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)

STORRS, Conn. -- 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.

"We all kind of have a chip on our shoulder," UConn sophomore guard Katie Lou Samuelson said Friday night. "There's been a lot said about how we are going to do without the three of them. People don't think we can do it, and I think everyone wants to prove that we are going to play together as a team, we are going to play the best we can, and we are going to go as far as we possibly can.

"I wouldn't say we're overlooked. I think we're always going to have that target on us. We know that target is on our back and for sure everyone wants to take us down. Everyone, whether they do it themselves or see other teams do it. We know that going into every game, and every practice we want to make sure that we work harder than every other team in the country because that's where it starts."

The Huskies opened practice Wednesday and had a great time at the annual First Night program at packed Gampel Pavilion Friday night. But on Saturday it was back to work at the Champions Center practice facility. UConn will put its 75-game winning streak on the line in the season opener at Florida State in just 30 days.

"Based on the first few days, the players that are back are what I would have hoped they would be," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "All of them in their own way, they all have something that they give every day. But they are generally a quiet group on the floor. There is really no really loud extroverts. There wasn't last year either, but last year they could have played with headphones on and we could have been undefeated and won the national championship.

"This year it is going to be a challenge in so many ways. They are going to have learn to be leaders. They are going to have to learn to be the go-to guys down the stretch. They are going to have to learn that they just can't give us their 20 minutes and go sit down and let the other three do it. They are going to have to be able to go 30 minutes, 35 minutes sometimes, and that is all going to be a different deal for them, one that takes awhile to get used to."

The good news for the Huskies as practice as opened is they are healthy. Samuelson is back from the broken left foot she suffered in the national semifinal game against Oregon State and junior guard Kia Nurse is back after offseason sports hernia surgery cost her much of Team Canada's pre-Olympic training camp. Sophomore forward Napheesa Collier and freshman guard Crystal Dangerfield are back after each had offseason hip surgery and freshman forward Kyla Irwin has recovered from a broken right hand.

The only player being held back is sophomore forward Batouly Camara, who had right shoulder surgery. But she is sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules after leaving Kentucky for UConn.

"Whether or not anybody has made a huge jump, we will know pretty quickly in November," Auriemma said. "But I'm not going to judge this team on what happens in November. The silliest thing we could talk about right now is, 'This team is a definite for the Final Four. This team is a definite for the national championship.' Or, 'At the end of November, we're going to know whether we're good enough to be at the Final Four at the end.' They're not worth talking about.

"We could have a losing record at the end of November and still turn out to be one of the best teams in the country come March. We could win every game in November and fall apart down the stretch because a lot of these guys haven't been in this situation in March. Everything is wait and see. That's the way I look at coaching this year."

After Florida State, the Huskies host Baylor, which is expected to be ranked in the top five in the preseason. They then visit LSU before closing out November with home games against Dayton and Chattanooga. Their seven-game December schedule has them playing games against 2016 NCAA tournament qualifiers DePaul, Texas, Notre Dame, Kansas State, Ohio State and Maryland.

Over the last 10 seasons, UConn is 57-1 in November (the only loss being at Stanford two seasons ago) and 58-2 in December (losses at Stanford in 2010 and at Baylor in 2011).


Recruiting Report
While waiting for No. 1-ranked high school senior Megan Walker to make her college choice -- she is considering UConn, Notre Dame and Texas -- the Huskies are welcoming some younger talent this weekend.

Charli Collier (6-foot-4 junior forward, Baytown, Texas) took in First Night on Friday. Rated No. 7 in her class by ESPN HoopGurlz and No. 1 by Prospects Nation, Collier released a list of 12 finalists this summer -- UConn, Baylor, Duke, Houston, Louisville, Notre Dame, Ohio State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA and USC. She is on campus for the first time but took in the Huskies' game at Houston last January.

As a sophomore, Collier averaged 24.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots to lead Barbers Hill High to a 27-8 record and the Texas Class 5A regional semifinals. She reached the 1,000-point plateau. She represented her country for the first time this year, averaging 5.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 7.7 minutes per game for the United States squad that won the bronze medal at the FIBA U-17 world championships in Zaragoza, Spain, June 22-July 2.

Collier's teammate with the U-17 team, Samantha Brunelle, was expected to arrive on campus Saturday for an unofficial visit and it is also her first time here. The 6-2 sophomore forward from Ruckersville, Virginia, is the consensus No. 1 player in the Class of 2019.

Brunelle averaged 25 points and 17.3 rebounds as a freshman in leading William Monroe High to a 20-6 record and the Conference 28 and district titles. One of four players from the Class of 2019 to be invited to the U-17 trials in Colorado Springs by USA Basketball and the youngest player to make the club, Brunelle averaged 2.0 points and 1.0 rebounds in 4.2 minutes for the bronze-medal winning Americans at the world championships.

Also in attendance at First Night were UConn Class of 2017 commit Andra Espinoza-Hunter (5-foot-11 guard, Ossining, New York), U-17 national team finalist Aliyah Boston (6-foot-3 sophomore forward from Worcester (Massachusetts) Academy, Anaya Peoples (5-foot-10 sophomore guard, Danville, Illinois), and Aubrey Griffin (5-foot-11 sophomore guard, Ossining, New York).

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Carl Adamec

Feb 18, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Napheesa Collier (24) shoots against Temple Owls guard Tanaya Atkinson (22) in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Feb 18, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Napheesa Collier (24) shoots against Temple Owls guard Tanaya Atkinson (22) in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

The official Twitter account of Louisiana Tech women's basketball touts the program as No. 2 in all-time wins nationally.

The Lady Techsters may have to make a change soon.

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- A moment of silence was held prior to the start of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's game with Temple Sunday to remember the victims of last Wednesday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

UConn All-American Gabby Williams was among those with her head bowed paying tribute. The tragedy hit home for the Sparks, Nevada, native as on Oct. 21, 2013, during her senior year at Reed High, a school shooting at Sparks Middle School left two people, including the 12-year-old perpetrator, dead and two others injured.

"It did happen minutes from my house, obviously not to the same extent, but it is just kind of like enough is enough, and when is something going to change," Williams said following the top-ranked Huskies' 106-45 win. "It hits home because I'm going to have kids who go to school one day and I have little siblings in high school so it definitely hits home."

Tags: Gabby Williams, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson reacts after a play against the Temple Owls in the first half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson reacts after a play against the Temple Owls in the first half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Katie Lou Samuelson has this habit -- not one of her best, she admits -- of when she drives to the basket and feels contact, she calls out, "And one," looking for a foul call.

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior All-American's aggressive approach has developed since she first arrived here but she has taken her attack mode to another level in the last month even as she deals with an injured left ankle. It's one of the reasons that the buzz around her national Player of the Year candidacy continues to grow.

Samuelson's aggressiveness was rewarded Sunday as she completed a trio of the old-fashioned three-point plays to go along with four of her specialty, the 3-point shot. Her 27 points paced six players in double figures as No. 1 UConn routed Temple 106-45 in American Athletic Conference action before 13,110 at XL Center.

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GEICO SportsNite: UConn 00:00:29
The UConn Huskies took on the East Carolina Pirates on the road and earned a narrow 84-80 victory, spurred by Jalen Adams' 26 points.

Connecticut put together one of its best offensive performances of the season. The Huskies needed it, because East Carolina's Isaac Fleming came up with another triple-double.

UConn beat the Pirates 84-80 on Sunday despite the do-it-all ECU guard.

Jalen Adams scored 26 points, Terry Larrier added 20 points and Christian Vital finished with 16 to help the Huskies (13-14, 6-8 American Athletic Conference) snap a two-game losing streak.

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Feb 10, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Crystal Dangerfield (5) reacts after her backhanded pass to guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) for the basket against the Wichita State Shockers in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Feb 10, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Crystal Dangerfield (5) reacts after her backhanded pass to guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) for the basket against the Wichita State Shockers in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

STORRS, Conn. -- Ten of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's 11 national championship campaigns included winning at least a share of its league's regular season title.

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Geno on the most overused terms 00:08:07
UConn women's basketball head coach Geno Auriemma discusses what he believes the most overused terms are while coaching basketball.

On the Clock: Geno and Justine 00:02:09
SNY's Justine Ward chats with UConn head coach Geno Auriemma about offbeat happenings in the world of sports.

SNY's Justine Ward chats with UConn head coach Geno Auriemma about offbeat happenings in the world of sports.

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GEICO SportsNite: UConn loses 00:00:56
UConn's Christian Vital had a solid day earning himself a double-double, but the Huskies fell to Tulsa, 73-71, on Thursday night.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Sterling Taplin scored a career-high 30 points and Tulsa beat UConn 73-71, sweeping the season series from the Huskies.

Junior Etou had 15 points and DaQuan Jefferies added 14 for Tulsa (15-10, 8-5), which extended its winning streak to four on Thursday night.

Christian Vital had 13 of his 20 points in the first half for UConn (12-14, 5-8) when the Huskies built up a 12-point lead. The Huskies, who have lost five of their last six, led 40-31 at intermission.

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Feb 12, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Napheesa Collier (24) drives to the basket against the Louisville Cardinals in the first half at Gampel Pavilion. Connecticut defeated Louisville 69-58. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Feb 12, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Napheesa Collier (24) drives to the basket against the Louisville Cardinals in the first half at Gampel Pavilion. Connecticut defeated Louisville 69-58. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

STORRS, Conn. -- Yes, the University of Connecticut and Louisville women's basketball teams played three times in 2014 as members of the American Athletic Conference.

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SNY recently aired "Best of the Best: UConn Women's Top 10" that had the following ranking of the top members of the UConn Women's Basketball team:

  • 10: Moriah Jefferson
  • 9: Kerry Bascom
  • 8: Nykesha Sales
  • 7: Jen Rizzotti
  • 6: Tina Charles
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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson reacts after a play against the Louisville Cardinals in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson reacts after a play against the Louisville Cardinals in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

STORRS, Conn. -- Whether Katie Lou Samuelson can make a stretch run towards becoming the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's next national Player of the Year while dealing with her injured left ankle remains to be seen.

But it's hard to find many players around the country who are playing better than the Huskies' All-American guard is right now.

Samuelson gave UConn 40 minutes Monday night and scored 26 points as the top-ranked Huskies topped No. 4 Louisville before an announced sellout crowd of 10,167 at Gampel Pavilion.

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GEICO SportsNite: UConn 00:00:51
The UConn women's basketball team defeated Louisville, 69-58, on Monday night to improve to 25-0 on the season.

Katie Lou Samuelson scored 26 points and top-ranked UConn used an early run to beat No. 4 Louisville 69-58 on Monday night.

Napheesa Collier added 14 points and Gabby Williams had 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Huskies (25-0), who won their 76th consecutive home game and ended Louisville's 13-game road winning streak.

Louisville (25-2) scored the first three points and UConn rattled of 19 straight.

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Connecticut Huskies associate coach Chris Dailey reacts during Senior Day before the start of the game against the Tulane Green Wave at Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies associate coach Chris Dailey reacts during Senior Day before the start of the game against the Tulane Green Wave at Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

STORRS, Conn. -- The Geno Auriemma-coached 2000 United States U-18 national team was scrimmaging at Colorado College when Duke University-bound Alana Beard finished a stunning drive to the basket.

Auriemma blew his whistle and turned to where his assistant at the University of Connecticut, Chris Dailey, and Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt and her assistant, Mickie DeMoss, were seated in the small gym. They were watching as Team USA's roster included UConn-bound Diana Taurasi and Ashley Battle, and Tennessee-bound Ashley Robinson and Loree Moore.

He then looked over to Summitt and said: "Chris Dailey and Mickie DeMoss should be fired for not recruiting Alana Beard." Summitt nodded her head in agreement. They didn't get fired, though DeMoss did move on to other jobs. But this June they'll be together again in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Dailey, the Huskies' associate head coach, is one of seven people who will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame as part of its Class of 2018, it was announced Monday night. She will be the fifth UConn representative in the WBHOF joining Auriemma (Class of 2006) and former players Rebecca Lobo (Class of 2010), Jennifer Rizzotti (Class of 2013) and Kara Wolters (Class of 2017).

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Feb 4, 2018; Syracuse, NY, USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Jeff Walz reacts to a play against the Syracuse Orange during the second half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Feb 4, 2018; Syracuse, NY, USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Jeff Walz reacts to a play against the Syracuse Orange during the second half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

For nine seasons, they faced off in February, March, or even April.

But when Louisville left the American Athletic Conference for the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014, its women's basketball rivalry with the University of Connecticut that saw the teams play 16 times -- including two national championship games and three league tournament finals -- in those nine seasons went with it.

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GEICO SportsNite: UConn loses 00:00:50
UConn fell to Witchita State, 95-74, on Saturday despite 22 points from Jalen Adams and Christian Vital.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) Landry Shamet scored 16 points in just 23 minutes as No. 22 Wichita State cruised to a 95-74 win over UConn on Saturday night.

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Feb 10, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) reacts after a basket and foul against guard Kia Nurse (11) as they take on the Wichita State Shockers in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Feb 10, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) reacts after a basket and foul against guard Kia Nurse (11) as they take on the Wichita State Shockers in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Katie Lou Samuelson will let her game speak for her.

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Nov 29, 2017; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Christian Vital (1) reacts after play against the Columbia Lions in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Nov 29, 2017; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Christian Vital (1) reacts after play against the Columbia Lions in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

It hasn't been a typical season for Connecticut. The Huskies have struggled to stay above .500 and are now dealing with an NCAA inquiry.

UConn will try to stay focused on the court when it travels to take on No. 22 Wichita State on Saturday in an American Athletic Conference rematch.

The NCAA inquiry into the program's recruiting was made public in late January. UConn athletic director David Benedict says the university is fully cooperating.

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UConn beats Witchita State 00:02:29
The UConn women's basketball team defeated Witchita State, 124-43, on Saturday behind Katie Lou Samuelson's 22 points.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Napheesa Collier scored 26 points and Katie Lou Samuelson added 22 points to lead UConn to a 124-43 rout of Wichita State on Saturday in the first meeting between the two programs.

The 124 points was two shy of the program record, which was set against Providence in 1998.

Gabby Williams added 17 points, Azura Stevens 16 and Kia Nurse 14 for the Huskies (24-0, 12-0 American), who won their 75th straight home game, the third longest home winning streak in NCAA history.

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Connecticut's Napheesa Collier (24), Katie Lou Samuelson (33), Azura Stevens (23) and Kia Nurse (11), UConn's starters, cheer for their teammates at the end of an NCAA college basketball game against Memphis Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Hartford, Conn. UConn won, 97-49. (AP Photo/Stephen Dunn)  (Stephen Dunn/AP)
Connecticut's Napheesa Collier (24), Katie Lou Samuelson (33), Azura Stevens (23) and Kia Nurse (11), UConn's starters, cheer for their teammates at the end of an NCAA college basketball game against Memphis Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Hartford, Conn. UConn won, 97-49. (AP Photo/Stephen Dunn) (Stephen Dunn/AP)

In order to beat the University of Connecticut women's basketball team, you have to play them. Central Florida gets to do it as a member of the American Athletic Conference.

"Every time we play them, I think our team understands them more," UCF second-year coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said following the Knights' 55-37 loss to the Huskies at CFE Arena in Orlando Wednesday night.

AAC newcomer Wichita State will get its first experience against No. 1 UConn Saturdaywhen the Huskies open a three-game homestand against the Shockers at the XL Center in Hartford (SNY, 1 p.m.). UConn has won 86 consecutive games against first-time opponents dating back to a loss to Georgia at Gampel Pavilion on Jan. 15, 1996.

Tags: Azura Stevens, Crystal Dangerfield, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Carl Adamec
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 (Reinhold Matay)
(Reinhold Matay)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Ezi Magbegor is only 18 and already a world traveler thanks to her basketball abilities. But the Australian standout is about to get her first look at UConn Nation.

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UConn Huskies remain undefeated 00:01:58
Gary Apple and Kara Wolters break down the highlights from the UConn women's basketball team's 55-37 win over UCF on Wednesday night.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Katie Lou Samuelson passes up 80-degree weather about as often as she passes up an open 3-point shot.

But the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior All-American and resident California girl was content to trade a warm winter night here for a wintry day in New England if it meant not getting on another plane for almost two weeks.

The top-ranked Huskies wrapped up another trip Wednesday night as Samuelson had 19 points, six rebounds, and five assists in a 55-37 American Athletic Conference win over Central Florida before an announced pro-UConn crowd of 6,155 at CFE Arena. They then headed home where winter and the first three-game homestand of the season awaits.

 

Tags: Azura Stevens, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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GEICO SportsNite UConn men 00:00:34
The UConn men's basketball team defeated USF, 68-65, at home on Wednesday night to improve to 12-12 on the season.

Jalen Adams scored 19 points and dished out six assists and UConn held on to defeat USF, 68-65, on Wednesday night at Gampel Pavilion to snap a three-game losing streak.

Terry Larrier and Christian Vital added 15 points apiece for the Huskies, who had dropped five of their last six overall.

Stephan Jiggets led USF with 18 points while Isaiah Manderson scored 15 and pulled down eight rebounds. >> Box score

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Gabby Williams has a unique way of filling a stat sheet, but has never been concerned about her numbers.

The All-American senior forward does make one exception and that's for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's win total. She has been part of 134 of them heading into Wednesday's American Athletic Conference contest against Central Florida at CFE Arena (SNY, 7 p.m.).

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On the Clock w/ Geno and Justine 00:02:06
SNY's Justine Ward chats with UConn head coach Geno Auriemma about the off-beat things going on in the world of sports.

SNY's Justine Ward chats with UConn head coach Geno Auriemma about the off-beat things going on in the world of sports.

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Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse reacts after her basket against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse reacts after her basket against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- For the first time in program history, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team began a season with four 1,000-point scorers.

They didn't do it on their own.

Seniors Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams and juniors Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson have combined for 5,736 points as Huskies. The foursome tacked on 79 to their total Sunday as No. 1 UConn rolled past Cincinnati 106-65 in American Athletic Conference action before 12,342 at XL Center. They also combined for 23 of the Huskies' 32 assists. Williams reached the 400-assist plateau Sunday, three days after Nurse got there against South Carolina.

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UConn beats Cincinnati, 106-65 00:02:49
UConn defeated Cincinnati, 106-65, on Sunday behind Napheesa Collier's 25 points.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Napheesa Collier says she's proud of the fact that UConn never plays down to the level of its opposition.

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier reacts with guard Gabby Williams after a play against the UCF Knights in the second half of the semifinals during the women's AAC Conference Tournament at Mohegun Sun Arena. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier reacts with guard Gabby Williams after a play against the UCF Knights in the second half of the semifinals during the women's AAC Conference Tournament at Mohegun Sun Arena. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Katie Lou Samuelson made her first and only shot, a layup, when the University of Connecticut women's basketball team beat South Carolina at Colonial Life Arena her freshman year.

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GEICO SportsNite: UConn 00:00:53
UConn men's basketball saw great performances from Jalen Adams and Christian Vital, but the Huskies fell short against Cincinnati.

STORRS, Conn. (AP) Jacob Evans III scored 19 points to lead No. 8 Cincinnati to its 14th straight win, 65-57 over a struggling UConn team.

Kyle Washington added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Bearcats (21-2, 10-0 American), who never trailed.

Jalen Adams scored 20 points and Christian Vital added 18 for the Huskies, who have lost five of their last six to fall below the .500 mark at 11-12 (4-6) American.

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Jan 16, 2018; Memphis, TN, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Jalen Adams (4) goes to the basket against Memphis Tigers guard Jeremiah Martin (3) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports (Justin Ford)
Jan 16, 2018; Memphis, TN, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Jalen Adams (4) goes to the basket against Memphis Tigers guard Jeremiah Martin (3) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports (Justin Ford)

You can count one of the program's former rival coaches among those thinking Cincinnati can be a real factor come NCAA Tournament time.

"I think they've got an outstanding team that could get to the Final Four depending on who they play, the health, and if they bring their 'A' game," former Xavier coach and current CBS Sports Network radio analyst Pete Gillen told the Cincinnati Enquirer this week.

"You need a player that can make a big shot down the stretch," Gillen said. "I think Jacob Evans can do that. Gary Clark can do that. Usually those last games tend to be low-scoring. Coaches get a little conservative. You need guys that can put it on the deck and create. That, and great defense. Defense travels on the road and in your tournaments."

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 (Jonathan Dyer)
(Jonathan Dyer)

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- There are times that Kia Nurse makes 3-point shots look like layups.

But how the senior guard looks on layups has UConn coach Geno Auriemma wanting to pull some of his hair out.

"Kia explodes to the basket but the ball comes off her hand like at her palm," Auriemma said Thursday night. "I'm like, 'You're on the (Canadian) Olympic team and that's how you shoot layups?' "

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier
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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier reacts with guard Gabby Williams after a play against the UCF Knights in the second half of the semifinals during the women's AAC Conference Tournament at Mohegun Sun Arena. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier reacts with guard Gabby Williams after a play against the UCF Knights in the second half of the semifinals during the women's AAC Conference Tournament at Mohegun Sun Arena. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Gabby Williams was looking forward to returning to Colonial Life Arena.

Having played here two years ago as a sophomore, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's senior All-American was confident she and her fellow upperclassmen with experience here could handle anything reigning national champion South Carolina and a sellout crowd of 18,000 could throw at them.

It proved to be even easier than she imagined...

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier
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Huskies roll South Carolina 00:00:55
The UConn Huskies rolled to an 83-58 victory over rival South Carolina, as Kia Nurse led the way for the victors with a 23-point effort.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Kia Nurse scored 23 points and Katie Lou Samuelson added 20 as No. 1 UConn powered past defending national champ South Carolina 83-58 on Thursday night.

The Huskies opened things up early to lead 53-24 at the half on their way to a 21-0 start for the fourth time in five seasons. They extended their NCAA mark with their 48th straight road win and, if anyone needed more evidence, marked themselves the clear favorite for another NCAA title.

No. 7 South Carolina (18-4) fell to 0-6 all-time against UConn and 0-15 in program history against No. 1 teams.

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- On Jan. 3, 1998, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team was welcomed by 24,597 orange-clad fans to Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. The 84-69 loss to Tennessee marks the only time in program history the Huskies have played the reigning national champion on the road.

That will change.

A crowd of 18,000 is expected here Thursday night as 2017 national champion and No. 7 South Carolina entertains top-ranked UConn for a non-league showdown at Colonial Life Arena.

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Jan 28, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Christian Vital (1) reacts after receiving a technical foul during the second half against the Temple Owls at Liacouras Center. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Derik Hamilton)
Jan 28, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Christian Vital (1) reacts after receiving a technical foul during the second half against the Temple Owls at Liacouras Center. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Derik Hamilton)

B.J. Taylor scored 20 points and UCF pulled away in the second half to defeat UConn, 70-61, on Wednesday night at CFE Federal Credit Union Arena in Orlando.

Dayon Griffin added 12 points and eight rebounds while A.J. Davis and Chad Brown contributed 10 points apiece.

Terry Larrier scored a team-high 15 points and Jalen Adams added 11 for UConn, which has dropped four of its last five games. >> Box score

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Auriemma on body language 00:06:15
UConn head coach Geno Auriemma discusses how much of an impact positive and negative body language can have throughout the course of a game.

UConn Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma compares the team's media attention now to when he first became a head coach in 1985.


Auriemma on the media 00:02:00
UConn Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma compares the team's media attention now to when he first became a head coach in 1985.

UConn head coach Geno Auriemma discusses how much of an impact positive and negative body language can have throughout the course of a game.


Dec 31, 2017; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Megan Walker (3) reacts after scoring against the Memphis Lady Tigers in the second half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports  (David Butler II)
Dec 31, 2017; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Megan Walker (3) reacts after scoring against the Memphis Lady Tigers in the second half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

Megan Walker had the best seven-day stretch of her young career with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team and she was rewarded for it on Monday.

Walker was named the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Week for the first time. In league wins over Memphis and Tulane she averaged 11.5 points and 3.5 rebounds.

Her week-long surge actually began on Jan. 21 when she had a season-high 22 points to go with six rebounds and five assists over 32 minutes in a 113-57 win at Temple. She then had 10 points and six rebounds in the 93-36 victory at Memphis last Wednesday. Then on Saturday against Tulane at Gampel Pavilion, she had 13 points and two assists in a 98-45 triumph...

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GEICO SportsNite: UConn loses 00:00:50
The UConn men's basketball team continued their struggles Sunday night, falling to Temple, 85-57.

Shizz Alston Jr. scored 18 points, Quinton Rose had 17 and Temple rolled to an 85-57 win over UConn on Sunday night.

Christian Vital finished with 15 points for the Huskies, who were playing for the first time since it was revealed their program is the target of an NCAA investigation.

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Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse after the game against the Memphis Lady Tigers at Elma Roane Field House. (Justin Ford/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse after the game against the Memphis Lady Tigers at Elma Roane Field House. (Justin Ford/USA TODAY Sports)

STORRS, Conn. -- The University of Connecticut women's basketball team shot a near-school record 72.2 percent from the floor Saturday in its 98-45 American Athletic Conference win over Tulane at Gampel Pavilion.

But the Huskies were even better when it came to being represented Thursday at "3.0 night" during halftime of the UConn-SMU men's game. Nine players on the 12-player roster (75 percent) were among the 361 student-athletes honored by UConn's Division of Athletics.

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Jan 27, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Tulane Green Wave guard Kolby Morgan (3) drives the ball against Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse (11) in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Jan 27, 2018; Storrs, CT, USA; Tulane Green Wave guard Kolby Morgan (3) drives the ball against Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse (11) in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

STORRS, Conn. -- When the University of Connecticut women's basketball team struggled with Tulane a season ago in New Orleans, Kia Nurse was on the Huskies' bench sitting out with an ankle injury.

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Jan 3, 2018; Greenville, NC, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) goes to the basket past East Carolina Pirates forward Dominique Claytor (23) during the first half at Minges Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Jan 3, 2018; Greenville, NC, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Katie Lou Samuelson (33) goes to the basket past East Carolina Pirates forward Dominique Claytor (23) during the first half at Minges Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

STORRS, Conn. (AP) Katie Lou Samuelson scored 15 of her 19 points in the first half to lead UConn to a 98-45 rout of Tulane on Saturday and a 20-0 start to the season for the 11th time in program history.

Kia Nurse scored 14 for the Huskies (9-0 American Athletic Conference) and tied a career high with seven rebounds.

UConn had six players in double figures for the sixth time this season.

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Feb 18, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Gabby Williams (15) grands a rebound over Tulane Green Wave guard Shakira Harding (1) at Devlin Fieldhouse. The Huskies won 63-60. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen Lew)
Feb 18, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Gabby Williams (15) grands a rebound over Tulane Green Wave guard Shakira Harding (1) at Devlin Fieldhouse. The Huskies won 63-60. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen Lew)

STORRS, Conn. -  Gabby Williams could laugh at the irony.

Tags: Azura Stevens, Crystal Dangerfield, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier
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Connecticut Huskies head coach Kevin Ollie yells towards his players during the second half of the game against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at the Reynolds Center. (Brett Rojo/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Kevin Ollie yells towards his players during the second half of the game against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at the Reynolds Center. (Brett Rojo/USA TODAY Sports)

The University of Connecticut confirms it is the target of an NCAA investigation into its men's basketball program.

University President Susan Herbst, in a statement released Friday morning, says the school is committed to "a culture of compliance" and intends to fully cooperate with the investigation in a "thorough and transparent manner."

 

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Jan 16, 2018; Memphis, TN, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Jalen Adams (4) goes to the basket against Memphis Tigers guard Jeremiah Martin (3) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports (Justin Ford)
Jan 16, 2018; Memphis, TN, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Jalen Adams (4) goes to the basket against Memphis Tigers guard Jeremiah Martin (3) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports (Justin Ford)

STORRS, Conn. (AP) Christian Vital scored 20 points and Jalen Adams added 18 to lead UConn to a 63-52 win over SMU on Thursday night.

Josh Carlton added a season-high 12 rebounds for the Huskies (11-9, 4-3), who used a 19-4 second-half run to secure much-needed conference win after losing back-to-back games by at least 20 points.

Shake Milton scored 18 points and Jimmy Whitt had 14 for SMU, (14-7, 4-4) which was coming off wins over No. 17 Wichita State and Tulane.

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Auriemma on transfer players 00:02:37
Geno Auriemma discusses players who transfer and the circumstances that can lead to those players transferring in college basketball.

Geno Auriemma discusses players who transfer and the circumstances that can lead to those players transferring in college basketball.


UConn defeats Memphis, 93-36 00:02:00
Highlights from UConn's decisive 93-36 victory over Memphis on Wednesday.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Napheesa Collier scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and top-ranked Connecticut routed Memphis 93-36 Wednesday to remain undefeated.

UConn (19-0, 8-0 American Athletic Conference) trailed only briefly in the opening minutes before beating Memphis for the ninth time overall and second time this season.

The Huskies routed Memphis 97-49 when the Tigers visited Dec. 31. The venue changed, but not the final result with UConn winning in a more smothering fashion despite coach Geno Auriemma pulling all but one starter in the third quarter. The Huskies held Memphis to fewer points in each of the first three quarters.

Tags: Azura Stevens, Crystal Dangerfield, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier
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 (Erich Schlegel)
(Erich Schlegel)

The opening minute of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's game at Temple Sunday seemed more like the 41st minute of Thursday's game against Tulsa as the Owls scored the first six points.

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Carl Adamec
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Dec 31, 2017; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Megan Walker (3) reacts after scoring against the Memphis Lady Tigers in the second half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports  (David Butler II)
Dec 31, 2017; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Megan Walker (3) reacts after scoring against the Memphis Lady Tigers in the second half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

PHILADELPHIA -- Megan Walker was in the middle of the action Sunday after a talk with her coach Geno Auriemma Saturday.

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's freshman wing had season highs of 22 points and five assists along with six rebounds in a season high 32 minutes Sunday as the top-ranked Huskies ripped Temple 113-57 in American Athletic Conference action at McGonigle Hall.

"Talking with coach was really important," Walker said. "We talked about expecting more from ourselves, and how we needed to be more engaged. We needed someone to step up and rebound and hit more shots." With Katie Lou Samuelson out (left ankle) and Gabby Williams (hip) and Crystal Dangerfield (shin splints) less than 100 percent, Walker was first off the bench and got the call from Auriemma midway through the first quarter.

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Connecticut Huskies forward Gabby Williams shoots the ball with Temple Owls guard Emani Mayo defending during the first half at The Liacouras Center. (Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies forward Gabby Williams shoots the ball with Temple Owls guard Emani Mayo defending during the first half at The Liacouras Center. (Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports)

PHILADELPHIA -- Gabby Williams looked like her All-American self on Sunday, though she's hardly feeling like herself.

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's senior forward is dealing with a hip issue ("It's called a psoas," Williams said. "It leads to the hip flexor and it's enflamed and swollen.") at a tough time. The Huskies were coming off a rough outing with Tulsa on Thursday night and Williams aggravated the injury when she blocked a shot by the Golden Hurricane's Rebecca Lescay with 1:02 left. She walked to the bench in pain.

But that's the kind of thing she'll be dealing with the next two months as her college career winds down. As tough as she has to be physically, she must be as tough mentally.

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