UConn's Dangerfield excited to play first game in home state of Tennessee
Memphis, Tenn. — Crystal Dangerfield, the first Tennessee native to suit up for Geno Auriemma's UConn Huskies, figures to have a little extra bounce in her step during her first college game in the Volunteer State.
Dangerfield expects more than a few family members and friends to make their way to Roane Fieldhouse when the top-ranked Huskies (18-0, 7-0 AAC) play at Memphis (7-12, 2-4) on Wednesday (1 p.m., SNY).
"I know I'll have a few people there and just kind of be back home playing," said Dangerfield, a native of Murfreesboro, Tenn. "We didn't get that chance last year so it will be fun."
Those who make the 3 1/2 hour ride from Murfreesboro to Memphis will see a player enjoying a breakout sophomore season.
Dangerfield had moments of brilliance as a freshman but has raised her play to an entirely different level this season. She is putting up numbers on par of those of All-American guards Sue Bird, Bria Hartley, Moriah Jefferson, Renee Montgomery, Jen Rizzotti and Diana Taurasi in their sophomore seasons.
Dangerfield has scored in double figures 14 times, had made at least half of her 3-point attempts in a game eight times and posted three games with no turnovers, and only twice in 18 games does she have more turnovers than assists.
During her four years at Blackman High School, Dangerfield played 108 games in the state of Tennessee and she was on the winning side in 99 of those. Considering that UConn has won its last 190 games when facing a team with a losing record, there's a pretty good chance that mark will improve to 100-9.
"There have been times when I've let things get crazy, but there have been more times where I've stayed calm and I think that's the biggest thing, to just show poise," said Dangerfield, who won two state titles in high school. "Being so young, I think Coach (Geno Auriemma) wants to see that in his point guard."
So how has Dangerfield maintained her poise as the least experienced of the Huskies' starting five?
"From reps in the practice and understanding who I have on the floor with me, and when it comes down to it, we'll be able to pull it out."
Dangerfield, like other starters, has been dealing with injuries. She has been slowed by shin splints, which led to her playing a season-low 15 minutes Thursday in a win over Tulsa.
Recently she has been wearing a sleeve on her shin and said it has helped.
Katie Lou Samuelson will be a game-time decision because of an ankle injury suffered in the Tulsa game. Samuelson missed Sunday's win over Temple and Auriemma said it is something she'll be dealing with all season.
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