Mathis making an impact
The fact is that Mathis accomplished much more than ending Montgomery's day courtesy of an accidental elbow.
Mathis, a former star at Career High, made her second straight start and had a career-high 10 points in a 78-41 loss to the Huskies.
Mathis scored all of her points in the second half as she scored in double figures for the first time as a college player.
"My shots started dropping in the second half and I was being more aggressive," Mathis said. "I was being a little tentative, a little nervous in the first half. That wore off and I was able to play my game.
"I always liked UConn growing up and it was a big thing playing against them. I just have to play hard and do whatever I can to help my team."
Mathis impressed her coach with her play.
"I'm really pleased with how Ilicia played," Rizzotti said. "I thought the two people who stood out in my mind where Ilicia and Kasey Pratt. It's just a good
sign for us to get some more guys involved in our scoring. Ilicia for the last month and a half has been sitting in the backseat letting things happen to her and letting other people take minutes. I felt like starting her would force her to be the player we recruited, be an impact player, be a slasher, be an outside shooter and be a defender. She is our best rebounding guard so I felt like I needed to find more ways to get her minutes and we hadn't been getting enough production out of our wing spot and the move so far has worked and hopefully she will be able to carry the momentum of this game forward. If she can 10 points on UConn, she should be able to do that on anybody."
Mathis was apologetic for catching Montgomery with her elbow en route to a driving layup with 17:32 left in the game.
"My bad," said Mathis. "It wasn't intentional. I was just going to the basket hard and my coach told me that those things happen."
Other notes from the game:
Montgomery passed Cathy Bochain and Rizzotti to move into 12th on UConn's career scoring list. Since Diana Taurasi was more of a shooting guard than a point guard during her brilliant career at UConn, Montgomery became the all-time leading scorer among UConn point guard when she had a three-point play with 2:17 left in the first half.
Maya Moore was benched for the final 12:32 of the first half. She returned in the second half and grabbed UConn's first three rebounds in the second half.