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Napheesa Collier

 (AP)
(AP)

Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams have been part of two losses in three seasons with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team.

The seniors will get the chance to avenge at least one of them.

UConn will play Stanford in its season opener on Nov. 12 in the Countdown to Columbus event to be played at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The Huskies were originally scheduled to take on Ohio State in the one-day showcase at the site of the 2018 NCAA Final Four. But the Buckeyes will now face Louisville in the second game of the doubleheader. Times and television information are still to be determined.

The Huskies lead the overall series with the Cardinal 10-7, including 4-2 in NCAA tournament play. But in the last meeting at Maples Pavilion on Nov. 17, 2014, Stanford received a late 3-pointer from Amber Orrange to force overtime and pulled out an 88-86 victory to snap UConn's 47-game winning streak. The Huskies followed the defeat in Palo Alto by winning their next 111 games. That NCAA record run was stopped by Mississippi State in the Final Four semifinals last March 31 in Dallas.

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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 (Jeffrey Swinger)
(Jeffrey Swinger)

In their first game as a starting backcourt, they combined for a pedestrian 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's 36-point victory over Villanova at Gampel Pavilion.

Who knew on Feb. 4, 2001, that Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi would go on to be the best their sport has seen? Their then-college coach and later their coach for seven years with the United States national team had an idea.

"I have always said from back in 2002 that they'd be the best backcourt in the history of women's basketball -- college basketball, pro basketball, any kind of basketball -- and I said time will prove that," Geno Auriemma said last month. "It certainly has. You'll never find something like that ever again. It's too improbable for it to happen again. Those two are pretty special. There's nothing to compare them to. There really isn't."

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Dan Rolfes looked forward to having the chance to watch his former player, Napheesa Collier, and the University of Connecticut women's basketball team play.

But throughout the 6-foot-1 forward's All-American sophomore season he kept having flashbacks to their time at Incarnate Word Academy in St. Louis when the Rolfes-coached Red Knights captured three straight Missouri Class 4A state championships.

"It's so amazing," Rolfes said during a break in the United States U-16 national team trials in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he served as a court coach. "I'd sit there and watch with my assistants and it's so much like Incarnate Word with the high-percentage shots, a lot of times defending the post because of her size, being able to guard a guard or guard a post. What I saw this year was what I saw at Incarnate.

Tags: Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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 (Bill Streicher (USA Today))
(Bill Streicher (USA Today))

DALLAS -- Napheesa Collier will be 21-years-old on Sept. 23.

Her coaches and teammates with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team may not be aware of the exact date. But there are 12 WNBA general managers that are. Since her 22nd birthday is during the 2018 calendar year, Collier will be eligible to enter the 2018 WNBA Draft.

But before Husky Nation begins to panic, the All-America forward said Thursday she has no plans to move on until her eligibility is done in 2019.

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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 (Phil Sears/USA Today Sports Images)
(Phil Sears/USA Today Sports Images)

DALLAS -- It was a 45-second video, but it made the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's day.

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant sent his best wishes via video and through Nike this week to the Huskies, who take on Mississippi State in a NCAA Final Four semifinal game Friday night at American Airlines Center.

"It was obviously really exciting and he's the GOAT so anytime you can have the GOAT talk to you it's a great day," UConn guard Kia Nurse said. "He had a goal to win and that's what he was known for. So you look at someone of his caliber and the career that he had, that he took time out of his day to sit down and send us a video we are very grateful."

Stanford, which like UConn is affiliated with Nike, also received a video from Bryant. The Cardinal face South Carolina in the opener of Friday night's doubleheader.

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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. (Raymond Carlin III/USA Today Sports Images)
. (Raymond Carlin III/USA Today Sports Images)

BRIDGEPORT -- Saniya Chong was celebrating with her University of Connecticut women's basketball teammates Monday night after their 90-52 win over Oregon in the NCAA tournament Bridgeport Regional final at Webster Bank Arena.

The senior guard then heard her name announced over the public address system and could not figure out why. So she turned to classmate Tierney Lawlor to find out why.

Lawlor -- the Dean's List student she is -- of course, had the answer. Chong had been selected to the regional all-tournament team, the first such honor of her career...

Tags: Gabby Williams, Napheesa Collier, Saniya Chong, Tierney Lawlor, Carl Adamec
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 (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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 (Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports)
(Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports)

There has been talk throughout the season that Geno Auriemma has done his best job of coaching the University of Connecticut women's basketball team in this his 32nd year. Considering the Hall of Fame coach has led the Huskies to a record 11 national championships and is the game's all-time leader in winning percentage, that's saying something about what UConn has done so far this season.

The Women's Basketball Coaches Association has noticed and on Thursday it named Auriemma as its 2017 Coach of the Year. He will be presented with the Pat Summitt Trophy, named for the late legendary University of Tennessee coach, during the 2017 WBCA Convention to be held in conjunction with the NCAA Final Four in Dallas.

"Geno continues to raise the standard of excellence in the coaching profession," WBCA executive director Danielle Donehew said in a statement. He is a teacher of the game, and the development of his student-athletes both on and off the court this season has been remarkable, a masterpiece. Geno is very deserving of the WBCA's highest praise for the coaching profession, as confirmed by the vote from his respective peers."

The top-seeded Huskies (34-0 and winners of 109 straight games) will continue their bid for a fifth consecutive national championship Saturday when they take on No. 4 UCLA in a NCAA Bridgeport Regional semifinal game at Webster Bank Arena...

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the American Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals at Mohegan Sun Arena, Saturday, March 4, 2017, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) (Jessica Hill/AP)
during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the American Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals at Mohegan Sun Arena, Saturday, March 4, 2017, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) (Jessica Hill/AP)

STORRS, Conn. -- Gabby Williams got position in the lane and Saniya Chong delivered the pass right on time.

Williams turned to her left and took a a dribble to get away from Syracuse's Briana Day, and converted the left-handed layup over Day with 4:35 gone in the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's NCAA tournament Bridgeport Regional second-round game Monday night.

Since the pass did not directly lead to the basket, Chong was not credited with an assist. It was the only Huskies hoop without an assist attached to it in the first three quarters. Top-seeded UConn finished with 30 assists on 33 baskets in its 94-64 rout of No. 8 Syracuse at Gampel Pavilion.

"Take a minute to think about that," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "It's just unusual to do what we did and we do it quite often. That's why we can have performances like we had today because our ball movement was incredible.

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Saniya Chong, Carl Adamec
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 (Steven Branscombe (USA Today))
(Steven Branscombe (USA Today))

STORRS, Conn. -- Senior Saniya Chong was ready to charge the court as if the University of Connecticut women's basketball team had won another national championship.

Chong's classmate, Tierney Lawlor, appeared to have an opening for a 3-point shot as time wound down on the top-seeded Huskies' 94-64 rout of No. 8 Syracuse in a NCAA tournament Bridgeport Regional second-round game at Gampel Pavilion Monday night. But the Ansonia native, who is 0-for-8 from the floor this season, passed it up.

"I wanted to run out there and scream in T's face, 'Why didn't you shoot that?' " Chong said with a smile.

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Saniya Chong, Tierney Lawlor, 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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 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- The Big East was in its fourth season when Geno Auriemma became the coach of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team in 1985.

The following March, the league sent two teams to the NCAA tournament for the first time.

The American Athletic Conference finished its fourth season Monday night and the Huskies remained perfect in league play (82-0) in that span. Top-seeded UConn capped off its latest run by rolling past No. 3 South Florida 100-44 in the AAC tournament final at Mohegan Sun Arena...

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson and guard/forward Napheesa Collier cheer from the bench during the second half against the SMU Mustangs at Moody Coliseum. (Raymond Carlin III/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson and guard/forward Napheesa Collier cheer from the bench during the second half against the SMU Mustangs at Moody Coliseum. (Raymond Carlin III/USA TODAY Sports)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson joined the University of Connecticut women's basketball team in part to be part of history.

The Huskies' sophomores made some history of their own Friday.

Collier and Samuelson were named the American Athletic Conference Co-Players of the Year at a press conference at Mohegan Sun Arena, site of the fourth annual AAC tournament. It is the first time that a UConn player, let alone a pair of Huskies, has shared the top league honor.

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, 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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Feb 22, 2017; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Gabby Williams (15) reacts after a basket by guard/forward Napheesa Collier (24) 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 Gabby Williams (15) reacts after a basket by guard/forward Napheesa Collier (24) against the Temple Owls in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

HARTFORD, Conn. - Gabby Williams couldn't recall whether she scored 1,000 points in her injury-shortened scholastic career at Reed High in Sparks, Nevada.

When the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior forward reached the plateau with 3:35 left in the third quarter of top-ranked UConn's 90-45 win over No. 23 Temple at the XL Center Wednesday night, she wasn't aware of the milestone even though teammate Napheesa Collier knew exactly what was going on.

"I had no idea," Williams said. "Pheesa was trying to tell me on the court and I had no idea what she was saying. They told me when I went and sat on the bench."

Williams finished with 15 points and her career total stands at 1,003. She is the 43rd member of the 1,000-point club.

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, 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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 (Scott Sewell)
(Scott Sewell)

There was one preseason poll in October that had the University of Connecticut women's basketball team on top. The American Athletic Conference coaches were unanimous in making the Huskies the favorite to win a fourth consecutive league regular season title.

There was hope among the coaches, though, that maybe the gap had closed between UConn -- which was 63-0 in AAC play at the start of the season -- and the best of the rest. South Florida and Temple were expected to give UConn its toughest challenges.

But in a two-week span, the top-ranked Huskies were up to those challenges -- at least the first time around. UConn buried the Bulls by 65 points at the XL Center in Hartford on Jan. 10. Then Wednesday night, the Huskies took a 34-point halftime lead and coasted to a 97-69 win over the Owls at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia...

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, 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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 (Rafael Suanes)
(Rafael Suanes)

Geno Auriemma still gets a chuckle when he hears or reads that the only reason his University of Connecticut women's basketball team wins as much as it does is because he gets all the best players.

So when the Huskies' coach was asked after Tuesday's 98-58 victory over host Tulsa at the Reynolds Center about UConn Class of 2017 recruits Megan Walker (6-foot-1 wing, Chesterfield, Virginia) and Mikayla Coombs (5-8 guard, Buford Georgia) being chosen to play in the McDonald's All-American Game, he acted surprised.

"That means 22 of them aren't coming? I mean, we're used to getting 20 out of the 24," Auriemma said in full sarcasm. "This year we're only getting two. Maybe we should be like everyone else and bemoan the fact that we don't have good players and somebody else has got them all."

The two 12-team rosters for the McDonald's Game were announced on Sunday. Walker and Coombs will be teammates with the East squad at the United Center in Chicago on March 29.

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, 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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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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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.

Napheesa Collier is averaging 19.4 points per game this season, right up there with Katie Lou Samuelson. Get to know Napheesa better!

Video: UConn TV Timeout: Napheesa Collier

Tags: Napheesa Collier
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