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."
OK, so it wasn't perfect. But it was the kind of high-level performance that the Huskies have come to expect from Collier on a consistent basis.
The St. Peters, Missouri, native has scored in double figures in 10 straight games and ranks in the AAC's top 10 in scoring (third at 19.2), field-goal percentage (first, 64.4), rebounds (ninth, 7.6), steals (tie for ninth, two) and second in blocks (second, 1.7).
"I said to [assistant coach] Shea [Ralph] the kid amazes me the way she plays basketball," Auriemma said. "She's a machine. You just turn her on, and she just goes. And you get the same thing every day, every day, every day. It's remarkable the way she does things and it looks so effortless. It looks like she's not trying hard. She's a unique player. Not a lot of players from around the country play like Napheesa."
But Auriemma will also tell anyone that what Collier is doing is really hard.
"I don't know why it's looks easy to people, but that's something my parents have told me, too," Collier said before the Huskies (13-0, 1-0) go for their 89th consecutive win Wednesday against East Carolina at the XL Center (SNY, 7 p.m.). "I guess it's the way I've done it.
"I don't think I need to make it look harder. I know that I'm working hard. I guess it's a compliment if he thinks that it looks effortless. It's not easy."
Collier made her first four shots, missed a short jumper with 1:49 gone in the third quarter, and connected on her last six.
Against Chattanooga on Nov. 29, Collier was 11-for-12 from the floor -- missing her first try. Rebecca Lobo has the best shooting game in UConn history, going 11-for-11 against Iona on Dec. 23, 1994. The only players to go 10-for-10 are Breanna Stewart (vs. Creighton on Nov. 23, 2014) and current UCF assistant coach Nykesha Sales (at Notre Dame on Dec. 6, 1997).
Williams picks up AAC award
UConn junior forward Gabby Williams was named the AAC Player of the Week on Monday, the first such honor of her career. She was a three-time Freshman of the Week two years ago. In UConn's road wins over No. 4 Maryland and UCF, Williams averaged 15.5 points on 63.6-percent shooting from the floor, 7.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.5 steals and two blocks.
The Sparks, Nevada, native is averaging a career-best 11.2 points and ranks in the AAC's top 10 in field-goal percentage (seventh at 52.1), rebounds (sixth, 8.1), assists (fourth, 4.7), assist-to-turnover ratio (fourth, plus-1.6), steals (third, 2.7) and blocks (ninth, 1.6) in 13 games.
"Everyone can look back and be proud of something, including myself," Williams said Sunday of UConn's start to the season. "I'm glad that I'm in the position and the role that I am. But I still have a lot of things to build on."
Williams is the third Husky to capture the AAC weekly award this season, as sophomores Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson have been selected twice each. It's the eighth time overall, and third time in the four years of the AAC, UConn has had at least three different players chosen in a season in program history.
Three times, UConn has had four different players so honored: Svetlana Abrosimova, Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Shea Ralph by the Big East in 2000; Bird, Cash, Asjha Jones and Diana Taurasi by the Big East in 2002: Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Morgan Tuck by the AAC in 2015.
South Florida forward Tamara Henshaw, who had a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Stetson, was the AAC Freshman of the Week.
Still the 1
UConn was the unanimous selection as the No. 1 team for the fourth consecutive week in the Associated Press poll released Monday, receiving all 33-first-place votes.
Baylor (13-1) moved up one spot to second, 44 points behind the Huskies. Maryland (13-1), which suffered an 87-81 loss to UConn last Thursday, moved up one spot to third. Mississippi State (15-0) and South Carolina (11-1) each rose one place to round out the top five.
UConn owns wins over current top-25 teams Baylor, Maryland, No. 6 Florida State, seventh-ranked Notre Dame, No. 11 Ohio State, 15th-ranked Texas, No. 23 DePaul and 25th-ranked Kansas State.
South Florida (11-1) was the only other AAC team to receive votes and checked in at No. 22. The Bulls open league play Wednesday at Tulane, then host Tulsa on Saturday night before visiting UConn at the XL Center on Jan. 10. The Huskies will be the first ranked team they've faced.
UConn Class of 2017 signee Andra Espinoza-Hunter (5-foot-11 guard, Ossining, New York) was among those named as MaxPreps/WBCA High School Players of the Week announced Monday. According to Ossining's MaxPreps page, Espinoza-Hunter is averaging 41.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, three assists and 3.6 steals. She recently eclipsed the 2,000-point mark for her career, which started as a seventh grader at Ossining and includes the last three years at Blair Academy in New Jersey. ... Fellow Class of 2017 signee Mikayla Coombs (5-8 guard, Buford, Georgia), reached 1,000 points for her career on Dec. 21. ... Former UConn assistant coach Tonya Cardoza became the winningest coach in Temple history Sunday when the Owls beat Memphis in overtime. Cardoza broke a tie with her predecessor at Temple and her former college teammate at Virginia, Dawn Staley, and owns a 173-104 record in her ninth season.