women’s basketball Walker showing the consistency UConn has been waiting for
NEW ORLEANS — Is Megan Walker ready to shed the inconsistency label?
UConn now has another reason to believe the answer could be yes.
Walker outscored Tulane by herself Wednesday, pouring in 34 points along with 10 rebounds in a resounding 75-33 victory at Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse.
In what was her 46th game in a Huskies uniform — and just her 14th start — Walker was close to unstoppable at times. The 6-foot-1 forward scored in a variety of ways, carrying the No. 2 team in the country to its 105th consecutive American Athletic Conference win.
Here’s five takeaways from another lopsided victory for the Huskies, who find themselves at 15-1 on the season:
OH, WHAT A NIGHT: With every smooth jump shot, every strong take to the basket, Walker reminded everyone why she was the consensus No. 1 overall player in the Class of 2017.
Tulane had no answers for Walker’s physicality or athleticism. She established new career-highs in points and rebounds, recording her first double-double.
Arguably the most impressive aspect of Walker’s performance was how she scored. She was an efficient 11-of-16 from the field (4-of-7 on 3-point attempts) and 8-for-10 from the free-throw line.
WHAT WOULD A BREAKTHROUGH FROM WALKER MEAN?: During his postgame news conference, coach Geno Auriemma was downright giddy about Walker’s night. Walker has the potential to be a matchup nightmare, and Auriemma explained that pairing her alongside fellow 6-foot-1 forward Napheesa Collier in the paint could spell a world of trouble for opponents.
Since the New Year, Walker has undoubtedly turned a corner, averaging 17.5 points and 6.7 rebounds over her last four games.
Auriemma felt Walker had become too passive in non-conference play, often passing up open jump shots for off-balanced drives to the basket. She seems to have adjusted, though, as her field-goal attempts over the last five games would indicate: 11, 10, 13, 5, 15, 16.
LEARNING ON THE GO: As Christyn Williams tries to work through her slump, she needn’t look far for inspiration. Walker’s struggles last year are a reminder that freshman year can be a grind.
Williams — who, like Walker was regarded as the best player in the country coming out of high school — shot 1-of-10 and scored only two points against Tulane. That came on the heels of a scoreless effort against USF, in which Williams and four other starters were benched.
The Huskies needed to be patient with Walker. Williams is no different.
SLOW GOING FOR DANGERFIELD: Williams isn’t the only Husky who has struggled to shoot lately. Point guard Crystal Dangerfield is just 3-of-17 (1-of-12 from 3) over her last two games.
Against Tulane, Dangerfield finished with five points and five assists.
DEFENSE MAKES A STATEMENT: They were aggressive, they were opportunistic, they were all-around better.
UConn delivered arguably its best defensive effort of the season, holding Tulane to just 11 field goals on 18.3 percent shooting. The Green Wave were particularly woeful from beyond the arc, where they went just 2-for-22.
In their 63-46 win over USF last Sunday, Auriemma felt the Huskies lacked energy and gave up too many open looks. The opposite was true against Tulane, as the Huskies held their opponent without a point for an 8-minute, 13-second stretch during the first quarter.