College football is still fresh on everybody’s mind, so let me help you brush up on your NCAA women’s college basketball knowledge. Notre Dame (16-1) is ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25 and led by senior guard Arike Ogunbowale. Last time you heard that name, she did this. Also, NC State (17-0) is rolling, but they lost leading scorer Grace Hunter for the season.
Oh, and the Connecticut Huskies are still dominant.
With a record of 15-1, the Huskies are tied at No. 2 in the rankings (yeah, it happens) with the Baylor Bears through the second week in January. What was the only team to beat UConn this season, which also snapped their winning streak of 126 consecutive games during the regular season? That would be Baylor.
UConn traveled to take on the Tulane Green Wave in their game on Jan. 16 at Devlin Fieldhouse in New Orleans. Tulane is no slouch either, as the team entered that American Athletic Conference matchup at 13-3 and riding a six-game win streak.
It got ugly.
From the first quarter, Connecticut looked they have for the last 34 years under head coach Geno Auriemma. They overwhelmed Tulane the whole time with superior skill, size and speed to force 22 turnovers and hold Tulane to just 18.3 percent shooting the basketball en route to a cruising 75-33 victory. The Green Wave did force UConn into some mistakes and forced 18 turnovers themselves. But while they were busy slowing down leading scorers Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier, sophomore Megan Walker balled. The sophomore from Chesterfield (VA) scored a career-high 34 points on 11-of-16 shooting.
Yeah, Megan Walker outscored the entire Tulane Green Wave basketball team by herself.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Walker is the first Division I player to outscore their opponent in a conference game since Cincinnati’s Steve Logan back in 2002.
To be honest, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the 6-foot-1 Walker managed to pull this off. After all, she was the top overall recruit in 2017. Walker was also named the National Player of the Year by Gatorade, Naismith, MaxPreps and WBCA as a senior after winning three Virginia state championships in high school.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma casually picked up win No. 1,042 in his Hall of Fame career and explained how Walker’s game has improved since the team’s return from Christmas break.
“Her effort is different. Her intensity level is different. Just her whole mannerisms are different. It’s obviously showed up in the way she’s played in games. These are the kind of games where you just need one person to step up because everyone else is struggling to make any kind of shot. Today, it was her.”
— Geno Auriemma, via ESPN
The itch to get back on the mountain top is starting to creep back again. The Huskies haven’t won an NCAA national championship since the 2015-16 season, although they reached the Final Four in those two seasons since. If Megan Walker and the rest of the UConn Huskies team keep playing like this throughout conference play? That “drought” might just end.
If not, there are 11 more national title trophies waiting back home in Storrs, Connecticut.