Connecticut's Shabazz Napier, right, drives past South Florida's Toarlyn Fitzpatrick during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Storrs, Conn., Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

STORRS, Conn. -- There are players that are more athletic than Napier.

There are players that are better passers, better defenders and better rebounders at the guard position than Napier.

The question that needs to be asked however is if there is a better player than Napier.

In the Big East, that's hard to find.

Take what Napier did on Sunday at Gampel Pavilion in saving UConn against South Florida.

The Huskies scored 15 points in the first half, shot 29.7 percent from the floor in the game against the Bulls and found themselves in overtime.

That's when Napier did what he has done all season.

Napier hit three 3-pointers in overtime and scored 24 points as the Huskies (15-5, 5-3 Big East) knocked off South Florida 69-64 in overtime.

It was classic Napier with the big shots late. He scored 11 points in the overtime and 20 in the second half. When the game is on the line Napier has the ability to raise his level of play.

 

Connecticut's Shabazz Napier reacts after hitting a three-point basket late in his team's 69-64 overtime victory over South Florida in an NCAA college basketball game in Storrs, Conn., Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013. Napier scored a game-high 24 points in the victory. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

Napier's 3-pointers in overtime were all opportune. After missing a 25-footer to end regulation, Napier sunk the first 3-pointer to give the Huskies a 55-52 lead. He came back and on the fastbreak settled for another 3-pointer from the right wing, he was bumped after he shot it but knocked it down for a 58-52 UConn lead. Napier's last 3-pointer came with 1:39 left, knocking the shot down at the top of the key to give UConn a 61-54 lead and essentially seal the game.

“He just makes remarkable shots,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “He’s just got that belief in himself, that it’s a certainty, that he’s going to have confidence that it goes in. He’s committed to that shot and he’s going to knock it down.

“If he misses, he shakes it off...he’s not scared to fail, and that’s the great thing about him. He’s not scared to fail. From failure comes success, and he’s not scared to take that big shot in a big moment. Actually, I think he embraces it, which is crazy. But that’s what great players do. They embrace those situations. They live for those situations.

Napier likes to survey the landscape before hitting big shots late.

“I live for those moments,” Napier said. “I couldn't live with myself if I wasn't the guy taking those shots. I am always the guy who wants to take that last shot so I can' t blame nobody but myself.”

It's something Napier has been doing all season long for the surprising Huskies, 15-5 overall and 5-3 in the Big East. UConn, which has been treated as an afterthought because of the postseason bans, is closing in on another 20 win season with 10 games left. Napier is making a bid for first team all-conference and should be a Player of the Year candidate. That is, if the other coaches are paying attention.

Napier's play for the Huskies so far this season has been outstanding. He has improved all facets of his game from shooting to decision-making to even rebounding. He he is second on the team at 4.3 rebounds per game.

That efficiency is a far cry for the Napier of the previous two years.

Napier came to UConn as a flashy and brash point guard out of Roxbury, Mass. and scored 7.9 points per game on 37 percent shooting, 32 percent from 3-point range. Napier was a key player on the national championship squad and was expected to be the main cog on last year's loaded team that had two first round picks in Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond.

That didn't happen as dysfunction was the calling card of a disappointing campaign. Napier scored more  at 13.0 points a game, but it came on 38.9 percent shooting and 35 percent from 3-point range. He also had 94 turnovers on the season. A lot of the blame for UConn's struggles rested on Napier's shoulders.

Something has changed with Napier this year. The fury and explosiveness is still there, but he does it under control. This year, the 5-11 point guard is averaging 16.8 points on 45.1 percent shooting including a terrific 40.6 from 3-point range. He has only 32 turnovers in 20 games to go with 79 assists and has seemingly made every big shot the Huskies have wanted.

“Things I learned from freshman year and sophomore year,” Napier said. “I think my sophomore year biggest learning experience ever as a leader and as a player. Things that I didn't understand going into sophomore year I understand as a junior.”

Ollie sees the difference. No one has talked about Napier being a good player, conference player of the year worthy, and no one has talked about Napier's place nationally as one of the top point guards in the county.

Ollie won't get into all that, but he does think he has a great player on his hands.

“Best thing about Shabazz (Napier) is he expects more than I expect,” Ollie said. “That's what great players do. His expectations are greater than mine and that's what you do when you become a great player...he thinks he can make every shot. He's a wonderful shooter and when he lets it goes it looks so pretty.”

Much of the country was introduced to the untamed Napier of his freshman year that excited and shocked often in the same game. Last year's edition of Napier, the one that still sticks, is of a player who can't exactly run a team and is too content to fire away from long distance.

No one is watching Napier this year. The Huskies are of course banned from the postseason and with that comes the ignore from the national media. Napier, who is the face of a program that is being punished for academic failure, was honored before the game for having a 3.0 GPA.

“It means a lot to my mom and family,” Napier said of academic work. “My mom worked so hard when I was growing up. I wasn't a good kid, kind of a headache. For her to see that 3.0...I feel good; I do it for her.”

For some reason Napier's name hasn't been mentioned among the nations elite. It's perception and bias over results.

That's the rest of the country's loss.

The junior from Roxbury is putting together a virtuoso junior campaign and it's worthy of any other guard in the country.

Tags: Men's Basketball, UCONN

 (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 lent 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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GEICO SportsNite: UConn 00:00:59
UConn defeated Temple on Sunday, 113-57, to move to 18-0 on the season. Megan Walker and Crystal Dangerfield discussed the big victory.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Kia Nurse scored 24 points and freshman Megan Walker added a career-best 22 to help No. 1 UConn rout Temple 113-57 on Sunday.

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse
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