By Carl Adamec
HARTFORD, Conn. — The only two point guards currently playing women’s college basketball that have guided their respective teams to a national championship will be on the same floor tonight when Caroline Doty and third-ranked Connecticut entertain Odyssey Sims and No. 1 Baylor at the XL Center.
That’s not to say it will be a 1-on-1 showdown. Sims is an All-American. Doty averages about 18 minutes per game and has fought knee injuries throughout her five seasons with the Huskies. The only place Doty has an advantage is, unfortunately, in ACL tears at 3-1.
“She’s a great point guard,” Doty said. “Brittney Griner needs to get the ball somehow and Sims knows how to do it. She’s very physical, just a tough kid. She’s a great passer and all-around great player. She was an All-American for a reason last year. We have to try and contain her, make her take tough shots and pressure the ball.”
Doty has faced Baylor twice in her career — in the 2010 NCAA Final Four semifinals and in Waco, Texas, a season ago. In 41 minutes, she has not scored a point. The Doylestown, Pa., native has also not scored a point in her last four games against Notre Dame (0-for-8 from the floor) covering 82 minutes.
What two teams will UConn (24-1) likely have to go through to win the national championship?
Doty played well in a short stint in the second half of the Huskies’ loss to the Irish last month, but missed two open 3-pointers that certainly would have helped the cause. She may get that chance again tonight and she must deliver.
“My priority is to get our main scorers the ball,” Doty said. “If I have an open shot, I have to take it. And if I have the opportunity I know I have to make it.”
UConn freshman point guard Moriah Jefferson was named to the Big East honor roll today. In road wins over Providence and Rutgers, Jefferson averaged 11.5 points on 69.2 percent shooting from the floor, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 4.0 steals per game.
Notre Dame senior guard Skylar Diggins was the Big East Player of the Week. The All-American and reigning Player of the Year averaged 22.0 points, 7.0 assists, and 4.0 steals in the Irish’s wins over Louisville and Marquette. St. John’s guard Aliyyah Handford was the Freshman of the Week having averaged 15.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in wins over South Florida and Cincinnati.
With the 9 p.m. tip being two hours later than the usual night game for the Huskies, it’s important that they stay active during the day, which is never a problem for senior Kelly Faris.
“You keep busy and try to do the normal routine we usually have,” Faris said. “You can’t sit around all day. I don’t have classes (today) but I’ll get up and get some work done. I know how much is too much for me and what will stress me out.”
Baylor (24-1) has won 64 of its last 65 games. The Bears thought they could take a run at UConn’s NCAA record 90-game winning streak but lost to Stanford in the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu in November.
Imagine the atmosphere tonight if Baylor had a 65-game winning streak coming here?
“It would have been crazy,” Faris said.
“It doesn’t matter,” Doty said. “We worry about us. We want to play solid basketball and try to come out with a win.”