Carl Adamec

Connecticut Huskies guard Saniya Chong waves at the crowd following the game against the SMU Mustangs at Moody Coliseum. (Raymond Carlin III/USA Today Sports Images)
Connecticut Huskies guard Saniya Chong waves at the crowd following the game against the SMU Mustangs at Moody Coliseum. (Raymond Carlin III/USA Today Sports Images)

TULSA, Okla. -- There are so many streaks, it seems, that the University of Connecticut women's basketball team is a part of that it's hard to keep track of them all.

But there's one coach Geno Auriemma takes more seriously than 91 consecutive wins, four straight national championships, nine NCAA Final Four appearances in a row or any other run the Huskies have going. In his 32 years with the Huskies, every athlete who has played four years and completed her eligibility at UConn has received her degree. That's 100 percent, even better than his all-time leading winning percentage.

When Saniya Chong chose to attend UConn early in her senior year at Ossining (New York) High, that statistic played into her decision. It's difficult enough to for any student to graduate college in four years, let alone a student-athlete playing a sport at its highest level. 

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UConn Women's Win Streak 00:03:44
Gary Apple and Kara Wolters discuss the Huskies' current 88 game win streak and if they can break the record of 90 games.

Kara Wolters is one of 10 women's basketball players in history to win a NCAA national championship, a WNBA title and gold medals from the Olympics and FIBA world championships.

And while Knoxville, Tennessee, isn't the former University of Connecticut center's favorite place, her basketball legacy could find a permanent home there.

Wolters is among 12 finalists for the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2017, it was announced Monday. The Hall's board of directors will vote next week and the six-member class will be announced next month, either on Feb. 12 or 13.

The Women's Hall is located in Knoxville, home to the University of Tennessee. The Class of 2017 will be inducted June 10.

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Connecticut Huskies forward Gabby Williams makes a layup as UCF Knights forward Tolulope Omokore defends at CFE Federal Credit Union Arena. (Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies forward Gabby Williams makes a layup as UCF Knights forward Tolulope Omokore defends at CFE Federal Credit Union Arena. (Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports)

TULSA, Okla. -- The University of Connecticut women's basketball team ranks fourth in the American Athletic Conference in rebound margin through 16 games heading into Tuesday night's contest with Tulsa at the Reynolds Center (SNY, 8 p.m.).

But before anyone panics that the top-ranked Huskies' undersized post players -- 6-foot-1 sophomore Napheesa Collier and 5-foot-11 junior Gabby Williams -- aren't getting the job done, take a closer look at the numbers.

UConn (plus-5.2) trails South Florida (plus-12.0), Central Florida (plus-9.8) and SMU (plus-6.5) in rebound margin. But in head-to-head matchups since New Year's Day, the Huskies outrebounded UCF by six, USF by 11 and SMU by seven. They also had the edge in second-chance points against the three league rivals.

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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma leaves the court following the game against the SMU Mustangs at Moody Coliseum. (Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma leaves the court following the game against the SMU Mustangs at Moody Coliseum. (Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports)

DALLAS -- From his early days as the University of Connecticut women's basketball coach -- at least as far back to the Huskies' first Big East championship in 1989, Geno Auriemma has believed in destiny.

Perhaps the first sign that UConn was meant to break its own NCAA record for longest winning streak came in the first game of this season at Florida State on Nov. 14. The Huskies trailed the Seminoles by seven in the opening minute of the third quarter, their biggest second-half deficit of the streak. After a Napheesa Collier basket, Gabby Williams took a pass from Saniya Chong at the top of the key and nailed a 3-pointer to make it a two-point game. The two hoops were the start of a 14-2 run that put UConn in front as it survived a final shot by Imani Wright to get out of Tallahassee with a 78-76 victory.

Williams had not made a 3-pointer in her first two seasons at UConn, attempting one. She has misfired on the three she has tried since.

Still, there has to be more.

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Megan Walker has signed with UConn and will be a freshman next season. (Photo courtesy USA Basketball)
Megan Walker has signed with UConn and will be a freshman next season. (Photo courtesy USA Basketball)

Two years ago, Mikayla Coombs was sitting on the sidelines. The 5-foot-8 guard from Buford, Georgia, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in the first quarter of the first game of her sophomore season at Wesleyan School and she had season-ending surgery.

On Sunday, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's Class of 2017 was recognized as one of the top players in the country.

Coombs and fellow UConn signee Megan Walker (6-foot-1 wing, Chesterfield, Virginia) will be teammates on the East squad at the 2017 McDonald's All-American Game to be played March 29 at the United Center in Chicago.

Twenty-four players were selected for the 16th annual girls game. UConn Class of 2017 signees Lexi Gordon and Andra Espinoza-Hunter were nominated to take part.

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Jan 14, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma and guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) and center Natalie Butler (51) clap on the bench during the second half against the SMU Mustangs at Moody Coliseum. Connecticut won 88-48, for their 91st consecutive victory an NCAA record. (Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 14, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma and guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) and center Natalie Butler (51) clap on the bench during the second half against the SMU Mustangs at Moody Coliseum. Connecticut won 88-48, for their 91st consecutive victory an NCAA record. (Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports)

DALLAS -- It was a year ago this weekend that recruits Lexi Gordon and Christyn Williams made their way to Storrs to watch the University of Connecticut women's basketball team in action.

Gordon (who signed with UConn in November) and Williams (one of the top players in the Class of 2018) were together again at Moody Coliseum Saturday as the top-ranked Huskies won their NCAA-record 91st consecutive game by defeating SMU 88-48 in American Athletic Conference play.

The Huskies lost All-Americans Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck to graduation. On Saturday, their version of a Big Three -- Katie Lou SamuelsonNapheesa Collier and Gabby Williams -- came up big as they combined for 66 points, 32 rebounds, 11 assists, nine blocked shots and eight steals. It's a different team, but. ...

"As far as the way they play team ball, there is no difference," Christyn Williams said. "They play to win. Coach A [Geno Auriemma] is an amazing coach and they play the way that he wants them to."

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UConn dominates in historic win 00:02:13
Katie Lou Samuelson scored a game-high 28 points as the Huskies beat SMU for their 91st consecutive victory.

DALLAS -- What the University of Connecticut women's basketball team does if it earns the opportunity to return to this city and the American Airlines Center for the NCAA Final Four in a bit over two months will determine what it's best remembered for.

But the Huskies have their piece of history that cannot be taken away.

Katie Lou Samuelson had 28 points while Gabby Williams (19 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, five steals) and Napheesa Collier (19 points, 16 rebounds, six blocked shots) recorded double-doubles Saturday as the top-ranked Huskies won their NCAA record 91st straight game with an 88-48 American Athletic Conference victory over SMU before 3,878 at Moody Coliseum.

"It's a cool accomplishment but there's a lot more we want to do this season," Samuelson said. "I'm sure we'll look back at it more later than right now. Maybe at the end of the year, a couple of years ..

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GEICO SportsNite: Huskies record 00:03:54
Geno Auriemma and his players reflect on their monumental winning streak, the night before they go for the all-time record.

DALLAS -- Eighteen players have taken the floor for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team during its current 90-game winning streak.

Only two -- juniors Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams -- have played in all 90 games.

Nurse and Williams were part of the Huskies' historic run to an unprecedented four consecutive national championships. Now they -- along with seniors Saniya Chong and Tierney Lawlor -- are going for a piece of history they can own.

Top-ranked UConn will go for a NCAA-record 91st consecutive win Saturday when it takes on SMU in an American Athletic Conference game at Moody Coliseum (SNY, 3 p.m.).

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The Connecticut Huskies celebrate their 90th win as they took on the South Florida Bulls at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)
The Connecticut Huskies celebrate their 90th win as they took on the South Florida Bulls at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)

STORRS, Conn. -- Geno Auriemma usually hates the comparisons that come up between his University of Connecticut women's basketball team and UCLA's legendary men's teams of the 1960s and 1970s.

Mention that Auriemma's Huskies have topped the Bruins' 88-game winning streak not once but twice? Say how Auriemma has won more national championships (11) than John Wooden? Just don't go there.

But maybe there's a UCLA comparison that Auriemma buys into.

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Guess the longest streaks... 00:02:01
Can you guess the longest winning streaks in sports?

HARTFORD, Conn. -- After winning the 2015 national championship game, Breanna Stewart said the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's loss to Stanford four months earlier was the best thing that happened to it.

The Cardinal's 88-86 overtime victory at Maples Pavilion on Nov. 17, 2014, ended a Huskies' 47-game winning streak. UConn has not lost since, matching its own NCAA mark with 90 straight wins with Tuesday night's 102-37 rout of American Athletic Conference foe South Florida.

The Huskies will look to establish a new record with win No. 91 Saturday when they take on SMU at Moody Coliseum in Dallas (SNY, 3 p.m.).

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Connecticut Huskies guard Gabby Williams blocks then shot of South Florida Bulls guard Laia Flores in the first half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)
Connecticut Huskies guard Gabby Williams blocks then shot of South Florida Bulls guard Laia Flores in the first half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Gabby Williams has a sore hamstring and two surgical scars on her knee.

So if the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior forward had decided to pull up and not crash into the South Florida bench saving the ball in the third quarter of Tuesday's game, no one would have faulted her. It also would not have mattered in the outcome as the Huskies already owned a 56-point lead.

But in her first two years, Williams had watched her elders, including All-Americans Breanna StewartMoriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck, make those kind of plays, and the Sparks, Nevada, native wants her younger teammates to be ready to do the same things when necessary.

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 (David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE)
(David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Tiffany Hayes had no doubts that the NCAA record 90-game winning streak that she was a part of during her career with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team would be broken.

The 2012 UConn graduate and guard for the WNBA's Atlanta Dream also had the perfect candidate to do it -- her alma mater.

"I did think someone would break it, and when I did I thought about keeping it in the family," Hayes said after watching the Huskies beat Central Florida at CFE Arena in Orlando on New Year's Day. "That is what's happening so I'm really happy about it. We took a lot of pride when we set the record and I hope this team is taking pride in what they're doing. What they're doing is great. And if they are going to do this, do it right."

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The Connecticut Huskies celebrate their ninetieth win as they took on the South Florida Bulls at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)
The Connecticut Huskies celebrate their ninetieth win as they took on the South Florida Bulls at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Geno Auriemma felt helpless. But the University of Connecticut women's basketball coach felt compelled to be helpful.

Shamoya McKenzie, a 13-year-old eighth grader, was a member of the Mount Vernon (New York) junior varsity girls basketball team with a dream of playing for UConn. While a passenger in a car on New Year's Eve, she was the unintentional target of a drive-by shooting and died after being struck in the head.

"I saw the writeup and the history of who she was and what she wanted to do with her life," Auriemma said Tuesday night following the Huskies' 102-37 win over South Florida at the XL Center. "I pretty much was driving down the road and I called Chris Dailey and I said, 'Here's what we're going to do.' And we did it. That's that."

Auriemma wrote a letter, and another letter honored McKenzie as an honorary member of the UConn team that included, "Once a Husky, Always a Husky." They also sent a No. 30 jersey, which was McKenzie's number.

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Auriemma talks 90th straight win 00:05:57
Geno Auriemma discusses his team as the UConn Huskies beat the UCF Knights, 102-37, for their record-tying 90th straight win.

Saniya Chong had scored 20 points in a game once in her career with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team before Tuesday night.

It came in the Huskies' only loss during her time in Storrs on Nov. 17, 2014, at Stanford.

The senior guard made sure her new career night was one she'll never forget and one the program will always remember.

Chong matched her highs of 20 points and eight assists Tuesday night as top-ranked UConn tied its own NCAA record with its 90th straight win, blasting No. 20 South Florida 102-37 in American Athletic Conference action before a crowd of 10,109 at the XL Center.

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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma huddles with top players guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson and forward Napheesa Collier during a timeout in their game against the UCF Knights at CFE Federal Credit Union Arena. (Phil Sears/USA Today Sports Images)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma huddles with top players guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson and forward Napheesa Collier during a timeout in their game against the UCF Knights at CFE Federal Credit Union Arena. (Phil Sears/USA Today Sports Images)

STORRS, Conn. -- It's one of those once-in-a-lifetime things that the University of Connecticut women's basketball team has the chance to do twice in less than a decade.

The top-ranked Huskies will try to match their own NCAA record 90-game winning streak Tuesday night when they host No. 20 South Florida in an American Athletic Conference contest at the XL Center in Hartford.

"It would be cool just to say that we did it, and it will be talked about for however long," UConn forward Gabby Williams said after practice Monday at the Werth Champions Center. "People still talk about UCLA's streak and about the UConn team before us that did it. It's cool just because our names are going to be remembered."

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 (David Butler II )
(David Butler II )

HARTFORD, Connecticut -- In winning 136 of its last 137 games, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team has charged onto the floor at the final buzzer four times.

It happened shortly before the Huskies cut down the nets at New Orleans Arena in 2013, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville in 2014, at Amalie Arena in Tampa in 2015 and at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis last April.

Being a victory away from matching its own NCAA record 90-game winning streak doesn't do much for UConn. After wrapping up a 90-45 rout of East Carolina in American Athletic Conference play Wednesday, the top-ranked Huskies jogged to their locker room at the XL Center with their mission accomplished, much like most other nights.

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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the bench during a game against the Maryland Terrapins at Xfinity Center. (Rafael Suanes)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the bench during a game against the Maryland Terrapins at Xfinity Center. (Rafael Suanes)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- On the morning of Feb. 1, 2003, Geno Auriemma visited "Krzyzewskiville" near Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium. His University of Connecticut women's basketball team had just wrapped up its shootaround, the final preparation for that night's game with No. 1 the Blue Devils and Duke's "Cameron Crazies" were already ready to go.

"I did say to a kid at the tent, 'You guys got to be nuts,' " Auriemma said. "He goes, 'We're smarter than you.' I said, 'How smart are you? You're living in a tent to go to a basketball game.' He goes, 'That's a $40,000 tent you're talking about.' "

Auriemma also jokingly questioned the quality of a Duke education as he said there were just as many Duke graduates as UConn graduates working as waiters only they worked at better restaurants. Fourteen years later, Louisville may have proved it wasn't so much of a joke.

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UConn Women's Win Streak 00:03:44
Gary Apple and Kara Wolters discuss the Huskies' current 88 game win streak and if they can break the record of 90 games.

HARTFORD, Conn. -- The loss to Stanford at Maples Pavilion was 779 days ago, but Wednesday night Kia Nurse recalled the feeling in the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's locker room like it was yesterday.

"Losing is a terrible feeling so you always remember it," Nurse said. "For me, personally, there were a lot of things I wanted to be better at. Everybody came out and said that and said there were things they needed to be better at. It was a wake-up call that it wasn't enough to put on the UConn jersey. You had to go out and perform and execute at a high level and do what's expected."

Nurse has started 88 of the Huskies' 89 games since, taking a reserve role for Senior Day 2015. UConn has not lost since.

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Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse attempts a jump shot in front of Maryland Terrapins guard Kristen Confroy at Xfinity Center. (Rafael Suanes/USA Today Sports Images)
Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse attempts a jump shot in front of Maryland Terrapins guard Kristen Confroy at Xfinity Center. (Rafael Suanes/USA Today Sports Images)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Kia Nurse's resume spoke for itself.

A two-time national champion. The 2015 Freshman of the Year. A 2016 all-league pick of the American Athletic Conference. A 2016 Olympian with Team Canada. The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior guard was the choice of AAC coaches as the league's preseason Player of the Year in October.

But in the opening two months of the regular season, Nurse has seen three Huskies selected as the AAC Player of the Week and she is not one of them. Sophomores Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier have been recognized twice apiece while junior Gabby Williams earned the first Player of the Week honor of her career Monday.

Meanwhile, all Nurse did in the Huskies' difficult December was play, perhaps, the best ball of her career.

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier and guard Saniya Chong celebrate a play against the Maryland Terrapins at Xfinity Center. (Rafael Suanes/USA Today Sports Images)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier and guard Saniya Chong celebrate a play against the Maryland Terrapins at Xfinity Center. (Rafael Suanes/USA Today Sports Images)

Napheesa Collier did a number of good things for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team on Sunday. The sophomore forward was 10-for-11 from the floor and scored 22 points in the top-ranked Huskies' 84-48 American Athletic Conference rout of Central Florida at CFE Arena.

That wasn't good enough for coach Geno Auriemma, though, who picked on one number -- the season-high four turnovers -- that Collier had to go with her career best five assists.

"She gets everybody involved, on our team, their team, everybody," Auriemma said. "She makes everyone feel good at the end of the game."

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UCF Knights assistant coach Nykesha Sales chats with Connecticut Huskies assistant coach Shea Ralph and associate head coach Chris Dailey and assistant coach Marisa Moseley before their game at CFE Federal Credit Union Arena. (Phil Sears)
UCF Knights assistant coach Nykesha Sales chats with Connecticut Huskies assistant coach Shea Ralph and associate head coach Chris Dailey and assistant coach Marisa Moseley before their game at CFE Federal Credit Union Arena. (Phil Sears)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Of the five starters and top two reserves on the 1995 national champion University of Connecticut women's basketball team, four went into coaching.

Two -- Jennifer Rizzotti and Jamelle Elliott -- were like coaches as players. Rizzotti is in her first season at George Washington University after a long run at Hartford while Elliott has been at Cincinnati since 2009. Carla Berube shocked coach Geno Auriemma when she entered coaching. She led Tufts University to the 2016 NCAA Division III final and reached the 100, 200, and 300-win plateaus faster than her Hall of Fame college coach.

But for Auriemma, the biggest surprise -- even bigger than Berube -- came last offseason when Nykesha Sales became an assistant to first-year Central Florida head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson.

"Nothing. There was not one thing I saw in Nykesha from the first time I met her that would lead me to believe that she would ever have any interest in coaching," Auriemma said with a smile Sunday. "It's still the most baffling phone call I got when she called and said she wanted to look into coaching. I thought she was kidding me.

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UConn Huskies win 88th straight 00:01:51
The UConn women's basketball team defeats UCF by the score of 84-48 for the team's 88th straight victory.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Gabby Williams was at the most wonderful place on Earth Sunday.

There were no 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5 players at CFE Arena for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior forward to defend.

"You have no idea," Williams said with a smile. "UCF was still really physical so it was still tough. But it is really nice when I don't have to jump around somebody."

Williams was her stat-sheet stuffing self Sunday, finishing with 15 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks before taking a well-deserved seat for the fourth quarter. Well before then, the top-ranked Huskies secured their 88th consecutive win as they ripped Central Florida 84-48 in their American Athletic Conference opener.

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Dec 29, 2016; College Park, MD, USA; The Connecticut Huskies bench reacts to a play against the Maryland Terrapins at Xfinity Center. (Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 29, 2016; College Park, MD, USA; The Connecticut Huskies bench reacts to a play against the Maryland Terrapins at Xfinity Center. (Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Coach Geno Auriemma's accomplishments with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team have earned him a spot in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

The list is long, starting with the 11 national championships, including six perfect seasons.

Veteran Maryland coach Brenda Frese, however, believes that Auriemma may be doing the best job of his career in this his 32nd year. But Frese, who coached the Terrapins to the 2006 NCAA title, also knows a coach's success is due to their players.  

Top-ranked UConn improved to 12-0 and pushed its winning streak to 87 by holding off No. 4 Maryland 87-81 at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland. Katie Lou Samuelson had 23 points as all five UConn starters reached double figures.

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 (Steven Branscombe)
(Steven Branscombe)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Perhaps the best prediction Geno Auriemma has made in his tenure as coach of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team came in March, 1991. Even though his Huskies were 0-2 in NCAA tournament play going into the 1991 event, Auriemma said that if UConn -- the No. 3 seed in the East Regional -- beat Toledo in its tourney opener, it would go on to the Final Four. And that's what happened.

But while it seems like he's been able to do little wrong, particularly in guiding the Huskies to 11 national championships, Auriemma isn't always right.

Last summer, he took a look at the non-league schedule the 2016-17 Huskies would face and predicted they would go 7-6 in it.

"That's what I thought, or 8-5 maybe," Auriemma said. "Maybe 10-3? I don't know, something. What do you want me to tell you? I don't have an answer for you. I wish I did."

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Saniya Chong, Carl Adamec
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Dec 21, 2016; Lincoln, NE, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma talks with his team during a break against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Connecticut defeated Nebraska 84-41. (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 21, 2016; Lincoln, NE, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma talks with his team during a break against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Connecticut defeated Nebraska 84-41. (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports)

Geno Auriemma could have spent his spring and summer lining up games with every directional and hyphenated school he could find in order to help his University of Connecticut women's basketball team break its own NCAA record 90-game winning streak.

Instead, the 13-game non-league schedule the Hall of Fame coach put together for his Huskies was designed to have them ready for postseason play in March and, they hope, April so they can make a run at another record -- an unprecedented fifth consecutive national championship.

"To play the teams we've been playing that all have different styles and strengths and weaknesses, it prepares you for what's ahead," UConn guard Kia Nurse said.

But if any team has been prepared to take on a top-five team on the road in front of a sellout crowd at the end of December, it's the Huskies.

Tags: University of Maryland, Carl Adamec
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Maryland Terrapins guard Chloe Pavlech (15) dribbles the ball during the second half against the Penn State Lady Lions at Bryce Jordan Center. (Matthew OHaren)
Maryland Terrapins guard Chloe Pavlech (15) dribbles the ball during the second half against the Penn State Lady Lions at Bryce Jordan Center. (Matthew OHaren)

STORRS, Conn. -- As the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's practice players ran offensive sets that the Huskies expect to see from Maryland on Thursday, one person who may know the Terrapins best stood on the sidelines.

Chloe Pavlech played in 107 games for Maryland from 2012 until her college career ended last March and helped the Terrapins make a pair of NCAA Final Four appearances. Her nine assists in the 2015 Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden a year ago Wednesday were the most against the Huskies during their 38-0 national championship season.

But as she serves an internship as a Program Specialist for the UConn Division of Athletics, Pavlech can only watch as the Huskies try to make more history. She'll be on the UConn bench at the Xfinity Center in College Park Thursday when the top-ranked Huskies put their 86-game winning streak on the line against No. 4 Maryland.

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Dec 21, 2016; Lincoln, NE, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Saniya Chong (12) dribbles against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena.  (Steven Branscombe (USA Today))
Dec 21, 2016; Lincoln, NE, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Saniya Chong (12) dribbles against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena. (Steven Branscombe (USA Today))

Saniya Chong could not have had worse timing.

Early in the third quarter of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's game at Notre Dame on Dec. 7, the senior guard took an inadvertent elbow to the face. She struggled to make her way to the bench but did manage to come back and play the final 1:41 of the Huskies' 72-61 win.

The after-effects hit when Chong got back on campus.

"The first couple of days it was like everything," Chong said Tuesday after practice at the Werth Champions Center. "My whole body hurt, I had headaches, there was pressure, my sight, I was sensitive to light … everything."

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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches action in the second half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena. (Steven Branscombe)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches action in the second half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena. (Steven Branscombe)

A short time after beating Nebraska at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln last Wednesday night, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team went its separate ways to enjoy the Christmas holiday.

What kind of team coach Geno Auriemma welcomes Monday when the top-ranked Huskies get back together to begin preparations for Thursday's showdown at No. 4 Maryland remains to be seen.

UConn (11-0) has been impressive in running its winning streak to 86, four shy of its own NCAA record. Six of the victories are against ranked opponents and include double-figure wins over the two teams placed ahead of the Huskies in the preseason Associated Press poll, Baylor and Notre Dame.

But if Auriemma didn't receive the "happy pills" he hoped for as a Christmas present following the Dec. 19 win over Ohio State, he may have had a flashback to six years ago when another UConn team was on a record run.

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Napheesa Collier (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)
Napheesa Collier (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)

If the schedule makers at the University of Connecticut had their way, this month's women's basketball games against Kansas State and Nebraska would have been played on one trip to the midwest. It takes less than three hours to drive from Manhattan, Kansas, to Lincoln, Nebraska.

It didn't work out. So nine days after taking a flight home from Kansas State, the Huskies were back on a plane Tuesday that carried them to Lincoln, Nebraska.

Napheesa Collier had no complaints.

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 (Courtesy of USA Basketball)
(Courtesy of USA Basketball)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Lexi Gordon's eyes were focused on the XL Center court from her seat behind the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's bench as the Huskies faced Ohio State Monday night.

But Gordon was also clearly looking ahead to next year, when she's part of the UConn roster. The 6-foot guard from Fort Worth, Texas, signed her letter of intent with the Huskies last month.

"I saw myself going out there and playing basketball and doing whatever Coach (Geno) Auriemma wants me to do to help make the team better," Gordon said following No. 1 UConn's 82-63 win. "It looks like they just love to play with each other and I know I'll love playing with them. It's such a great and fun environment to be a part of. I'm excited to be a part of it and I'm ready to be a part of it."

Gordon is one of four players in UConn's recruiting Class of 2017. It was her second UConn game in Connecticut. She attended the Huskies' win over Temple last Jan. 16 at Gampel Pavilion and announced her commitment to UConn a month later.

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Dec 19, 2016; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) reacts after a play against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second half at XL Center. UConn defeated Ohio State 82-63. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 19, 2016; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) reacts after a play against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second half at XL Center. UConn defeated Ohio State 82-63. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Katie Lou Samuelson took the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's first shot against Ohio State Monday night and one of the best 3-point shooters in the country threw up an airball from behind the arc.

"It was just an airball. I don't get too thrown off by that," Samuelson said. "It wasn't going to affect whether I keep shooting or not."

The Huskies' next shot was by Napheesa Collier, who is among the leaders nationally in field-goal percentage. She, too, found nothing but air on a 3-pointer.

"I can't explain it. I don't know what happened," Collier said. "It was horrible."

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Ohio State Buckeyes guard Kelsey Mitchell makes contact with Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse as she puts up a shot at Value City Arena. (Greg Bartram/USA Today Sports Images)
Ohio State Buckeyes guard Kelsey Mitchell makes contact with Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse as she puts up a shot at Value City Arena. (Greg Bartram/USA Today Sports Images)

STORRS, Conn. -- It was the one game of the young season the University of Connecticut women's basketball would like to forget, but should not.

After opening up with four games in nine days, the Huskies had a week off before playing Chattanooga on Nov. 29. While UConn picked up an easy 80-43 win, its energy and effort left a lot to be desired, and coach Geno Auriemma questioned its toughness.

"We came out against Chattanooga like they would just roll over and die," UConn forward Gabby Williams said Sunday. "The coaches have told us that teams won't lose to us, we have to beat them. We have to go in with that mentality Monday."

After playing four games in an 11-day span ending Dec. 11, the top-ranked Huskies had the rest of last week off for fall semester final exams. They return to action and the XL Center on Monday at 7 p.m. to take on No. 12 Ohio State knowing a repeat of what happened against the Mocs won't get the job done.

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UConn guard Saniya Chong (Melina Vastola/USA Today Sports Images)
UConn guard Saniya Chong (Melina Vastola/USA Today Sports Images)

STORRS, Conn. -- When Saniya Chong came out of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's Dec. 7 game at Notre Dame early in the second half from an inadvertent elbow to the face, the issue did not seem to be long term. The senior guard came back in for the final 1:41 of the 72-61 win.

But almost two weeks later, Chong is still dealing with concussion-like symptoms. She didn't make the trip to Kansas State for the Dec. 11 game, and UConn coach Geno Auriemma said Sunday that Chong will miss Monday's game against No. 12 Ohio State and is doubtful for Wednesday's game at Nebraska.

"She's doing some of the stuff you have to do, I guess, and it is just taking a really long time," Auriemma said. "She's not going to be ready for tomorrow night obviously and probably not Wednesday either. So, hopefully, by the time we get back from the holidays, hopefully she'll be ready to go."

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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma (L) talks to guards Crystall Dangerfield (5) and Kia Nurse (11) during a timeout against the Kansas State Wildcats at Fred Bramlage Coliseum. (Scott Sewell)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma (L) talks to guards Crystall Dangerfield (5) and Kia Nurse (11) during a timeout against the Kansas State Wildcats at Fred Bramlage Coliseum. (Scott Sewell)

It's not like the University of Connecticut women's basketball team hasn't been here before. It's more like the Huskies' are here almost all the time.

Top-ranked UConn's 75-58 victory over host Kansas State at sold-out Bramlage Coliseum Sunday improved its record to 9-0, the 18th time in the last 21 seasons it has opened with nine wins.

But what if the 3-point shot Florida State's Imani Wright took on Nov. 14 traveled a couple more inches and found net instead of hit the rim? The second-longest winning streak in NCAA history would have been over. The Huskies would have had a losing record - albeit is 0-1 - for the first time in 20 years. They would have had to face second-ranked Baylor needing a win to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in 23 years. Questions would have followed if they could possibly replace their Big Three of All-Americans Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, and Morgan Tuck.

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier (24) drives the ball against Baylor Bears forward/center Beatrice Mompremier (32) at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier (24) drives the ball against Baylor Bears forward/center Beatrice Mompremier (32) at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II)

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The next time Geno Auriemma considers scheduling a game in the Kansas/Kansas City vicinity for his University of Connecticut women's basketball team, maybe he should reconsider.

It's been a total pain in the neck for the Huskies.

The day before UConn's 2005 NCAA tournament Sweet 16 game against Stanford at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Ann Strother began having neck spasms. She had never had them before and didn't have them again in her college career. But Strother struggled and scored only four points as the Cardinal ended UConn's bid for four straight national championships.

Fast forward to Sunday. As Napheesa Collier warmed up for the top-ranked Huskies' contest with Kansas State, their first game in the Sunflower State, she started dealing with neck spasms for the first time in her life.

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Connecticut Huskies guard Katie Lou Samuelson shoots the ball past Kansas State Wildcats forward Peyton Williams at Fred Bramlage Coliseum. (Scott Sewell/USA Today Sports Images)
Connecticut Huskies guard Katie Lou Samuelson shoots the ball past Kansas State Wildcats forward Peyton Williams at Fred Bramlage Coliseum. (Scott Sewell/USA Today Sports Images)

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Katie Lou Samuelson could have imagined being home in California instead of the middle of the country when the University of Connecticut women's basketball team walked out for the opening tip of its game with Kansas State Sunday.

"When they were playing the music at the beginning, the ground was shaking," Samuelson said. "It was really cool."

A crowd of 12,528 filled Bramlage Coliseum with the top-ranked Huskies in town. But it would be Samuelson that would rock the building early against the Wildcats.

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

Gabby Williams is a veteran at dealing with pressure.

As a 15-year-old high school sophomore, she was competing in the high jump before 20,000 fans at the 2012 United States Olympic Trials held at the University of Oregon.

And while she's been a starter in a national championship game, just missing a double-double against Syracuse last April, and been part of a nucleus that has put together the second-longest winning streak in NCAA history, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior forward puts more pressure on herself than anyone else could, including her hall-of-fame coach. It's also a different pressure than her fellow starters - Saniya ChongKia NurseKatie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier - face.

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) warms up before the start of the game against the Duquesne Dukes in the second round of the 2016 women's NCAA Tournament at Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) warms up before the start of the game against the Duquesne Dukes in the second round of the 2016 women's NCAA Tournament at Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II)

Katie Lou Samuelson made her initial impact on the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's game at Notre Dame Wednesday night on the first possession, nailing a a three-pointer from in front of the Irish bench. It was her only trey for her and for the Huskies in the game.

But the sophomore guard was far from done being a force. Instead of her game being a sprint to the 3-point line, Samuelson ran a marathon, using movement to try and get free from the Notre Dame defenders.

Of her 16 shots from the floor, only four were from behind the arc. The others were drives to the basket or in the mid-range. It was the second-lowest percentage (25.0) of 3-point shots she's taken in the 44 games she's attempted at least one. The lowest was 22.2 percent (4 of 18) against Chattanooga on Nov. 29.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Lindsay Allen dribbles as Connecticut Huskies forward Napheesa Collier defends in the third quarter at the Purcell Pavilion. (Matt Cashore/USA Today Sports Images)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Lindsay Allen dribbles as Connecticut Huskies forward Napheesa Collier defends in the third quarter at the Purcell Pavilion. (Matt Cashore/USA Today Sports Images)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Geno Auriemma owns a restaurant at Mohegan Sun Arena but that doesn't mean he's always a gambler when he's guiding his University of Connecticut women's basketball team.

The Hall of Fame coach had seen an 11-point lead get away from the top-ranked Huskies and No. 2 Notre Dame was threatening to take control of their matchup late in the first half Wednesday night. Would Auriemma take a chance and put Napheesa Collier back in the game with two fouls? The sophomore forward had been on the bench since picking up her second offensive foul in eight minutes of the first quarter.

"In a game like this, the fouls are going to be there because it is a physical game," Auriemma said. "There were times I looked over at her and there were a couple of times just in turning I saw her mom and dad (Sarah and Gamal) sitting behind the bench and they were obviously disappointed. I could tell. I felt like saying, 'Yeah, you should see how I feel.'

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Dec 1, 2016; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as they take on the DePaul Blue Demons in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated DePaul 91-46.  (David Butler II (USA Today))
Dec 1, 2016; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as they take on the DePaul Blue Demons in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated DePaul 91-46. (David Butler II (USA Today))

Napheesa Collier couldn't wait to be a part of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's rivalry with Notre Dame.

So on a cold December morning two years ago, less than a month after signing her letter of intent with the Huskies, Collier and her mother, Sarah, made a five-hour drive here from their home in St. Peters, Missouri. They bought their own tickets and ended up in the next-to-last row atop Purcell Pavilion across from the UConn bench.

"It was crazy being there and watching my future teammates play," Collier recalled.

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Connecticut Huskies forward Katie Lou Samuelson celebrates during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at the Tucker Center (Tallahassee). (Melina Vastola/USA Today Sports Images)
Connecticut Huskies forward Katie Lou Samuelson celebrates during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at the Tucker Center (Tallahassee). (Melina Vastola/USA Today Sports Images)

Katie Lou Samuelson didn't need many words Sunday to describe the first 6:27 of her performance against Texas.

"Useless," she said.

However, the number of words she used was more than the combined points and rebounds the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's sophomore guard had in that time. She did, though, have three turnovers, two fouls -- including a Flagrant 1 upon review -- and one seat on the bench for the rest of the first half.

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier (24) drives the ball against Baylor Bears forward/center Beatrice Mompremier (32) at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier (24) drives the ball against Baylor Bears forward/center Beatrice Mompremier (32) at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II)

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team was given the No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press poll released Monday.

On Wednesday, the Huskies can earn it.

The Huskies (7-0) jumped over Notre Dame into the top spot in the AP poll, receiving 18 first-place votes to the Irish's 15 and edging Notre Dame by two points (809-807). Notre Dame had a six-point lead (803-797) in total points and a 16-14 advantage in first-place votes (South Carolina received three) a week ago.

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GEICO SportsNite: UConn women 00:00:24
The UConn Women's Basketball team toppled Texas 72-54, for its 82nd consecutive victory.

Napheesa Collier scored 24 points and No. 2 UConn won its 82nd consecutive game with a 72-54 victory over No. 14 Texas on Sunday in the annual Jimmy V Classic.

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

It's not like Kia Nurse hasn't scored 33 points in a game during her college days before.

On July 20, 2015, Nurse torched her University of Connecticut teammates Moriah Jefferson and Breanna Stewart and Team USA for 33 points to lead the Canada to its first Pan American Games gold medal.

The Huskies didn't need most or all of Nurse's UConn career high points against No. 15 DePaul Thursday night the way Team Canada did against the Americans during the Hamilton, Ontario, native's magical night at the old Maple Leafs Garden in Toronto. But the Huskies' junior guard needed the kind of performance she had in the 91-46 rout of the Blue Demons at Gampel Pavilion more than anything.

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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as they takes on the Baylor Bears at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as they takes on the Baylor Bears at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- The rain came down hard at times outside the XL Center Tuesday night.

Inside, it was coach Geno Auriemma pouring cold water on his University of Connecticut women's basketball team, which seemed to need a bit of a wake-up call.

The second-ranked Huskies made it 80 wins in a row by beating Chattanooga 80-43. But the energy and effort wasn't what the Hall of Fame coach wanted and the lack of fire seemed to permeate into the crowd of 6,090, which watched quietly for the most part.

"That's the world we live in today," Auriemma said. "We used to be different. We used to be special, somewhat. We're like everyone else now. Our guys play when they're in the mood. They get in a defensive stance when they feel like it. The second half they felt like it. The first half they didn't. Hall of Fame coach or not, they don't care."

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GEICO SportsNite: UConn WBB 00:00:45
The Lady Huskies improved to 5-0 on the season with a 80-43 win over Chattanooga, extending their winning streak to 80 games.

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Napheesa Collier missed her first shot Tuesday night.

It hardly set a tone for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's sophomore forward's performance.

Collier made her next 11 attempts for a career best in field goals and finished with a game-high 23 points as the second-ranked Huskies pushed their winning streak to 80 by defeating Chattanooga 80-43 at the XL Center.

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 (Jim Brown)
(Jim Brown)

Geno Auriemma was 24 years old when he accepted an invitation from Jim Foster to join his staff as an assistant coach with the Saint Joseph's University women's basketball team.

Thirty-eight years and 2,281 games as head coaches -- including seven against each other -- later, they are still crossing paths on the sidelines.

Who could have or would have guessed that 38 years ago?

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Louisiana State Tigers forward Ayana Mitchell fights for a rebound against Connecticut Huskies guard Molly Bent during their game at Maravich Assembly Center. (Stephen Lew/USA Today Sports Images)
Louisiana State Tigers forward Ayana Mitchell fights for a rebound against Connecticut Huskies guard Molly Bent during their game at Maravich Assembly Center. (Stephen Lew/USA Today Sports Images)

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team will likely be short-handed Tuesday night when it takes on Chattanooga at Hartford's XL Center.

Freshman Crystal Dangerfield is expected to miss the matchup with the Mocs as she goes through UConn's concussion protocol. Dangerfield has averaged nine points and 4.3 assists in 24.3 minutes off the bench for the second-ranked Huskies (4-0), who will go for their 80th consecutive win.

Without Dangerfield, freshman guard Molly Bent will get a long look from coach Geno Auriemma. Someone has to fill in those minutes, so why not the 5-foot-9 Centerville, Massachusetts, native?

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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)

Anaya Peoples could sit back and relax and look over the more than 30 scholarship offers the Schlarman Academy sophomore has already received.

But that's not how the 5-foot-10 guard from Danville, Illinois, does things and it's why she is considered one of the top recruits in the Class of 2019.

"I think that with each offer it just inspires me to get into the gym and work harder," Peoples said. "I really appreciate them. But I also know I have a long way to go and that I have to get better."

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Connecticut Huskies guard Gabby Williams (15) prepares to shoot the ball as Oregon State Beavers center Ruth Hamblin (44) defends during the third quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (Thomas J. Russo)
Connecticut Huskies guard Gabby Williams (15) prepares to shoot the ball as Oregon State Beavers center Ruth Hamblin (44) defends during the third quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (Thomas J. Russo)

STORRS, Conn. -- There are times when no one can stop Gabby Williams, you can only hope to contain her. But in the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's first three games, the player most effective in doing that was herself.

The junior forward picked up three fouls in the first 4:21 of the opener against Florida State, two fouls in the opening 4:15 against Baylor, and two fouls in a 23-second span late in the first quarter against LSU.

While she was in a fouling mood coming into Tuesday night's game with Dayton, she was all smiles afterwards. She didn't commit a foul in 26 minutes and recorded her 10th career double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds to go along with a career high five assists in No. 2 UConn's 98-65 victory over the Flyers at Gampel Pavilion.

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