Published February 09. 2014 4:00AM
Storrs - The last time UConn and Louisville played it was for a national championship and the Huskies cruised an the easy 33-point rout.
With both teams having most of their players back from last April's game, today's rematch (1 p.m., ESPN) will be an opportunity for fourth-ranked Louisville to see how much it's improved.
"It's a chance to see where we are as we're both 11-0 in conference," said Louisville coach Jeff Walz. "We'll see if we've improved in some areas that we're working on. We'll find other areas that we need to improve."
For Walz's squad to have success, they'll need to find a way to slow down the top-ranked Huskies and their incredible passing game. UConn leads the nation in both assists (averaging more than 22 per game) and in assist-to-turnover ratio.
"For our team, that means every time down the floor, not every time, but 90 percent of the time at least, we're getting a great shot," said UConn coach Geno Auriemma. "That is significant, because when teams play against us, they know we're not going to beat ourselves."
Nobody has beaten UConn (24-0, 11-0 American Athletic Conference) this season. The Huskies have won 30 straight games dating back to last season's title run. That's the fifth longest winning streak in school history.
Their unselfishness on offense is a big reason why. The same can be said for the Cardinals (23-1, 11-0). They ranked 16th in the nation in assists, at just under 18 per game.
"I think it has to do a lot with how many offensive threats we have on this team," said Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who had seven assists in the Huskies' 102-41 rout of SMU on Tuesday night. "Honestly, you can pass to anybody and get an assist.
UConn has four players averaging in double figures, and point guard Moriah Jefferson is averaging just under 10 points and a league-leading 5.3 assists.
And as Mosqueda-Lewis has shown, it's not just the guards who can pass. UConn center Stefanie Dolson is averaging 3.4 assists and forward Breanna Stewart is averaging three.
"Post players that can pass it are definitely an extra threat because we know that doubling will be hard," said Louisville forward Asia Taylor. "We can't worry about what their numbers are, we've just got to make them do what they're not good at more than what they're good at."
Both teams come into the game a bit short-handed. Louisville guard Bria Smith will not play a second straight game because of tendinitis in her knees. The Huskies are without forward Morgan Tuck, who recently underwent season-ending knee surgery. Guard Brianna Banks also is out for her third straight game with an ankle injury.
Louisville hasn't had much success against UConn, losing 13 of their 14 meetings, including twice with the national championship on the line.
But the Cardinals were not expected to have any chance against Baylor in last year's national semifinals, and won that game.
Dolson said they know Louisville would like nothing better than to play giant-killer again today.
"We know that because of their history with us and with them against Baylor last year, that they are going give us an extremely physical game and we've just got to make sure we're ready for it."