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Kia Nurse

 (Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- The old saying that the best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores could not ring more true for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team.

While Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson were key contributors to the Huskies' 2016 national championship as rookies, they always knew that Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, and Morgan Tuck would be there to bail them out if needed. But the Big Three's graduation meant Collier's and Samuelson's days in the background were over if UConn was to remain among the elite.

Among the reasons the Huskies are one win away from their 10th straight NCAA Final Four appearance is the play of their sophomore sensations. They were rewarded for their efforts Monday by being named to the five-player Associated Press All-America first team...

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma (L) looks on from the sideline against the Southern Methodist Mustangs in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma (L) looks on from the sideline against the Southern Methodist Mustangs in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II)

STORRS, Conn. - Geno Auriemma has seen his University of Connecticut women's basketball team's name come up in 29 straight NCAA tournament selection shows.

So while many of the comments during the program may go in one ear and right out the other of the Hall of Fame coach, something ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said on the March 13 show got Auriemma's attention.

"They handle it and they embrace it. They're ones who think pressure is a privilege and that comes from Geno Auriemma," Bilas said. "I think they address it, don't act like they are above it, they address and attack it head on."
 

Tags: Gabby Williams, Kia Nurse, Carl Adamec
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 (Raymond Carlin III)
(Raymond Carlin III)

STORRS, Conn. -- Molly Bent was a 4.0 student in high school -- and is a Dean's List student here -- for a reason. While the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's freshman guard loves her sport, school was her priority.

So when that first Thursday of the men's NCAA tournament rolled around, Bent found herself in a classroom and not in her living room watching games.

"I always enjoyed going to school," Bent said Friday. "But on the weekend days my family made sure that we got everything done in the morning and then once noon hit we'd sit in front of the television and watch game after game after game. We'd fight over which game to watch. Every year we'd do tournament brackets, like ESPN, within our family. I'm in the lead right now, actually tied with my brother and dad. My strategy picking teams? Go with my gut."

Crystal Dangerfield was a member of the Honors Program at Blackman High in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. But when the college postseason came around in March and there was a game, she'd find a way to watch.

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Kyla Irwin, Molly Bent, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Feb 22, 2017; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) react after a play against the Temple Owls in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Feb 22, 2017; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) react after a play against the Temple Owls in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

Katie Lou Samuelson follows her own path, even when she's on the foul line.

While her older sisters, Bonnie are Karlie, are role models, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's sophomore guard approaches free throws in a way that's best for her.

"Bonnie, Karlie, and I have a similar shot routine," Samuelson said. "Karlie takes three dribbles and shoots. Bonnie would take three dribbles and spin it in the air and shoot it. I take three dribbles, spin it and let it drop, and shoot it. I chose mine when I was younger because I saw what they were doing and wanted to be different."

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Saniya Chong, Carl Adamec
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 (Steven Branscombe)
(Steven Branscombe)

After the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's win over South Florida on Jan. 10, coach Geno Auriemma compared what junior forward Gabby Williams does on the defensive side of the ball to what linebacker Lawrence Taylor did for the New York Football Giants during his NFL Hall of Fame career.

"Whatever play you're trying to run, it ain't going to happen," Auriemma said. "We switch a lot with her, so one minute she's guarding you and the other guys are like, 'I'm glad she's not guarding me.' Then two sequences later, she is guarding you.

"She is just so disruptive and creates so much so many ways, whether it is a deflection, a steal or some of the blocks that she had or a defensive rebound. She just makes plays that the average basketball player can't make. If you don't watch her play in person, you're really missing out on something special."

The coaches in the American Athletic Conference agreed...

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Saniya Chong, Carl Adamec
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 (Raymond Carlin III)
(Raymond Carlin III)

TAMPA, Fla. -- The University of Connecticut women's basketball team started the 2016-17 season at No. 3 in the Associated Press poll but moved up to the top spot by beating the teams -- Baylor and Notre Dame -- ahead of it.

The Huskies also began the season with no All-Americans nor any first- or second-team all-league players. That will change Thursday when the American Athletic Conference announces its All-Stars and it will change again later this month when national honors are released.

A 29-0 record has its benefits. Top-ranked UConn completed the ninth perfect regular season in program history Monday night by rolling past South Florida, 96-68, at the Sun Dome...

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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 (AP)
(AP)

Carl Adamec, SNY.TV:

STORRS, Conn. -- There will never be a 100-game winning streak (or whatever number the streak ends at) banner in Gampel Pavilion as long as Geno Auriemma is the University of Connecticut women's basketball coach.

While there was a championship feel Monday night following the Huskies' 100th consecutive win, no title was on the line. With March two weeks away, 100 percent of their attention is on continuing their championship reigns.

That's how you put up a banner at Gampel Pavilion. 

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Saniya Chong, Carl Adamec
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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

STORRS, Conn. -- Breanna Stewart was sitting maybe 20 feet away from where she would have been standing a year ago.

So close, yet so far.

The three-time national Player of the Year was part of the first 75 games of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's record winning streak. Monday night she was a spectator at Gampel Pavilion for the first time since her senior year of high school and she watched the top-ranked Huskies make it 100 in a row with a 66-55 win over No. 6 South Carolina.

"It was very important to me to be here," Stewart said. "If I was in the country, I was coming to this game...

Tags: Gabby Williams, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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 (David Butler II (USA Today))
(David Butler II (USA Today))

STORRS, Conn. -- Sometime next season, University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma should record his 1,000th career win. The top-ranked Huskies gave him No. 977 Sunday when they routed American Athletic Conference foe Tulsa, 96-50, at Gampel Pavilion.

Before his game, Auriemma reached out to fellow Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, who won his 1,000th game with the Syracuse men Saturday when the Orange defeated Virginia at the Carrier Dome (of note, 101 of Boeheim's wins have been vacated by the NCAA).

"I texted Jim and I said, 'That's a lot of wins.' And he goes, 'Yeah, you probably did that in 20 years.' I said, 'No, not quite, but almost,' " Auriemma said with a laugh...

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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 (Matt Cashore)
(Matt Cashore)

Kia Nurse has her 1,000 career points. But if there's something else the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior guard would like to add to her individual resume, it's a double-double.

She made a run at one Saturday in the top-ranked Huskies' 91-42 American Athletic Conference win over Houston at the XL Center in Hartford. Nurse finished with 16 points and eight assists before taking a seat for good with 4:35 left.

Her assists were spread out to six players -- Gabby Williams and Kyla Irwin two each, and Napheesa CollierKatie Lou SamuelsonSaniya Chong, and Natalie Butler one apiece. Of course, Nurse knew where two more potential assists could have come from.

"One of them was a layup at the end that we missed and I'm not going to mention any names, Kyla," Nurse said with a laugh. "That would have been nine. The other one ..."

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 (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports)
(Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports)

GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Kia Nurse knows only one way to play.

So after the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior guard sprinted to catch the lead pass that would lead to the layup that would give her 1,000 career points, she sprinted back on defense.

What else would anyone expect?

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Saniya Chong, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier, guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson and guard Gabby Williams cheer after a basket during the fourth quarter of the game against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Donald Reynolds Center. (Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier, guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson and guard Gabby Williams cheer after a basket during the fourth quarter of the game against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Donald Reynolds Center. (Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports)

STORRS, Conn. -- By the time the NCAA tournament rolls around in March, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team could have three members of the 1,000-point club in its starting lineup.

And while the Huskies have the top-two scorers in the American Athletic Conference in Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier and two more -- Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams -- in the top 25, what they have shown throughout the first two months of the season is that their best offense is good defense.

Top-ranked UConn forced Tulane into 26 turnovers Sunday and turned them into 31 points in its 100-56 rout of the Green Wave in AAC action at Gampel Pavilion.

"When we got out defensively, we put a lot of pressure on them, got a lot of steals, and translated that into offense," Nurse said. "That's an energy giver for everyone on the team. It's something we take a lot of pride in...

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Molly Bent, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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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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 (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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You've seen what the UCONN Women's Basketball team is like on the court, but what about off the court? SNY.tv's TV Timeouts provide an in-depth look at the players' personalities, hobbies, thoughts on Coach Auriemma and playing at UCONN.

Junior Kia Nurse is third on the team in points per game and is shooting over 91 percent from the free throw line. Get to know her better!

Video: UConn TV Timeout: Kia Nurse

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Mar 28, 2016; Bridgeport, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse (11) drives the ball against Texas Longhorns guard Celina Rodrigo (2) during the first half in the finals of the Bridgeport regional of the women's NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Mar 28, 2016; Bridgeport, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse (11) drives the ball against Texas Longhorns guard Celina Rodrigo (2) during the first half in the finals of the Bridgeport regional of the women's NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

STORRS, Conn. -- Bria Hartley had a glow about her Thursday night as she sat in the first row behind the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's bench Thursday night, and not just because she is pregnant with her first child.

The two-time Huskies' All-American and national champion and current WNBA Washington Mystics guard knew better than anyone how Crystal Dangerfield was feeling after the freshman torched No. 2 Baylor for 19 points in third-ranked UConn's 72-61 win at Gampel Pavilion.

On Nov. 16, 2010, UConn erased an eight-point second-half deficit and defeated Baylor 65-64 at the XL Center in Hartford. It was the Huskies' second victory over the Bears in eight months, No. 77 -- like Thursday night's -- and No. 80 of their NCAA-record 90-game winning streak. Then it was another freshman, Hartley, who playing in her second game at UConn led a late charge as she scored eight of her nine points in a 1:47 span with her 3-pointer with 2:09 to go giving the Huskies the lead for good.

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Gabby Williams, Kia Nurse, Kyla Irwin, Molly Bent, Carl Adamec
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 (Thomas J. Russo)
(Thomas J. Russo)

STORRS, Conn. -- When Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck headed for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's bench with 1:46 left in the NCAA final last April 5, they took with them 5,506 points, 2,129 rebounds and 1,369 assists.
 
Then there's that 151-5 four-year record and the unprecedented four consecutive national championships.

While the Huskies will still put five players on the floor that can score, rebound and pass when they open the 2016-17 season at No. 12 Florida State on Monday, no one will have the experience the Big Three took with them.

Tags: Kia Nurse, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse (11) drives to the basket against Tulane Green Wave guard Kolby Morgan (3) in the first half during the women's AAC Conference tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena. (David Butler II)
Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse (11) drives to the basket against Tulane Green Wave guard Kolby Morgan (3) in the first half during the women's AAC Conference tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena. (David Butler II)

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team has been ranked No. 1 in 46 of the last 58 Associated Press polls and not outside the top five since Jan. 26, 2007.With the three best seniors in the country from a year ago -- Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck now in the WNBA, the returning and new Huskies hope to carry on the tradition of excellence.That's not the only thing the four-time reigning national champions are carrying.

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Carl Adamec
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