After Sunday's loss to Connecticut, Gophers women's basketball coach Dawn Plitzuweit said she liked her team's effort and intensity, which did not flag as the game grew one-sided in the second half.

Upon further review, there was more encouragement to be found.

"It was game four,'' Plitzuweit said Tuesday of the 62-44 defeat. "We didn't have enough time to do everything we needed to be ready and have a ton of success.''

But things they did work on in practice showed on the court: defense, holding the Huskies to season lows in shooting and points. The Gophers helped and rotated well on defense and closed out strong on the perimeter, one reason the Huskies attempted only 15 threes. UConn climbed from No. 8 to No. 6 in the rankings this week.

It won't get a lot easier for the Gophers, in terms of practice time. Wednesday they host Cal State Northridge at Williams Arena. It is the first of four straight home games against mid-major teams.

After playing the 2-2 Matadors — the first of four games in 11 days — the Gophers will host Stony Brook, Norfolk State and Drake. Those three schools were a combined 12-1 after the weekend and two of those teams — Norfolk State and Drake — were NCAA tournament teams last spring.

So the process of integrating a new staff and some new faces into the mix will have to continue on the fly. For example, after the physical UConn game, Plitzuweit gave her players the day off Monday. That gave the team just one day to prepare for Wednesday's game.

"It's a very stressful time for college students,'' Plitzuweit said. "They're closer to finals. There are a lot of games. We're trying to do a self-scout on us and preparing for our next opponent. It's a lot.''

It will be important for some of the Gophers' key scorers to bounce back from difficult games against UConn. Leading scorer Mara Braun had 12 points, but made just four of 21 shots. Grace Grocholski was 4-for-17 overall, 3-for-15 on threes.

After they shortened the bench dramatically against the Huskies — four of the five Gophers starters played 37 or more minutes — continuing to develop depth is a key as well.

And Plitzuweit wants to continue working on getting the ball into the post, something UConn made very difficult.

But Plitzuweit liked the fact that neither Braun nor Grocholski abandoned trying to do what they do. They kept shooting, rarely turned down shots. Despite the 18-point loss — the Huskies' 21-6 third quarter was the key — the Gophers remain confident.

"I think it showed us we can hang with good teams,'' said Mallory Heyer, who had 10 points with six boards and a steal Sunday. "I think we're a very good team. And tonight was just a glimpse into the rest of the season."

Said Braun: "We still have a lot of work to do. But it's early on, and we have a long season ahead of us.''

The Gophers have yet to play outside of Williams Arena and won't until traveling to Kentucky on Dec. 6. Plitzuweit would have liked one or two more away games to get used to that process, but the upcoming schedule is difficult enough to continue the team's growth. Call State Northridge, Norfolk State and Stony Brook all play very good defense and Drake's offense is very good.