UConn's Dangerfield close to returning to the court
Dangerfield missed the last four games due to a stress reaction in her left foot. The plan was for Dangerfield to be held out of practice and games for two weeks and that time is now up. Dangerfield spent much of Friday's practice riding the stationary bike. She got some shots up and ran around a little - and I do mean a little - at the end of the practice.
"She is out of the boot, she did some shooting today and that was really the first time she has been on the court (since the South Florida game on January 10)," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said.."She will do some more tomorrow morning and then we'll see. Obviously she is not playing tomorrow but hopefully she is going to be good enough to go at least a little bit on Wednesday (when UConn plays at Temple) and that is what we are hoping for.
"She is not going to plat 40 minutes against Temple but we will have her for a little bit, every little bit helps at this point."
In the last two games fellow freshmen Molly Bent and Kyla Irwin averaged 14 and 12 minutes respectively while former walk-on Tierney Lawlor played a total of nine minutes in blowout victories over Tulane and East Carolina. Without Dangerfield out there to take up more of the minutes Sanoya Chong averaged 36.5 minutes in the two games while Gabby Williams and Katie Lou Samuelson played 34 and 30 minutes against East Carolina. Auriemma would have liked to see those minutes cut back a bit in those kinds of games.
"It is a fine line that was a trying to navigate," Auriemma said. "You want to keep your starters together as long as you can, 2) you want to give them a rest; 30 when you are subbing in somebody else other that Crystal in the backcourt, it gets a little bit out of sync. You have to try to figure out how do we keep all of these going in the same direction, how do we not screw up the whole chemistry thing. It is not easy. I was watching one of our games and we had 62 points at one point and our starters had 60, it might have even been that our four starters had 60 out of the 62 so it is not ideal. Last year was a little bit better, we were getting some contributions off the bench and right now we are not."
Napheesa Collier weighed in on the bonus of having Dangerfield back in the rotation of available players next week.
"We are anxious to have her, it sucks to be on the sideline watching. I think she is real excited to get back," Collier said.