Kia Nurse has her 1,000 career points. But if there's something else the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior guard would like to add to her individual resume, it's a double-double.
She made a run at one Saturday in the top-ranked Huskies' 91-42 American Athletic Conference win over Houston at the XL Center in Hartford. Nurse finished with 16 points and eight assists before taking a seat for good with 4:35 left.
Her assists were spread out to six players -- Gabby Williams and Kyla Irwin two each, and Napheesa Collier, Katie Lou Samuelson, Saniya Chong, and Natalie Butler one apiece. Of course, Nurse knew where two more potential assists could have come from.
"One of them was a layup at the end that we missed and I'm not going to mention any names, Kyla," Nurse said with a laugh. "That would have been nine. The other one ..."
Just moments before her miss, Irwin ran the floor hard and was rewarded with a pass from Nurse for the layup. As Irwin headed back on defense, Nurse pointed at the freshman to recognize her effort.
"The pointing thing is something that I learned with the Canadian national team, because they would always point at me when I was the younger guy," Nurse said. "It's definitely a confidence boost. It's just kind of an acknowledgement, 'Great run,' because she ran the floor extremely well that play to score. Having that little acknowledgement and that confidence and having them come in and realize they can make a positive impact in some way is important for us."
Nurse's eight assists were one off her career-best set against South Florida as a freshman. It was the most assists she's had in a game without making a turnover. Her previous best was six against Robert Morris in the first round of the 2016 NCAA tournament.
The Hamilton, Ontario, native ranks fifth in the AAC in assists (4.3) and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (plus-2.50). She has had 23 assists since her last turnover early in the second quarter at SMU on Jan. 14, a stretch of 141 minutes on the floor.
"Assist-to-turnover ratio is something that's important to me and I put emphasis on as a goal for the season," Nurse said. "If I can find people in the right spots that will make them successful, that's great. And if I don't turn it over, I love that.
"A 2-to-1 ratio is good but if you want to strive for something it's 3-to-1 and that's what I should shoot for."
All-American Moriah Jefferson holds the UConn single-season school record for assist-to-turnover ratio at plus-3.08, set in 2015. Chong leads the AAC and nation in that category at plus-4.00.
WILLIAMS ON AAC HONOR ROLL
Williams, a two-time AAC Player of the Week, was named to the league's weekly honor roll Monday.
The junior forward averaged 17.5 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 7.5 assists in wins over East Carolina and Houston. Against the Pirates last Tuesday, she became the fifth UConn player to record a triple-double with 16 points, and career high matching 16 rebounds and 10 assists. She tied her career high of 19 points against Houston Saturday while also grabbing 10 rebounds.
The Sparks, Nevada, native is averaging a career best 12.6 points, and ranks in the AAC's top five with career bests in rebounds (fourth at 8.7), assists (fourth at 5.4), assist-to-turnover ratio (fifth at plus-2.10), and steals (third at 2.7). She is also third in field-goal percentage (55.4) and tied for seventh in blocked shots (1.2).
Tulane's Kolby Morgan was named AAC Player of the Week as the junior guard averaged 27.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in the Green Wave's wins over Tulsa and Cincinnati.
Joining Williams on the honor roll were Central Florida senior Zykira Lewis, Memphis junior Brea Elmore, South Florida sophomore Kitija Laksa, and Temple senior Feyonda Fitzgerald.
Tulsa guard Shug Dickson was the AAC Freshman of the Week for the second straight week.
UConn (20-0) maintained its position as the unanimous No. 1 team in the Associated Press poll released Monday. The Huskies have received every first-place vote for eight straight polls.
Baylor (21-1) and Maryland (21-1) were second and third while South Carolina (18-1) and Mississippi State (21-1) switched at spots four and five following the Gamecocks' win over the Bulldogs a week ago. Florida State (20-2), Notre Dame (20-3), Stanford (19-3), Louisville (20-4), and Washington (20-3) round out the top 10.
Syracuse (15-7) and Kentucky (15-6) entered the poll at No. 24 and No. 25 with Kansas State and Virginia Tech dropping out.
In the AAC, South Florida (17-3) moved up three spots to No. 20, while Temple (16-4) remained in the also receiving votes category those its point total dropped from 13 a week ago to three.
LIBERTY ADD HARTLEY
The UConn connection with the WNBA's New York Liberty grew stronger Monday.
Two-time All-American and national champion Bria Hartley was acquired by New York from the Washington Mystics in a three-team trade that also included the Seattle Storm.
The Liberty receive Hartley and center Kia Vaughn, a Rutgers graduate, while sending center Carolyn Swords to Seattle. Washington gets the No. 6 overall pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft from Seattle, and the Mystics and Storm will also swap 2017 second-round picks.
"Bria Hartley has enjoyed a great deal of success as a champion on a big stage at UConn, and will enhance our guard strength," Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer said in a statement. "Kia Vaughn will bring toughness and experience to our front court, and she is a consummate professional basketball player."
Hartley, a native North Babylon, New York, will join fellow former UConn players Tina Charles and Kiah Stokes with the Liberty.
The 24-year-old guard was a WBCA All-American in 2012 and 2014 and helped the Huskies to the 2013 and 2014 national championships. She is 10th on UConn's all-time scoring list (1,994) and sixth in assists (559). Hartley, Maya Moore, and Diana Taurasi are the only UConn players to finish their careers with 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, and 500 assists.
She was taken No. 7 overall by Seattle in the 2014 WNBA Draft and was sent to Washington in a draft day trade.
In 83 games with the Mystics over three seasons, Hartley averaged of 7.1 points and 2.4 assists. Last year, she averaged 6.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 24 games before leaving the team after announcing she was pregnant. She gave birth to a boy earlier this month.