The University of Connecticut women's basketball team did not add to the Huskies of Honor on the wall at Gampel Pavilion this season.
That will change -- for the next two years.
Junior Gabby Williams and sophomores Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson were named to the 10-player Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-America team on Saturday. Selection to the WBCA team qualifies a UConn player for the Huskies of Honor with the program traditionally inducting the player on their respective Senior Day.
Rounding out the WBCA squad are Baylor sophomore Kalani Brown, Ohio State junior Kelsey Mitchell, Washington seniors Chantel Osahor and Kesley Plum, Syracuse junior Alexis Peterson, Notre Dame junior Brianna Turner, and South Carolina junior A'ja Wilson.
Plum was awarded the Wade Trophy as the WBCA's Player of the Year.
Williams averaged career bests of 14.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.7 steals, and 1.4 blocked shots. The forward from Sparks, Nevada, shot 57.7 percent from the floor and recorded the fifth triple-double in Huskies' history against East Carolina on Jan. 24. She reached the 1,000-point plateau against Temple Feb. 22. Also on Saturday, she was named the WBCA NCAA Defensive Player of the Year. She is the second UConn player to win the honor, joining Stefanie Dolson (2014).
Collier led the American Athletic Conference in scoring (20.4), field-goal percentage (67.8), and blocked shots (2.1) while also ranking third in rebounds. The forward from St. Peters, Missouri, recorded 16 double-doubles and joined UConn's 1,000-point club last Monday in its win over Oregon when she was named the NCAA Bridgeport Regional Most Outstanding Player. She had a career high 39 points against South Florida on Feb. 27.
Samuelson averaged 20.2 points on 48.6 percent shooting from the floor, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists as she shared the AAC Player of the Year award with Collier. She reached 1,000 points on Feb. 27 against USF and on March 6 in the AAC Tournament final against the Bulls, set a NCAA record by going 10-for-10 from 3-point land in a career high 40-point performance that earned her Most Outstanding Player honors.
Collier and Samuelson are the first UConn teammates to average 20 points in the season and their selection marks the first time the Huskies have had two sophomores named to the WBCA squad. The other UConn sophomores to earn WBCA honors are Svetlana Abrosimova (1999), Diana Taurasi (2002), Maya Moore (2009), Bria Hartley (2012), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (2013), and Breanna Stewart (2014).
Earlier this week, Samuelson and Collier were named to the five-player Associated Press All-America and Wooden Award All-America first team while Williams was an AP second-team choice. All three were chosen to the 10-player United States Basketball Writers Association All-America team.
It is the fourth consecutive season the Huskies (36-1) have placed three players on the WBCA squad. Their season ended with a 66-64 overtime loss to Mississippi State Friday night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Bulldogs will face South Carolina in an all-Southeastern Conference national championship game Sunday.
Earlier Saturday, UConn's Geno Auriemma was named the winner of the Naismith Trophy as Coach of the Year, the eighth time he has been given the honor. In 32 seasons, he has led the Huskies to records of 11 national championships and 18 Final Four appearances. He is third all-time in wins (991) and his winning percentage of .880 is number one all time.
The UConn-Mississippi State national semifinal delivered a 1.9 overnight on ESPN2 and a total of 233,000 viewers streamed the game. The overnight peaked at an impressive 2.7 rating when the Bulldogs and Huskies were in overtime (midnight-12:15 a.m.) and Mississippi State's Morgan William hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer ... The following is a statement from June Courteau, the national coordinator of women's basketball officiating, on the flagrant 1 foul on Mississippi State's Dominique Dillingham in the final minute of overtime that led to Samuelson's two free throws that tied the game at 64 with 26.6 seconds left: "The game officials decided to review the unobserved foul within the time frame, which came at the UConn team timeout called with 27 seconds to play in overtime. After video review of the play it was determined that the Mississippi State player had made unnecessary contact with the UConn player, resulting in a flagrant foul which led to two shots by UConn and possession of the basketball."