Big Monday Matchup: No. 1 Baylor at No. 3 UConn: Preview and link roundup

Brittney Griner Dunk 012413
Brittney Griner dunking at Iowa State in January.

The defending national champion and top-ranked Baylor Lady Bears (24-1, 14-0 Big 12) seek to extend their nation’s best 22-game win streak when they play a non-conference road game vs. No. 3 Connecticut (24-1, 11-1 Big East) in Hartford’s XL?Center on Monday, February 18, 9 p.m. ET. This marks the second time this season that the Huskies have faced the nation’s top-ranked team as UConn defeated Stanford, 61-35 on December 29. Connecticut is 5-5 all-time against No. 1 teams, including 2-1 at home. Baylor lost to Stanford 71-69 in mid-November during the Rainbow Wahine Tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The contest, a Big Monday game as part of ESPN’s Rivalry Week, will be nationally televised on ESPN2 with the Women’s Final Four crew of Dave O’Brien (play-by-play), Doris Burke (analyst) and Rebecca Lobo (sideline) calling the action.

The game is also part of the annual  Play 4Kay initiative. The two schools have set up a friendly contest to see what team’s fan can raise the most money. [Baylor donations || UConn donations]

Monday’s game marks Baylor’s fifth overall and first non-conference Big Monday appearance, as the Lady Bears are 4-0 when playing on ESPN on Mondays. The contest is just Baylor’s second ever non-conference contest during league play, as the ninth-ranked Lady Bears played at No. 4 LSU on Jan. 30, 2006, and lost 88-57.

UConn leads the series, 2-1. Baylor’s lone win came last season, 66-61, in Waco, UConn’s first-ever Ferrell Center appearance.

Baylor is led by Preseason National Player of the Year Brittney Griner who averages 22 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game, while point guard Odyssey Sims is averaging 12.4 points and 5.7 assists per game and Brooklyn Pope is scoring 11.1 points and grabbing 5.8 boards per game.

In Griner’s three games vs. UConn, she has averaged 19.0 points, 7.7 blocks and 7.3 rebounds. She has blocked 18 shots in the last two games vs. the Huskies (9 & 9).

UConn has four players averaging double-digits with Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis leading the way with 16.6 points per game, while Stefanie Dolson is scoring 14.2 points per contest, Breanna Stewart averages 13.2 points and Kelly Faris is averaging 10.5 points per game. Mosqueda-Lewis owns the highest 3-point shooting percentage in the country with 42.6 and Dolson is leading the country with a 62.7 field goal percentage.

Monday’s game will also be broadcast live on the UConn Radio Network with Bob Joyce and Debbie Fiske on the call.

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