ROME - As the UConn womenâ€™s basketball team continues its tour of Italy, there are six Huskies fans from the area cheering them on throughout the trip. Bob and Sue Oâ€™Dea, from Plainville; Pauline Kruk, from Newington; and Natalie Campbell, Judith Ryiz and Kent Carlson, all from New Britain, are traveling with the program.
The group watched the Huskies beat the Dutch National Team in Rome in the first of a four-game exhibition series, 68-52, on Monday night, local time.
It was a busy day for the group, which included a tour of the Vatican Museum, St. Peterâ€™s Basilica and the barracks of the Swiss Guard, before the game against the team from the Netherlands.
Napheesa Collier led the way for UConn in the exhibition with 16 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, while Gabby Williams added 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting. AzurĂˇ Stevens scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds as she joined Williams, Molly Bent, Katie Lou Samuelson and Crystal Dangerfield in the starting lineup.
UConn struggled early in its first game since March and led by just three points, 31-28, at halftime. The Huskies turned it over 12 times in the first half but regrouped and committed just five turnovers in the second, pulling away and outscoring the Netherlands 22-9 in the third quarter.
The game was played very fast, as the Netherlands was a quick team, and was physical throughout, according to Carlson, who called in his experience to the Herald from Rome.
Another game against the Dutch National Team will be played Tuesday night in Rome before UConn plays games in Florence and Venice later this week. There are 46 fans of the team on the tour, along with another 30 from the program itself.