By Tracy Schultz
Louisville star Angel McCoughtry tried to convince everyone -- probably herself, too –- not to make too much of her team's next game.
"It's just another game," McCoughtry said after last week's win over Cincinnati.
McCoughtry may have been right if it were Cincinnati she was talking about. That "other game," however, is against top-ranked Connecticut tonight. Louisville and UConn head into the matchup unbeaten in Big East play. It's a pretty good bet that the Huskies will still be that way Tuesday morning. Here are a few reasons why.
- As good as they are on the road, the Huskies are even better at home. They haven't lost a home game in more than a year. Tennessee was the last win at UConn, beating the Huskies by six on Jan. 6, 2007. It's been even longer (Feb. 7, 2006) since a Big East team beat the Huskies on their home floor (Louisville hasn't beaten UConn since 1993).
- Louisville has just one loss this season and has won 14 straight. The Cardinals have yet to play anyone close to the caliber of the Huskies. Even a win against Rutgers is looking less impressive now than it did a couple of weeks ago.
- There's no questioning McCoughtry's greatness. She's one of the nation's most prolific scorers and her name is included on every player of the year list. With 21.4 points a game, McCoughtry accounts for about 30 percent of their offense. She'll need help to keep up with the Huskies, though. They put up more points than anyone in the country, averaging 88.6 a game, 15 more than the Cardinals.
- The Huskies have Maya Moore and then some. She leads the high-octane offense with 19.5 points a game. But Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles are close behind -- both are averaging 16 points, but they do so much more. In addition to running the offense, Montgomery gives the Huskies balance on the perimeter. She's also willing to take long-range shots. Charles is a big factor on the defensive end, too. With two blocks against Cincinnati, she moved into a tie for third on the program's career block list with 181.
Now that we've looked ahead, here's what we learned this past weekend.
- Auburn is for real. An 82-68 win over Tennessee on Sunday put the Tigers at 20-0. They join UConn as the only unbeatens in the country. Young or not, Tennessee remains a measuring stick for women's college basketball. Auburn had posted some big wins during its resurgence under Nell Fortner. The Tigers still hadn't beaten Tennessee since 1997, though. That's why Sunday's win confirmed Auburn as a real contender this season. It also affirmed Dewanna Bonner as one of the nation's best players. Bonner, who dropped 35 points on Tennessee, should get strong consideration for player of the year if she can keep this up and lead the Tigers to a SEC title.
"Bonner is a special player," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. "She can play inside, outside and she plays off the bounce. She has really elevated her game."
- Oklahoma is going to be very hard to beat. Baylor is awfully good, but the Bears are going to have their hands full on Wednesday. Courtney Paris is coming off one of the best games of her career: The All-America was nearly perfect, hitting 11-of-13 shots against Texas on Sunday. Paris, who almost saw her streak of double-doubles end last week against Texas A&M, took care of extending that early. She had it in the first half and ended up with almost as many rebounds (21) as points (23).