Carl Adamec

Feb 12, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Napheesa Collier (24) drives to the basket against the Louisville Cardinals in the first half at Gampel Pavilion. Connecticut defeated Louisville 69-58. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Feb 12, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Napheesa Collier (24) drives to the basket against the Louisville Cardinals in the first half at Gampel Pavilion. Connecticut defeated Louisville 69-58. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

STORRS, Conn. -- Yes, the University of Connecticut and Louisville women's basketball teams played three times in 2014 as members of the American Athletic Conference.

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson reacts after a play against the Louisville Cardinals in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson reacts after a play against the Louisville Cardinals in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

STORRS, Conn. -- Whether Katie Lou Samuelson can make a stretch run towards becoming the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's next national Player of the Year while dealing with her injured left ankle remains to be seen.

But it's hard to find many players around the country who are playing better than the Huskies' All-American guard is right now.

Samuelson gave UConn 40 minutes Monday night and scored 26 points as the top-ranked Huskies topped No. 4 Louisville before an announced sellout crowd of 10,167 at Gampel Pavilion.

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Connecticut Huskies associate coach Chris Dailey reacts during Senior Day before the start of the game against the Tulane Green Wave at Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies associate coach Chris Dailey reacts during Senior Day before the start of the game against the Tulane Green Wave at Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

STORRS, Conn. -- The Geno Auriemma-coached 2000 United States U-18 national team was scrimmaging at Colorado College when Duke University-bound Alana Beard finished a stunning drive to the basket.

Auriemma blew his whistle and turned to where his assistant at the University of Connecticut, Chris Dailey, and Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt and her assistant, Mickie DeMoss, were seated in the small gym. They were watching as Team USA's roster included UConn-bound Diana Taurasi and Ashley Battle, and Tennessee-bound Ashley Robinson and Loree Moore.

He then looked over to Summitt and said: "Chris Dailey and Mickie DeMoss should be fired for not recruiting Alana Beard." Summitt nodded her head in agreement. They didn't get fired, though DeMoss did move on to other jobs. But this June they'll be together again in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Dailey, the Huskies' associate head coach, is one of seven people who will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame as part of its Class of 2018, it was announced Monday night. She will be the fifth UConn representative in the WBHOF joining Auriemma (Class of 2006) and former players Rebecca Lobo (Class of 2010), Jennifer Rizzotti (Class of 2013) and Kara Wolters (Class of 2017).

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Feb 4, 2018; Syracuse, NY, USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Jeff Walz reacts to a play against the Syracuse Orange during the second half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Feb 4, 2018; Syracuse, NY, USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Jeff Walz reacts to a play against the Syracuse Orange during the second half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

For nine seasons, they faced off in February, March, or even April.

But when Louisville left the American Athletic Conference for the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014, its women's basketball rivalry with the University of Connecticut that saw the teams play 16 times -- including two national championship games and three league tournament finals -- in those nine seasons went with it.

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Feb 10, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) reacts after a basket and foul against guard Kia Nurse (11) as they take on the Wichita State Shockers in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Feb 10, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) reacts after a basket and foul against guard Kia Nurse (11) as they take on the Wichita State Shockers in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Katie Lou Samuelson will let her game speak for her.

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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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 (Reinhold Matay)
(Reinhold Matay)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Ezi Magbegor is only 18 and already a world traveler thanks to her basketball abilities. But the Australian standout is about to get her first look at UConn Nation.

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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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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Gabby Williams has a unique way of filling a stat sheet, but has never been concerned about her numbers.

The All-American senior forward does make one exception and that's for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's win total. She has been part of 134 of them heading into Wednesday's American Athletic Conference contest against Central Florida at CFE Arena (SNY, 7 p.m.).

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Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse reacts after her basket against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse reacts after her basket against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- For the first time in program history, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team began a season with four 1,000-point scorers.

They didn't do it on their own.

Seniors Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams and juniors Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson have combined for 5,736 points as Huskies. The foursome tacked on 79 to their total Sunday as No. 1 UConn rolled past Cincinnati 106-65 in American Athletic Conference action before 12,342 at XL Center. They also combined for 23 of the Huskies' 32 assists. Williams reached the 400-assist plateau Sunday, three days after Nurse got there against South Carolina.

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- On Jan. 3, 1998, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team was welcomed by 24,597 orange-clad fans to Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. The 84-69 loss to Tennessee marks the only time in program history the Huskies have played the reigning national champion on the road.

That will change.

A crowd of 18,000 is expected here Thursday night as 2017 national champion and No. 7 South Carolina entertains top-ranked UConn for a non-league showdown at Colonial Life Arena.

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Dec 31, 2017; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Megan Walker (3) reacts after scoring against the Memphis Lady Tigers in the second half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports  (David Butler II)
Dec 31, 2017; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Megan Walker (3) reacts after scoring against the Memphis Lady Tigers in the second half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

Megan Walker had the best seven-day stretch of her young career with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team and she was rewarded for it on Monday.

Walker was named the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Week for the first time. In league wins over Memphis and Tulane she averaged 11.5 points and 3.5 rebounds.

Her week-long surge actually began on Jan. 21 when she had a season-high 22 points to go with six rebounds and five assists over 32 minutes in a 113-57 win at Temple. She then had 10 points and six rebounds in the 93-36 victory at Memphis last Wednesday. Then on Saturday against Tulane at Gampel Pavilion, she had 13 points and two assists in a 98-45 triumph...

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Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse after the game against the Memphis Lady Tigers at Elma Roane Field House. (Justin Ford/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse after the game against the Memphis Lady Tigers at Elma Roane Field House. (Justin Ford/USA TODAY Sports)

STORRS, Conn. -- The University of Connecticut women's basketball team shot a near-school record 72.2 percent from the floor Saturday in its 98-45 American Athletic Conference win over Tulane at Gampel Pavilion.

But the Huskies were even better when it came to being represented Thursday at "3.0 night" during halftime of the UConn-SMU men's game. Nine players on the 12-player roster (75 percent) were among the 361 student-athletes honored by UConn's Division of Athletics.

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Jan 27, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Tulane Green Wave guard Kolby Morgan (3) drives the ball against Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse (11) in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Jan 27, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Tulane Green Wave guard Kolby Morgan (3) drives the ball against Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse (11) in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

STORRS, Conn. -- When the University of Connecticut women's basketball team struggled with Tulane a season ago in New Orleans, Kia Nurse was on the Huskies' bench sitting out with an ankle injury.

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 (Erich Schlegel)
(Erich Schlegel)

The opening minute of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's game at Temple Sunday seemed more like the 41st minute of Thursday's game against Tulsa as the Owls scored the first six points.

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies forward Gabby Williams shoots the ball with Temple Owls guard Emani Mayo defending during the first half at The Liacouras Center. (Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies forward Gabby Williams shoots the ball with Temple Owls guard Emani Mayo defending during the first half at The Liacouras Center. (Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports)

PHILADELPHIA -- Gabby Williams looked like her All-American self on Sunday, though she's hardly feeling like herself.

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's senior forward is dealing with a hip issue ("It's called a psoas," Williams said. "It leads to the hip flexor and it's enflamed and swollen.") at a tough time. The Huskies were coming off a rough outing with Tulsa on Thursday night and Williams aggravated the injury when she blocked a shot by the Golden Hurricane's Rebecca Lescay with 1:02 left. She walked to the bench in pain.

But that's the kind of thing she'll be dealing with the next two months as her college career winds down. As tough as she has to be physically, she must be as tough mentally.

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Jan 3, 2018; Greenville, NC, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) goes to the basket past East Carolina Pirates forward Dominique Claytor (23) during the first half at Minges Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Jan 3, 2018; Greenville, NC, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) goes to the basket past East Carolina Pirates forward Dominique Claytor (23) during the first half at Minges Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

STORRS, Conn. -- Katie Lou Samuelson and Gabby Williams made it clear following the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's win at Texas Monday that the Huskies need their reserves to step up and lengthen the rotation.

Injuries to the All-American pair Thursday night may leave the bench players no choice. Samuelson re-injured her left ankle in the third quarter of the top-ranked Huskies' 78-60 American Athletic Conference win over Tulsa at Gampel Pavilion. Williams, meanwhile, appeared to aggravate a hip injury in the fourth quarter.

"We have been banged up but that's not an excuse for us at all," UConn All-American Napheesa Collier said. "When a player goes down, you're supposed to respond by playing harder and doing better. We're not doing that."

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Carl Adamec
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 (Erich Schlegel)
(Erich Schlegel)

AUSTIN, Texas -- Katie Lou Samuelson had lost the battle, but at least she won the war.

And the University of Connecticut women's basketball team junior All-American had not lost her sense of humor Monday night after she finished with a game-high 19 points and a swollen left eye as the top-ranked Huskies held off No. 9 Texas 75-71 before a partisan announced crowd of 11,877 at the Frank Erwin Center.

"I just got a nice elbow," Samuelson said. "It got more swollen throughout the game. It's good right now. I think it looks pretty with all the colors."

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Carl Adamec
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GEICO SportsNite: UConn wins 00:00:55
Michell Yu on SportsNite has the highlights from Monday's UConn women's basketball game as they took on No. 9 Texas in Austin.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Crystal Dangerfield wanted the ball.

More important, her All-American and all-conference award winning teammates with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team wanted her to have it as well.

The sophomore point guard sank two free throws with 8.3 seconds to give her team a two-possession lead and No. 1 UConn survived an inspired effort from ninth-ranked Texas to take home a 75-71 non-league win before an announced crowd of 11,877 at the Frank Erwin Center on Monday.

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Connecticut Huskies forward Napheesa Collier makes the basket against the UCF Knights in the first half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies forward Napheesa Collier makes the basket against the UCF Knights in the first half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

AUSTIN, Texas -- For almost two decades, Martin Luther King Jr. Day meant national television and a nationally-ranked opponent for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team.

But while the Huskies have played numerous big games on the third Monday of January, for them there's nothing bigger than remembering whom the holiday honors.

"It's always a special day, especially for everything Dr. King did for African-Americans," UConn All-American Napheesa Collier said. "It's hard for me to explain, but I know some of the things he did as a Civil Rights leader and they were amazing. In part because of what he did, I can play basketball and I can go to school where I want."

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Nov 25, 2017; Eugene, OR, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Andra Espinoza-Hunter (2) shoots over Michigan State Spartans guard Taryn McCutcheon (4) in the second half at Matthew Knight Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports (Jaime Valdez)
Nov 25, 2017; Eugene, OR, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Andra Espinoza-Hunter (2) shoots over Michigan State Spartans guard Taryn McCutcheon (4) in the second half at Matthew Knight Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports (Jaime Valdez)

On Dec. 30, 2014, Andra Espinoza-Hunter made her verbal commitment to play basketball at the University of Connecticut. Then midway through her sophomore year at Blair Academy in New Jersey, she became the youngest player to commit to the Huskies.

But after waiting more than two years to get to Storrs, her stay lasted just one semester. UConn announced Friday that Espinoza-Hunter has decided to transfer.

"I have enjoyed getting to know Andy and her family," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement. "Everyone at UConn wishes Andy all the best as she continues her college career elsewhere."

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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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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

Napheesa Collier is experiencing the life of a returning All-American. Her phenomenal sophomore season a year ago put a target on the back of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's forward.

The Huskies' opponents are going harder at her than ever before. But her rivals' efforts pale compared to how hard Collier is on herself.

"I know the work that I put into this and I know that my shots are eventually going to start falling," Collier said. "I try to keep pushing and working through this slump."

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier reacts with guard Gabby Williams after a play against the UCF Knights in the second half of the semifinals during the women's AAC Conference Tournament at Mohegun Sun Arena. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier reacts with guard Gabby Williams after a play against the UCF Knights in the second half of the semifinals during the women's AAC Conference Tournament at Mohegun Sun Arena. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

TAMPA, Fla. -- It cost $10 million for the University of Connecticut to repair the roof and ceiling of Gampel Pavilion during the summer and fall.

The Huskies women's basketball team would be hard-pressed to tell you how it looks.

"It's kind of always felt like that because we rarely get to play at Gampel," UConn All-American Gabby Williams said. "But this year it has been different. We're like the circus, we go wherever we're told to go."

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson warms up before the start of the game against the Oregon Ducks in the finals of the Bridgeport Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson warms up before the start of the game against the Oregon Ducks in the finals of the Bridgeport Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Katie Lou Samuelson's second bid in four days for her first career double-double with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team came up just short again, but the junior All-American's expanded game is giving her more paths to get it.

After missing a double-double by one rebound Sunday against Memphis, Samuelson came up one assist short Wednesday, finishing with 19 points and nine assists along with five rebounds and three steals in No. 1 UConn's 96-35 American Athletic Conference rout of East Carolina at Minges Coliseum.

"Since I've been here I've developed so many things in my game that I never had at all," Samuelson said. "I feel comfortable that I can impact the game in all kinds of different aspects. I don't need to every single game because of how versatile our team is. (Wednesday) I had the ball in my hands a lot and was trying to get it up the floor as quickly as I could and find my teammates. They were finishing well so that added up in assists."

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Carl Adamec
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Nurse's offense improves in 2017 00:02:14
Before the UConn women's game against Memphis, Kara Wolters analyzes Kia Nurse's fantastic offensive season thus far.

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Kia Nurse made headlines in Canada the night of Dec. 22 as she scored 24 points for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team in her homecoming game against Duquesne at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto.

But that wasn't the biggest news of the day in her family. That afternoon, her cousin, Sarah, was among 23 players named to the Canadian women's ice hockey team that will take part in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, Feb. 9-25.

"She'll probably be the first member of the Nurse family to come home with an Olympic medal, most likely gold," Kia Nurse said. "I'm not going to lie. They are very good and she is very good."

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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. -- Back when the University of Connecticut women's basketball team was trying to win the Big East regular season championship, coach Geno Auriemma had a formula of how the Huskies could get it done.

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Feb 27, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Crystal Dangerfield (5) looks to get past South Florida Bulls forward Kitija Laksa (33) in the first half at USF Sun Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)
Feb 27, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Crystal Dangerfield (5) looks to get past South Florida Bulls forward Kitija Laksa (33) in the first half at USF Sun Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)

STORRS, Conn. - Crystal Dangerfield has fit seamlessly into the University of Connecticut women's basketball team lineup that includes a four-year starter and three All-Americans.

It hasn't been as easy as she has made it look. A lot of hard work went into earning her spot. So the Christmas holiday came at a perfect time for the Huskies' sophomore point guard. Not only did she deserve a break, she needed one.

From summer school to her time with USA Basketball's U-19 national team, to the Huskies' tour of Italy, to preseason and the start of the regular season, Dangerfield has been going non-stop. But following UConn's win over Duquesne on Dec. 22, she got to spend five days at home with her family in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

"I just wanted to clear my mind," Dangerfield said on Friday...

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma celebrates his 1,000th win with his assistant coaches and players after defeating the Oklahoma Sooners at Mohegan Sun Arena. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma celebrates his 1,000th win with his assistant coaches and players after defeating the Oklahoma Sooners at Mohegan Sun Arena. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Chris Dailey was impressed, and it had nothing to do with the top-ranked University of Connecticut women's basketball team's 88-64 victory over Oklahoma in the Naismith Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.

As part of the postgame celebration of win No. 1,000 for head coach Geno Auriemma and his associate head coach Dailey, several members of the 1985-86 Huskies -- their first team -- were introduced to the sellout crowd. Among the players returning to the state was Jennifer Weideman.

"She came from France and that's pretty impressive," Dailey said. "I don't know if I would have come all that way...

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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GEICO SportsNite: Auriemma's win 00:02:02
The UConn women's basketball team defeated the Oklahoma Sooners, 88-64, for Geno Auriemma's 1,000th win of his career Tuesday.

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Katie Lou Samuelson buried a 3-pointer with 3:37 left Tuesday night and the event staff at Mohegan Sun Arena began handing out commemorative posters to the sellout crowd.

The remaining time was a countdown to Geno Auriemma's 1,000th win with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team. But the milestone didn't come without Oklahoma making it interesting.

Napheesa Collier, Azura Stevens, Samuelson and Kia Nurse combined for 77 points as the top-ranked Huskies made Auriemma the fourth Division I women's coach to reach the plateau with an 88-64 victory over the Sooners before 9,151 fans in the Naismith Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase.

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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as they take on the UCF Knights in the second half of the semifinals during the women's AAC Conference Tournament at Mohegun Sun Arena. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as they take on the UCF Knights in the second half of the semifinals during the women's AAC Conference Tournament at Mohegun Sun Arena. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- The irony wasn't lost on Geno Auriemma that the first opportunity to win his 1,000th career game would come at a casino.

There were no guarantees when he came from Virginia or when Chris Dailey came from Rutgers to take over the University of Connecticut women's basketball team that success would follow. Prior to his hiring on May 18, 1985, the Huskies had one winning season and an overall record of 92-162.

But the gamble paid off, thanks to his own skills, knowledge and personality, and his ability to bring in players that bought into his philosophy.

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Mar 31, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma reacts in the second quarter against the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
Mar 31, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma reacts in the second quarter against the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

STORRS, Conn. -- Chris Dailey's first impression of working alongside Geno Auriemma 32 years ago has lasted a lifetime.

"I thought he was crazy," Dailey said Monday of their Nov. 23, 1985, debut on the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's sideline, a 73-67 overtime win at Iona that featured Auriemma picking up two technical fouls. "I was like, 'Oh my goodness.' "

What Auriemma and Dailey have done together with the Huskies since is, well, crazy as evidenced by the 11 national championship banners that hang inside Gampel Pavilion.

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Oklahoma Sooners head coach Sherri Coale signals to her team against the Baylor Bears in the first quarter during the women's Big 12 Conference tournament at Chesapeake Energy Arena. (Mark D. Smith/USA TODAY Sports)
Oklahoma Sooners head coach Sherri Coale signals to her team against the Baylor Bears in the first quarter during the women's Big 12 Conference tournament at Chesapeake Energy Arena. (Mark D. Smith/USA TODAY Sports)

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team will try to make history for its coach Geno Auriemma on Tuesday night, but Sherri Coale has been there and done that.

Auriemma will go for his 1,000th career win when the top-ranked Huskies (8-0) face Coale and Oklahoma in the Naismith Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase at Mohegan Sun Arena. He would be the third or fourth women's coach -- depending on the result of Tuesday afternoon's North Carolina-Grambling game as the Tar Heels' Sylvia Hatchell seeks the four-figure plateau -- in the 1,000-win club.

But Coale already knows how to throw a wrench in an opponent's plans. On Feb. 2, 2009, the Sooners defeated Tennessee 80-70 in Oklahoma City to deny late Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt of her 1,000th win in her first attempt. Summitt would reach the milestone three days later against Georgia.

"I never looked at Connecticut's schedule and I was unaware of it until people started talking about it a couple of weeks ago," Coale said Monday. "It's crazy how that works out, isn't it?"

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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma looks on against the Tulane Green Wave during the first half at Devlin Fieldhouse. (Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma looks on against the Tulane Green Wave during the first half at Devlin Fieldhouse. (Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports)

Bill Self started his Hall-of-Fame career as an assistant men's basketball coach at the University of Kansas in 1985. He came full circle -- through an assistant's position at Oklahoma State and head coaching jobs at Oral Roberts, Tulsa and Illinois -- when he became the top man with the Jayhawks in 2003.

He's checked about all the boxes on the list of accomplishments, including the 2008 national championship.

But would he like to travel around the Big 12 and the country with his team riding a 90- or 100-game winning streak?

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Feb 3, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma during the second half of a game against the Tulane Green Wave at the Devlin Fieldhouse. Connecticut defeated Tulane 96-38. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports (Derick E. Hingle)
Feb 3, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma during the second half of a game against the Tulane Green Wave at the Devlin Fieldhouse. Connecticut defeated Tulane 96-38. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports (Derick E. Hingle)

A picture is worth 1,000 words, but when Kim Belliveau was standing next to Geno Auriemma in the official photo of his first University of Connecticut women's basketball team from the 1985-86 season she never could have guessed how the Huskies' story would be written.

Belliveau was the UConn assistant coach not named Chris Dailey at the start of Auriemma's tenure. And while she is an answer to a trivia question today, she may have been the best-known person on the staff among the girls/women's basketball world in the state at the time. Belliveau was a star guard at Putnam High -- located in the "quiet corner" of northeastern Connecticut.

She then went on to have a record-breaking career at William Penn University in Iowa where she helped lead the Lady Statesmen to the 1981 AIAW Division II national championship before returning home and starting work on her masters degree at UConn...

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson and guard/forward Napheesa Collier on the sideline as they take on the Albany Great Danes in the first half during the first round of the women's NCAA Tournament at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson and guard/forward Napheesa Collier on the sideline as they take on the Albany Great Danes in the first half during the first round of the women's NCAA Tournament at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Geno Auriemma is no longer the coach of the United States national team, but the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's present and past is well represented on the 2017-20 Team USA pool that was announced by USA Basketball on Thursday.

Junior All-Americans Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier are among the 29 players in the pool from which the 2018 USA World Cup Team is expected to be selected. Also named were eight former Huskies' stars: four-time Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, two-time Olympic gold medalists Tina Charles and Maya Moore, fellow 2016 Olympic gold medalist Breanna Stewart and her UConn classmate Morgan Tuck, Stefanie Dolson, and Tiffany Hayes.

Available members of the pool will participate in a minicamp Feb. 9-11, 2018, at the University of South Carolina. Collier and Samuelson will not attend as UConn entertains American Athletic Conference newcomer Wichita State at the XL Center on Feb. 10, and hosts former Big East and AAC rival Louisville on Feb. 12 at Gampel Pavilion...

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse shoots over Michigan State Spartans forward Mardrekia Cook in the first half at Matthew Knight Arena. (Jaime Valdez/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse shoots over Michigan State Spartans forward Mardrekia Cook in the first half at Matthew Knight Arena. (Jaime Valdez/USA TODAY Sports)

His team had built an eight-point lead in the second quarter against Notre Dame, and University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma decided to give Kia Nurse a break.

It turned into a break for the Irish. By the time Nurse returned 2:15 later, the game was tied. Then when the senior guard went back to the bench after 51 seconds with her second foul, Notre Dame continued its run that gave it a double-digit lead.

But once the second half started, Nurse was on the floor to stay. And at the finish, she and her teammates were at their best. Nurse and teammate Azura Stevens sparked a game-closing 22-3 run as No. 1 UConn downed third-ranked Notre Dame 80-71 last Sunday in the Jimmy V Classic at XL Center.

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Mar 22, 2014; Toledo, OH, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores guard Jasmine Lister (11) looks to get around Arizona State Sun Devils guard Deja Mann (5) in the second half of a women's college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Savage Arena. Arizona State defeated Vanderbilt 69-61. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports (Andrew Weber)
Mar 22, 2014; Toledo, OH, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores guard Jasmine Lister (11) looks to get around Arizona State Sun Devils guard Deja Mann (5) in the second half of a women's college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Savage Arena. Arizona State defeated Vanderbilt 69-61. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports (Andrew Weber)

Jasmine Lister knows what it's like to be on the opposite sideline from the University of Connecticut women's basketball team. The former Vanderbilt University point guard faced the Huskies in the 2013 NCAA tournament second round at Gampel Pavilion.

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson reacts to a play against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson reacts to a play against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- The XL Center's sellout crowd was already in full throat Sunday as the University of Connecticut women's basketball team was in the midst of its biggest comeback in almost a decade.

Then the 15,564 fans found another level with 4:50 left when junior All-American Katie Lou Samuelson -- who had gone to the UConn locker room several minutes earlier to get her left ankle examined -- returned to the Huskies' bench. She sat down next to associate head coach Chris Dailey and hoped to convince head coach Geno Auriemma she was ready to be part of the rally.

"I thought I would be able to go back in, and I was pretty bummed that I didn't," Samuelson said. "But when your teammates are playing that great, I was happy to watch and support them the best I could. We showed we're going to have that heart and that fight no matter who is out there."

Without Samuelson and fellow All-American Gabby Williams (migraine), UConn used a closing 22-3 run to gain an 80-71 win over No. 3 Notre Dame in the annual Jimmy V Classic.

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GEICO SportsNite: Huskies win 00:00:30
The UConn Huskies rallied in the fourth quarter to preserve their perfect record and beat Notre Dame, 80-71, on Sunday.

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Azura Stevens was playing in her first game for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team against Notre Dame, but had faced the Irish four times in her two years at Duke.

Did being familiar with Notre Dame help the redshirt junior forward Sunday?

"Besides the familiarity of wanting to beat them? Not really," Stevens said with a laugh.

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 (Jaime Valdez)
(Jaime Valdez)

Napheesa Collier entered her junior season with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team coming off one of the best sophomore years in Huskies' history that ended with her being a consensus first-team All-American and the American Athletic Conference's Co-Player of the Year.

But she was determined to be better and set a goal of expanding her game in the hopes of helping UConn regain the national championship. The top-ranked Huskies are off to a solid start as they prepare to host No. 3 Notre Dame in the Jimmy V Classic at the XL Center in Hartford Sunday at 4 p.m.

Collier, though, is not that happy with herself.

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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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Connecticut Huskies guard Gabby Williams drives the ball against South Carolina Gamecocks center Alaina Coates in the first half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)
Connecticut Huskies guard Gabby Williams drives the ball against South Carolina Gamecocks center Alaina Coates in the first half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)

When Gabby Williams talks about how far she's come in the last four years, it has little to do with the distance she traveled to be part of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team.

The journey hits home for the Sparks, Nevada, native Tuesday night when the senior All-American leads the top-ranked Huskies onto the floor in neighboring Reno for a game with the University of Nevada at the Lawlor Events Center.

"I want to show the people that saw me play in high school that I'm now a totally different player," Williams said. "I want to show them how much I've improved, and how I am a different player in the new position that I'm in. And I'm excited for that. But then I have a lot of friends who don't even understand basketball that much, and they're just excited to see me play in person and see and meet my teammates. That's exciting for me, too...

Tags: Gabby Williams, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse dribbles the ball as Maryland Terrapins guard Ieshia Small defends in the first half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse dribbles the ball as Maryland Terrapins guard Ieshia Small defends in the first half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Kia Nurse is an academic All-American, yet she struggles to comprehend a pair of one-syllable words when used together:

Slow down.

For example, Nurse scored 12 points and Team Canada won the gold medal at FIBA AmeriCup 2017 with a 67-65 win over host Argentina in Buenos Aires on Aug. 13. The next day, she flew to Italy -- a journey of approximately 6,930 miles -- and on Aug. 15, she scored 18 points in the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's 68-52 exhibition win over the Dutch national team in Rome.

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Credit: USA Basketball (USA Basketball)
Credit: USA Basketball (USA Basketball)

Geno Auriemma and his University of Connecticut women's basketball coaching staff deserved to take a break after signing two of top players in the high school Class of 2018 this month.

But the Huskies didn't win 11 national championships and advance to 18 NCAA Final Fours by resting on their laurels. In modern-day recruiting, a coach's work is never done.

While UConn may add to its class of Christyn Williams (5-foot-11 guard, Little Rock, Arkansas) and Olivia Nelson-Ododa (6-foot-4 forward/center, Winder, Georgia), some focus has turned to younger players, including two who represented their country for the first time last summer...

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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as they take on the California Golden Bears in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as they take on the California Golden Bears in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

There are few, if any, college basketball arenas in the nation with the history and tradition of UCLA's Pauley Pavilion.

The 11-time national champion University of Connecticut women's basketball team will play under the UCLA men's 11 national championship banners for the second time in its history Tuesday night. The No. 1 Huskies figure to have their toughest matchup of the young season as they take on the fifth-ranked Bruins in a nationally-televised showdown.

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Azura Stevens reacts after her basket against the Maryland Terrapins in the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Azura Stevens reacts after her basket against the Maryland Terrapins in the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- It's not like Azura Stevens hasn't started a game before. The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's redshirt junior forward was on the floor for the opening tip 51 of the 58 games she played in two seasons at Duke before transferring here 18 months ago.

But this is not Duke. And with All-American Katie Lou Samuelson sidelined with a sprained left foot, Stevens is -- what All-American Gabby Williams says -- "the next man up." In Stevens' first start for UConn on Sunday, the Raleigh, North Carolina, native responded.

Stevens finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds -- one of six Huskies in double figures and one of three with double-doubles -- as top-ranked UConn coasted to a 97-72 win over No. 15 Maryland before 10,126 at XL Center.

"Z did well, really well, and I was proud of her," Williams said. "She came in and knew what she was good at. She didn't look afraid. She was ready to go out there and compete."

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

STORRS, Conn. -- It had to feel like deja vu all over again for Katie Lou Samuelson.

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior All-American hit the floor after being fouled with 4:02 left in the first half Friday night. After being helped to her feet, she gingerly took a few steps on her injured left foot and signaled to the Huskies' bench she needed to come out of the game.

In the 2016 NCAA Final Four semifinals against Oregon State in Indianapolis, Samuelson broke a bone in her left foot while grabbing an offensive rebound in the game's opening minute but managed to play the entire first half. She missed the national championship game against Syracuse two days later but then had seven months to recover.

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Rebecca Lobo honored 00:09:50
Former Husky Rebecca Lobo was honored before Friday's game after being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

STORRS, Conn. -- It was 26 years ago -- Nov. 24, 1991, to be exact -- that Rebecca Lobo played her first game for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team as the Huskies took on California in Berkeley.

The coincidence that Lobo will become the first former UConn player to have her own banner recognizing her 2017 induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame placed in Gampel Pavilion on Friday with No. 20 California here to face the Huskies (SNY, 7 p.m.) wasn't lost on coach Geno Auriemma.

"It's amazing the way things come around," Auriemma said on Thursday. "How many years later, 26? She's getting a banner here and we're playing Cal. What are the chances, right? That is the craziest thing."

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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as they take on the LSU Tigers in the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as they take on the LSU Tigers in the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II)

It was better late than never for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team. Actually, the fall recruiting signing period could not have gone any better for the Huskies.

Olivia Nelson-Ododa, a 6-foot-4 center from Winder, Georgia, has signed a letter of intent to attend UConn on Wednesday, the final day of the fall signing period. Rated the No. 5 recruit in the Class of 2018 by ESPNHoopgurlz, she also considered Duke, Florida State, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Last week, UConn signed the nation's top recruit, Christyn Williams, a 5-foot-11 guard from Little Rock, Arkansas...

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