UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Napheesa Collier's 3-point basket with 4:37 remaining Tuesday didn't get the crowd of 7,501 at Mohegan Sun Arena -- the second largest to see an American Athletic Conference tournament final -- out of its seats.
The fans knew that the top-seeded University of Connecticut women's basketball team was already well on its way to a 70-54 win over No. 2 South Florida and its fifth straight AAC crown. But what they didn't know was Collier's trey made some Huskies' history.
The basket put the junior forward over the 1,500-point plateau for her career and made her the fourth player on her team with to reach that total joining classmate Katie Lou Samuelson (1,638), and seniors Kia Nurse (1,615) and Gabby Williams (1,510 after scoring 19 on Tuesday). It's the first time in program history that UConn has had four active 1,500-point scorers.
"It shows what we've been able to do together," Samuelson said. "Playing together for as long as we have, we've learned each other's strengths and weaknesses. We know when and where to get each other the ball.
"It's really cool to know that because it shows how we share the ball and how we make it tough on defenses to match up with us. You never know who we'll get the ball to and who has the hot hand."
Collier finished with 12 points to put her total at 1,505.
The only time UConn has had as many as three active 1,500-point scorers was four years ago with Bria Hartley, Stefanie Dolson, and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.
Of note, Williams (453) and Nurse (430) rank 15th and 16th at UConn in assists while Samuelson became the 30th to reach 300 on Monday. Collier, who has 102 assists this season, is 15 away from matching her total from her first two years.
"The willingness to make the extra pass is something not many other teams have," Collier said. "We'll pass up a good shot for a great shot. We work hard to get people open and get them in places where they are most effective to score."
How does the one starter without 1,500 points feel?
She was all smiles, since she's the point guard often getting assists. Crystal Dangerfield knows she has a lot of weapons to go to.
"As a point guard, it's special," Dangerfield said. "It creates a team that can just go. There's no defense that should be able to slow us down. That's what makes a great team."
For those scoring at home, redshirt junior Azura Stevens has 1,410 career points, but 938 came during her two seasons at Duke.
SOMETHING IN RESERVE
Stevens, the AAC Sixth Man Award winner, returned to her role off the bench Tuesday after getting the start in place of the injured Williams Monday.
The Raleigh, North Carolina, native averaged 16.3 points on 63.9 percent shooting, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.0 blocked shots in 23.0 minutes in wins over Tulane, Cincinnati, and USF.
"Now is the perfect time for Z to be playing the way she's been playing," Williams said. "This is going to be a huge confidence booster for her and her momentum will be great."
The only other reserve UConn coach Geno Auriemma used Tuesday was freshman Megan Walker, who had a free throw in nine minutes of action.
"It's not the first time a reserve has earned the MOP of the league tournament for UConn.
In 2000, Tamika Williams came off the bench to average 13.3 points on 80 percent shooting in Big East wins over St. John's Boston College, and Rutgers at Gampel Pavilion.
Then in 2008, Charde Houston averaged 11.3 points on 64.0 percent shooting and 7 rebounds in Big East wins over DePaul, Pittsburgh, and Louisville at the XL Center in Hartford.
UConn became the second state team to earn an automatic NCAA bid.
Quinnipiac topped Marist on Monday to be the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference representative. The Bobcats of coach Tricia Fabbri made a run to the Sweet 16 a year ago as a No. 12 seed.
Hartford will try to make it a hat trick for the state Friday when it visits Maine in the America East Tournament final.
Former UHart coach and UConn player Jennifer Rizzotti is returning to the NCAA tournament with George Washington as the Colonials defeated Saint Joseph's Sunday for the Atlantic 10 tournament crown.
"I thought that is pretty cool that Jennifer is in the NCAA Tournament," Auriemma said. "They weren't the No. 1 seed. What was it, No. 5? For her to go there in two years, and she replaced a pretty good coach, is not easy to do.
"And for Trish, she's got it rolling. They are who they are now. They have kind of put themselves in a place where when kids go there it's not like, 'Do you think this league will get one bid, two bids? I don't know how many bids they will get, but Quinnipiac is going to be one of them.' Once you put yourself at that level, it's hard to do, but she's done it. I'm proud of them."
Sacred Heart of Fairfield is also still playing as the fourth-seeded Pioneers face Bryant in a Northeast Conference tournament quarterfinal Wednesday night. Central Connecticut State was eliminated by Robert Morris in the quarterfinals Wednesday.
Samuelson was named to the AAC all-tournament team for the third straight year. Only 12 UConn players have been named to a postseason all-tournament team in all four of their seasons, with the last being Breanna Stewart. The others are Kara Wolters, Asjha Jones, Swin Cash, Diana Taurasi, Ann Strother, Barbara Turner, Renee Montgomery, Maya Moore, Hartley, Dolson, and Mosqueda-Lewis. ... UConn Class of 2018 signees Christyn Williams (first team) and Olivia Nelson-Ododa (second team) have been named Naismith All-Americans ... The largest crowd for an AAC final was for the first in 2014 when 8,034 came out to see the Huskies and Louisville. The 2017 title game with UConn and USF drew 6,488.