno Auriemma) is always emphasizing making sure we’re always passing to the right guys and not to the other team, obviously,’’ senior center Stefanie Dolson said. “So when you have a game like (Sunday) and have a lot of assists and not as many turnovers, I think that’s one of the biggest accomplishments for us to be able to pass the ball well.’’

Four players have 25 or more assists for the Huskies, led by Bria Hartley (47), Dolson (35) and Moriah Jefferson (34). And in every game this season at least one player has had at least five assists.

“I think our chemistry is something that’s incredible right now,’’ Jefferson said. “We’re kind of on a string. Everybody’s moving and cutting. And it comes from practice because we do it so much and so often in practice. When we get in the game it’s kind of like second nature.’’

Hartley, a two-guard by nature, has fully returned to her All-American level. Not only is she second on the team in scoring (14.0) and first in assists (5.9), she has only committed 10 turnovers in a team-high 254 minutes. Her assist to turnover ratio stands at 4.7.

Hartley had a career-high nine assists and zero turnovers in 28 minutes against the Bonnies. All told, she has had at least six assists in six games this season and has not had fewer than three in any game.

“We’ve been working a lot with her to be better balanced when she passes it,’’ Auriemma said. “You never throw passes across your body. So little by little we’re trying to get her to like `get yourself squared up and throw the pass.’ But she’s determined to be a really good passer, and I think that’s what’s helped her. She determined to be a good playmaker. And, God bless her, she’s doing a great of it. As all the guards are. I think our guards have been really, really good with the ball. Really good. We’ve be a really good ballhandling team.’’