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Azura Stevens

Feb 26, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Gabby Williams (15) (left) and guard Kia Nurse (11) center pose for a picture with her teammates holding the regular season championship toffee after defeating the South Florida Bulls 82-53 at Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Feb 26, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Gabby Williams (15) (left) and guard Kia Nurse (11) center pose for a picture with her teammates holding the regular season championship toffee after defeating the South Florida Bulls 82-53 at Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

Gabby Williams is usually very sure of herself on the basketball court and off of it.

But Thursday was different. The University of Connecticut senior forward had no control over her future as she attended the WNBA Draft at Nike Headquarters in New York.

"I was nervous, I was anxious, I just wanted it to be here," Williams said. "You don't know what city you're going to. You don't know who your teammates are. It's a scary thing..."

Tags: Azura Stevens, Gabby Williams, Kia Nurse, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies forward Gabby Williams holds up the regular season championship trophy as she and her teammates pose for a picture after defeating the South Florida Bulls 82-53 at Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies forward Gabby Williams holds up the regular season championship trophy as she and her teammates pose for a picture after defeating the South Florida Bulls 82-53 at Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Gabby Williams, Azura Stevens and Kia Nurse were all selected within the top ten picks of the 2018 WNBA Draft. Williams was picked 4th overall by the Sky, Stevens went 6th to the Wings and Nurse went 10th to the Liberty.

The trio led the Huskies to a 36-1 record and another trip to the Final Four, where they lost to Notre Dame. 

This season, Williams averaged 11.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.4 steals in her senior season and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Albany Regional. 

Tags: Azura Stevens, Gabby Williams, Kia Nurse
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 (Rich Barnes)
(Rich Barnes)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Gabby Williams' answer was short and sweet when asked if she could get the three rebounds she needs for 1,000 in her career with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's during Friday night's NCAA Final Four semifinal game with Notre Dame at Nationwide Arena.

"I'll try," she said with a smile.

To Williams, rebounding is all about effort and there's little short or sweet about it. The only short part would be her height. If she gets the three rebounds, the 5-foot-11 All-American senior forward would become the seventh UConn player with 1,000 but, the first to be listed at under 6-feet tall.

Tags: Azura Stevens, Gabby Williams, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies Kia Nurse drives the ball against Saint Francis (Pa.) Red Flash guard Leah Morrow in the first half of the women's NCAA Tournament first round game at Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies Kia Nurse drives the ball against Saint Francis (Pa.) Red Flash guard Leah Morrow in the first half of the women's NCAA Tournament first round game at Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Katie Lou Samuelson was coming off one of the best sophomores seasons for any University of Connecticut women's basketball player and set her expectations even higher for her junior year.

But in the second quarter of the second game of the season on Nov. 17, against California at Gampel Pavilion, Samuelson fell awkwardly after collision with the Bears' Mikayla Cowling and eventually limped off the court. She would miss four games with a left foot sprain. In January she would get a black left eye against Texas and injure her left ankle versus Tulsa, which cost her another game, and led her to joke that everything happened on her left side.

As the Huntington Beach, California, native heads into Monday night's NCAA tournament Albany Regional final against South Carolina, she and the top-seeded Huskies are all right.

Tags: Azura Stevens, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

ALBANY, N.Y. -- About two dozen media members with either cameras, microphones, or tape recorders were waiting for her inside the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's locker room Friday.

Then, in walked Azura Stevens, sporting her best and biggest smile.

"Why would I dread this?" Stevens said with a laugh.

Tags: Azura Stevens, Katie Lou Samuelson, Carl Adamec
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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Katie Lou Samuelson's older sister, Karlie, had moved on to Stanford as she entered her junior year at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, California. It didn't take long for her to develop a family-like tie with one of the Monarchs' newcomers -- Jayda Adams.

The two will be together again Saturday but on different sidelines. Samuelson and the top-seeded University of Connecticut women's basketball face Adams and No. 5 Duke in a NCAA tournament Albany Regional semifinal at the Times Union Center.

"I love her. In high school I called her my little sister," Samuelson said. "When I was a junior, she was the only freshman on varsity. I saw her develop as a player at Mater Dei and I've watched her since she got to Duke. I'm happy for her and excited to see her."

Tags: Azura Stevens, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Jan 9, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Azura Stevens (23) reacts after a play against the UCF Knights in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Jan 9, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Azura Stevens (23) reacts after a play against the UCF Knights in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

Azura Stevens feels like she is playing her best ball of the season for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team, but knows she has to be even better if the Huskies are to reach all of their postseason goals.

"I have definitely not gotten there yet," Stevens said. "I think coming in at first it was pretty easy. It wasn't easy, but I kind of started off pretty well. Then I hit a wall. I'm really grateful to my team and my coaches for allowing me to go through that. I had to do a lot of maturing and growing up. They were really patient with me and continued to work with me.

"Now I think it's a confidence boost for myself going into the postseason sort of continuing to do things that I've worked on and being more in tune and in synch with my teammates. What better time for that to happen than right now with postseason play coming up. It feels really good to I guess be on the downward slope of that hill."

Tags: Azura Stevens, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut's Napheesa Collier (24), Katie Lou Samuelson (33), Azura Stevens (23) and Kia Nurse (11), UConn's starters, cheer for their teammates at the end of an NCAA college basketball game against Memphis Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Hartford, Conn. UConn won, 97-49. (AP Photo/Stephen Dunn)  (Stephen Dunn/AP)
Connecticut's Napheesa Collier (24), Katie Lou Samuelson (33), Azura Stevens (23) and Kia Nurse (11), UConn's starters, cheer for their teammates at the end of an NCAA college basketball game against Memphis Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Hartford, Conn. UConn won, 97-49. (AP Photo/Stephen Dunn) (Stephen Dunn/AP)

In order to beat the University of Connecticut women's basketball team, you have to play them. Central Florida gets to do it as a member of the American Athletic Conference.

"Every time we play them, I think our team understands them more," UCF second-year coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said following the Knights' 55-37 loss to the Huskies at CFE Arena in Orlando Wednesday night.

AAC newcomer Wichita State will get its first experience against No. 1 UConn Saturdaywhen the Huskies open a three-game homestand against the Shockers at the XL Center in Hartford (SNY, 1 p.m.). UConn has won 86 consecutive games against first-time opponents dating back to a loss to Georgia at Gampel Pavilion on Jan. 15, 1996.

Tags: Azura Stevens, Crystal Dangerfield, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Carl Adamec
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UConn Huskies remain undefeated 00:01:58
Gary Apple and Kara Wolters break down the highlights from the UConn women's basketball team's 55-37 win over UCF on Wednesday night.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Katie Lou Samuelson passes up 80-degree weather about as often as she passes up an open 3-point shot.

But the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior All-American and resident California girl was content to trade a warm winter night here for a wintry day in New England if it meant not getting on another plane for almost two weeks.

The top-ranked Huskies wrapped up another trip Wednesday night as Samuelson had 19 points, six rebounds, and five assists in a 55-37 American Athletic Conference win over Central Florida before an announced pro-UConn crowd of 6,155 at CFE Arena. They then headed home where winter and the first three-game homestand of the season awaits.

 

Tags: Azura Stevens, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Feb 18, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Gabby Williams (15) grands a rebound over Tulane Green Wave guard Shakira Harding (1) at Devlin Fieldhouse. The Huskies won 63-60. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen Lew)
Feb 18, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Gabby Williams (15) grands a rebound over Tulane Green Wave guard Shakira Harding (1) at Devlin Fieldhouse. The Huskies won 63-60. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen Lew)

STORRS, Conn. -  Gabby Williams could laugh at the irony.

Tags: Azura Stevens, Crystal Dangerfield, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier
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UConn defeats Memphis 00:02:00
Highlights from UConn women basketball's 93-36 victory over Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Napheesa Collier scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and top-ranked Connecticut routed Memphis 93-36 Wednesday to remain undefeated.

UConn (19-0, 8-0 American Athletic Conference) trailed only briefly in the opening minutes before beating Memphis for the ninth time overall and second time this season.

The Huskies routed Memphis 97-49 when the Tigers visited Dec. 31. The venue changed, but not the final result with UConn winning in a more smothering fashion despite coach Geno Auriemma pulling all but one starter in the third quarter. The Huskies held Memphis to fewer points in each of the first three quarters.

Tags: Azura Stevens, Crystal Dangerfield, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier
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Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma watches during the first quarter an NCAA college basketball game against Stanford, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. Connecticut won 78-53. (AP Photo/David Dermer) (David Dermer/AP)
Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma watches during the first quarter an NCAA college basketball game against Stanford, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. Connecticut won 78-53. (AP Photo/David Dermer) (David Dermer/AP)

STORRS, Conn. -- Geno Auriemma coached his 1,143rd game with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team Thursday night.

He has had more great memories than anyone. But the top-ranked Huskies' 78-60 American Athletic Conference win over Tulsa before an announced crowd of 7,477 at Gampel Pavilion he'll remember as one he would love to forget.

"If I could have it my way, I would give every person that came tonight their money back. That was the most disgraceful effort I've seen at Connecticut in the 32 years I've been here.

"It doesn't bother me anymore, I see this every day in practice. I'm beyond being bothered. Some days we just hide it better than others. But give Tulsa all the credit in the world. They made shots. They were able to take the ball where they wanted to take it. We won because we have All-Americans and they don't. That's the bottom line..."

Tags: Azura Stevens, Crystal Dangerfield, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier
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Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma watches during the first quarter an NCAA college basketball game against Stanford, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. Connecticut won 78-53. (AP Photo/David Dermer) (David Dermer/AP)
Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma watches during the first quarter an NCAA college basketball game against Stanford, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. Connecticut won 78-53. (AP Photo/David Dermer) (David Dermer/AP)

STORRS, Conn. -- Geno Auriemma coached his 1,143rd game with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team Thursday night.

He has had more great memories than anyone. But the top-ranked Huskies' 78-60 American Athletic Conference win over Tulsa before an announced crowd of 7,477 at Gampel Pavilion he'll remember as one he would love to forget.

"If I could have it my way, I would give every person that came tonight their money back. That was the most disgraceful effort I've seen at Connecticut in the 32 years I've been here.

"It doesn't bother me anymore, I see this every day in practice. I'm beyond being bothered. Some days we just hide it better than others. But give Tulsa all the credit in the world. They made shots. They were able to take the ball where they wanted to take it. We won because we have All-Americans and they don't. That's the bottom line..."

Tags: Azura Stevens, Crystal Dangerfield, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier
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Jan 9, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Azura Stevens (23) reacts after a play against the UCF Knights in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Jan 9, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Azura Stevens (23) reacts after a play against the UCF Knights in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

All-Americans Katie Lou Samuelson and Gabby Williams are calling out the reserves.

Tags: Azura Stevens, Crystal Dangerfield, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier
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Jan 9, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Azura Stevens (23) reacts after a play against the UCF Knights in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Jan 9, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Azura Stevens (23) reacts after a play against the UCF Knights in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

STORRS, Conn. -- When it comes to dealing with the three referees, Geno Auriemma does the talking for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team.

The Hall of Fame coach had no issues with Dee Kantner, Bryan Enterline, and Kevin Pethtel following No. 1 UConn's 80-44 American Athletic Conference win over Central Florida at Gampel Pavilion Tuesday night. Instead, he saved his best sarcasm for his players, who did not deal with UCF's physical style well.

"The first half offensively we had a chip on our shoulder toward the officials," Auriemma said. "Our players didn't think the officials did a good enough job of helping the UConn players look really, really good. I think some players on our team think it is the officials' job to help them be really good.

Tags: Azura Stevens, Crystal Dangerfield, Carl Adamec
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UConn Huskies defeat UCF, 80-44 00:02:17
The UConn women's basketball team defeated UCF, 80-44, on Tuesday night to improve to 14-0 on the season.

STORRS, Conn. -- When the University of Connecticut women's basketball team won its 100th consecutive game by beating South Carolina last Feb. 13, Gampel Pavilion was electric.

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Connecticut Huskies forward Gabby Williams (15) is greeted by teammates after coming out of the game during the second half against the East Carolina Pirates at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. (James Guillory)
Connecticut Huskies forward Gabby Williams (15) is greeted by teammates after coming out of the game during the second half against the East Carolina Pirates at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. (James Guillory)

It was a delay of game that the University of Connecticut women's basketball team was happy to accept. A year ago, the Huskies were looking into scheduling a homecoming game for Sparks, Nevada, native Gabby Williams, who was on her way to an All-American junior season. The only problem was that UConn's 13-game non-league schedule -- which included the recently-added Nike PK80 Invitational in Eugene, Oregon -- was filled.

Enter Seton Hall and coach Tony Bozzella.

UConn and Seton Hall had signed a deal to start a home-and-home series during the 2017-18 season. But the Huskies reached out to Bozzella and the Pirates, who agreed to push back the series by one year giving UConn the opening to schedule Tuesday night's game against Nevada in Reno.

Tags: Azura Stevens, Crystal Dangerfield, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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GEICO SportsNite: UConn tops MSU 00:01:14
UConn women's basketball had a wire-to-wire 96-62 victory over the Michigan State Spartans on Saturday afternoon.

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Azura Stevens recorded one of three UConn double-doubles and reached 1,000 points for her career as the top-ranked Huskies beat Michigan State 96-62 at the PK80 Invitational on Saturday.

Tags: Azura Stevens, Crystal Dangerfield, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier
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Duke Blue Devils guard/forward Azura Stevens (11) dribbles the ball against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. The Blue Devils won 70-48. (Charles LeClaire)
Duke Blue Devils guard/forward Azura Stevens (11) dribbles the ball against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. The Blue Devils won 70-48. (Charles LeClaire)

STORRS, Conn. - .Azura Stevens transferred to UConn in 2016 after playing her first two collegiate seasons at Duke where she earned all-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team honors. As a freshman, she had a team high 16 points in the Blue Devils' 83-52 loss to the Huskies on Dec. 30, 2014. The 6-foot-6 wing from Raleigh, North Carolina, sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules and has two years of eligibility remaining. Stevens recently took a time out to answer five questions from SNYUConn.com reporter Carl Adamec.

1. You wore uniform No. 11 during your time at Duke and you chose to wear No. 23 here. Why, and are you aware of the importance of that uniform number in UConn history?

"I wore 23 in high school so I decided to go back to that number. I am aware of the history of that number here. Arguably the greatest player in the history of this program, Maya Moore, wore this number. So I definitely get some chills looking at that number here. I don't feel pressure with it, though. Playing up to being a UConn player is enough."

Tags: Azura Stevens, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier
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