(Jeffrey Swinger)
(Jeffrey Swinger)

In their first game as a starting backcourt, they combined for a pedestrian 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's 36-point victory over Villanova at Gampel Pavilion.

Who knew on Feb. 4, 2001, that Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi would go on to be the best their sport has seen? Their then-college coach and later their coach for seven years with the United States national team had an idea.

"I have always said from back in 2002 that they'd be the best backcourt in the history of women's basketball -- college basketball, pro basketball, any kind of basketball -- and I said time will prove that," Geno Auriemma said last month. "It certainly has. You'll never find something like that ever again. It's too improbable for it to happen again. Those two are pretty special. There's nothing to compare them to. There really isn't."

Bird and Taurasi started 51 of the next 55 games together for the Huskies before Bird graduated in 2002 and moved on to the WNBA's Seattle Storm as the No. 1 pick in the draft. Taurasi was the top pick in the 2004 draft by the Phoenix Mercury. Both won national championships in their final college game.

As Team USA members, they have started every game but one in the last three Olympics and last three FIBA world championships except one when Bird missed the 2016 Olympic semifinal with France due to a knee injury. They have won four Olympic gold medals together. No one has more.



The pair will get together one more time as Bird and the Phoenix Mercury's Taurasi were named the starting guards for the Western Conference in the WNBA All-Star Game to be played July 22 at KeyArena in Seattle.

In total, five UConn graduates were named as starters by the WNBA Tuesday.

Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx will join Taurasi and Bird in the West lineup. Tina Charles of the New York Liberty and Tiffany Hayes of the Atlanta Dream will start for the East.

The other East starters are Jasmine Thomas and Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun and the Washington Mystics' Elena Delle Donne. The other two starters for the West are Minnesota's Sylvia Fowles and Los Angeles' Candace Parker. The reserves will be announced next Tuesday.

Bird will be making her 10th All-Star appearance, matching the WNBA record of former Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings, and eighth start. She is averaging 10.5 points and a league-leading 6.7 assists per game.

Taurasi, who is averaging 18.1 points and 2.7 assists, is an All-Star for the eighth time, all as a starter.

In the 52 games they started together at UConn, the Huskies went 51-1 with the only loss being to Notre Dame in the 2001 Final Four semifinals. In the 47 games they started together in Olympic or world championship play, Team USA went 46-1 with the only loss being to Russia in the 2006 world championships semifinals.

On June 18, Taurasi passed Tina Thompson to become the WNBA all-time leading scorer. On June 1, she became the league's all-time leader in 3-point baskets when she passed Katie Smith.

"I'm incredibly proud of her as a friend and even as an opponent," Bird said when the Storm visited Mohegan Sun Arena on June 29. "If anyone deserves something like that, it's D. Not only is she an amazing player but she put the work in. For a long time it was an inevitable thing. We knew she would break the scoring record at some point. Now she can keep playing and put it out of reach."

Bird, meanwhile, is just 88 assists away from passing Ticha Penicheiro and becoming the WNBA's leader in that category.

"When it comes to a milestone like that you're talking about a full career," Bird said. "It speaks to longevity. It speaks to consistency. For assists, it speaks to my teammates who put the ball in the basket when I get it to them. In 10 years, 20 years when I look back if I do break the record, it will be something that I'll be proud of."

Moore received the most votes from the fans (32,866). Fans accounted for 50 percent of the vote to determine the starters for the All-Star Game while current players and a media panel accounted for 25 percent each.

It will be Moore's fifth All-Star Game appearance. She is averaging 15.4 points and 5.5 rebounds and was the Most Valuable Player the last time the game was played in 2015. There was no game a year ago due to the Olympics.

Charles, who is second in the league in scoring (20.8) and third in rebounds (9.1) is also an All-Star for the fifth time and is a starter for the first time.

Hayes will be making her first All-Star Game appearance as she picked up the most votes among East guards from all three voting groups. The sixth-year pro is averaging career bests of 16.6 points, 4.5 assists, and 1.7 steals.

Minnesota's Cheryl Reeve will coach the West and New York's Bill Laimbeer will guide the East. The Lynx and Liberty finished with the best regular-season records in their respective conferences in 2016.

FOUR HUSKIES TO ATTEND U-23 TRIALS

UConn All-Americans Gabby Williams, Napheesa Collier, and Katie Lou Samuelson, along with Azura Stevens, are headed to Colorado Springs for USA Basketball's U-23 national team trials July 31-Aug. 4.

The four also know where they'll be headed once the trials are over -- back to Storrs to join their UConn teammates for practice prior to the Huskies' trip to Italy.

They will not be part of the 12-member team that will represent the United States in the inaugural U-23 Four Nations Tournament to be held Aug. 12-25 in Tokyo, Japan.

The experience and competition at the United States Olympic Training Center, though, are too good for the four to pass up.

During camp, athletes will take part in sessions dedicated to skill development and to understanding the culture of success that is an important aspect of playing for USA Basketball. Additionally, the participants will be divided into four teams that will compete in a round-robin tournament that results in semifinals and gold and bronze medal games.

Auriemma will serve as the lead clinician during the first three days of camp before he heads back to Storrs to run the Huskies' workouts.

Among the top players trying out to make the team are South Carolina All-American and SEC Player of the Year A'ja Wilson, Ohio State All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year Kelsey Mitchell, and Big 12 Player of the Year Texas' Brooke McCarty.

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec

Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as they take on the California Golden Bears in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as they take on the California Golden Bears in the second half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

There are few, if any, college basketball arenas in the nation with the history and tradition of UCLA's Pauley Pavilion.

The 11-time national champion University of Connecticut women's basketball team will play under the UCLA men's 11 national championship banners for the second time in its history Tuesday night. The No. 1 Huskies figure to have their toughest matchup of the young season as they take on the fifth-ranked Bruins in a nationally-televised showdown.

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UConn tops BU, improves to 3-0 00:02:09
UConn defeats Boston University, 85-66, to improve to 3-0 to start the year. Michelle Yu and Vin Parise break down highlights of the win.

Christian Vital scored a career high 30 points to lead Connecticut to an 85-66 win over Boston University on Sunday.

The sophomore guard hit nine of his 15 shots and was 4 of 10 from 3-point range.

Jalen Adams had 12 points and Terry Larrier and Antwoine Anderson each scored 11 for UConn (3-0).

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Azura Stevens reacts after her basket against the Maryland Terrapins in the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Azura Stevens reacts after her basket against the Maryland Terrapins in the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- It's not like Azura Stevens hasn't started a game before. The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's redshirt junior forward was on the floor for the opening tip 51 of the 58 games she played in two seasons at Duke before transferring here 18 months ago.

But this is not Duke. And with All-American Katie Lou Samuelson sidelined with a sprained left foot, Stevens is -- what All-American Gabby Williams says -- "the next man up." In Stevens' first start for UConn on Sunday, the Raleigh, North Carolina, native responded.

Stevens finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds -- one of six Huskies in double figures and one of three with double-doubles -- as top-ranked UConn coasted to a 97-72 win over No. 15 Maryland before 10,126 at XL Center.

"Z did well, really well, and I was proud of her," Williams said. "She came in and knew what she was good at. She didn't look afraid. She was ready to go out there and compete."

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GEICO SportsNite: Huskies win 00:00:39
The No. 1 ranked UConn Huskies defeated the Maryland Terrapins on Sunday night by the score of 97-72.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Kia Nurse scored 21 points to lead six UConn players in double figures as the top-ranked Huskies routed No. 15 Maryland 97-72 on Sunday.

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse
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Nov 14, 2017; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Jalen Adams (4) drives to the basket to score against Stony Brook Seawolves forward Tyrell Sturdivant (12) in the second half at XL Center. UConn defeated Stony Brook 72-64. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Nov 14, 2017; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Jalen Adams (4) drives to the basket to score against Stony Brook Seawolves forward Tyrell Sturdivant (12) in the second half at XL Center. UConn defeated Stony Brook 72-64. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

Connecticut will host Boston University on Sunday at 6 p.m.

 

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Feb 27, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Crystal Dangerfield (5) looks to get past South Florida Bulls forward Kitija Laksa (33) in the first half at USF Sun Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)
Feb 27, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Crystal Dangerfield (5) looks to get past South Florida Bulls forward Kitija Laksa (33) in the first half at USF Sun Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)

The Connecticut Huskies will look to win their third game of the season on Sunday when they host No. 15 Maryland at 1:30 p.m.

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Nov 18, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Connecticut Huskies quarterback David Pindell (5) hands off the ball to running back Kevin Mensah (34) as they take not he Boston College Eagles in the second half at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Nov 18, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Connecticut Huskies quarterback David Pindell (5) hands off the ball to running back Kevin Mensah (34) as they take not he Boston College Eagles in the second half at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

BOSTON (AP) AJ Dillon rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns, breaking free on a 48-yard run and a 53-yard score on Saturday night to lead Boston College to a 39-16 victory over UConn on the wet and worn-out turf at Fenway Park.

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Geno Auriemma Show: Geno On.. 00:01:38
UConn head coach Geno Auriemma gives his thoughts on why offense is the first thing he teaches every year to start the season.

 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

STORRS, Conn. -- It had to feel like deja vu all over again for Katie Lou Samuelson.

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior All-American hit the floor after being fouled with 4:02 left in the first half Friday night. After being helped to her feet, she gingerly took a few steps on her injured left foot and signaled to the Huskies' bench she needed to come out of the game.

In the 2016 NCAA Final Four semifinals against Oregon State in Indianapolis, Samuelson broke a bone in her left foot while grabbing an offensive rebound in the game's opening minute but managed to play the entire first half. She missed the national championship game against Syracuse two days later but then had seven months to recover.

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Huskies All-Access: 2018 prep 00:10:53
The UConn Women's team looks back on falling short of winning another national title and how that motivated them for the 2018 season.

GEICO SportsNite: UConn tops Cal 00:01:32
The UConn Huskies defeated California handily, 82-47, in their home opener and on the night they honored Rebecca Lobo.

Crystal DangerfieldNapheesa Collier, and Kia Nurse tallied 14 points apiece as the Huskies took down the Bears, 82-47, in their home opener. 

Collier took the most shots of the starting five, netting 6-of-13 while converting one of her two free throws. Gabby Williams scored 13 points while Katie Lou Samuelson netted 12 points. Off the bench, Azura Stevens finished with 11 points as well. 

UConn held Cal to just 37.7 percent from the field while Kristine Anigwe was the only double-digit scorer with 14 points. 

The Huskies take on No. 15 Maryland on Sunday at Gampel Pavilion.

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 (Kevin Jairaj)
(Kevin Jairaj)

The Univerisity of Connecticut Lady Huskies take on the No. 20 California Bears in their home opener at the Gampel Pavilion on Friday. 

The Huskies are led by Crystal Dangerfield, who notched a career-high 24 points over Stanford on Sunday. Katie Lou Samuelson also poured in 21 points in 31 minutes on Sunday. 

It will be a special home opener for UConn as they honor Huskies great Rebecca Lobo, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in September. 

UConn is 31-1 in home openers under Geno Auriemma. The Bears will look to taint that record, but they will be without G Mi'Cole Cayton, who is out with a season-ending knee injury she sustained in their first game last week. 

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Huskies All Access: Friday 9pm 00:00:47
Huskies All Access takes you inside the UConn basketball program with Geno Auriemma, premieres Friday at 9:00pm on SNY.

Huskies All Access takes you inside the UConn basketball program with Geno Auriemma.

Tune in to the season premiere tonight at 9 p.m. on SNY!

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Rebecca Lobo honored 00:09:50
Former Husky Rebecca Lobo was honored before Friday's game after being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

STORRS, Conn. -- It was 26 years ago -- Nov. 24, 1991, to be exact -- that Rebecca Lobo played her first game for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team as the Huskies took on California in Berkeley.

The coincidence that Lobo will become the first former UConn player to have her own banner recognizing her 2017 induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame placed in Gampel Pavilion on Friday with No. 20 California here to face the Huskies (SNY, 7 p.m.) wasn't lost on coach Geno Auriemma.

"It's amazing the way things come around," Auriemma said on Thursday. "How many years later, 26? She's getting a banner here and we're playing Cal. What are the chances, right? That is the craziest thing."

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The Geno Auriemma Show: Friday 00:01:02
On the season premiere of The Geno Auriemma Show, the freshman learn the ropes from a legend, check it out Friday at 10:00 p.m. on SNY.

On the season premiere of The Geno Auriemma Show, the freshmen learn the ropes from a legend.

Check it out Friday at 10 p.m. on SNY.

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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as they take on the LSU Tigers in the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma watches from the sideline as they take on the LSU Tigers in the second half at XL Center. (David Butler II)

It was better late than never for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team. Actually, the fall recruiting signing period could not have gone any better for the Huskies.

Olivia Nelson-Ododa, a 6-foot-4 center from Winder, Georgia, has signed a letter of intent to attend UConn on Wednesday, the final day of the fall signing period. Rated the No. 5 recruit in the Class of 2018 by ESPNHoopgurlz, she also considered Duke, Florida State, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Last week, UConn signed the nation's top recruit, Christyn Williams, a 5-foot-11 guard from Little Rock, Arkansas...

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UConn knocks off Stony Brook 00:02:10
UConn earned their second win of the young season by beating Stony Brook at home by a score of 72-64. Michelle Yu breaks down the top plays.

UConn guard Jalen Adams came back from a one-game suspension to score 19 points and the Huskies came from behind to beat Stony Brook 72-64 on Tuesday night.

Adams scored all of his points in the second half, helping the Huskies recover from a nine-point deficit with just 5 1/2 minutes to play.

The junior, who missed all five of his first half shots, went 8 of 11 after intermission. >> Read more

Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press

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Parise breaks down Friday's game 00:02:15
Vin Parise goes to the touchscreen to analyze how Terry Larrier was able to erupt for 27 points against Colgate in Friday's season opener.

Nov 10, 2017; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Isaiah Whaley (5) reacts after a play against the Colgate Raiders in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated Colgate 70-58. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Nov 10, 2017; Storrs, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Isaiah Whaley (5) reacts after a play against the Colgate Raiders in the second half at Gampel Pavilion. UConn defeated Colgate 70-58. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

The Univeristy of Connecticut men's basketball team kick off their regular season against the Colgate Raiders on Friday night in the Gampel Pavilion. 

Head coach Kevin Ollie and his team played three exhibition games against Providence, Merrimack and Queens College. His team will be without junior G Jalen Adams, who was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. He was a All-AAC First Team selection last season. 

Terry Larrier and Alterique Gilbert are returning from injuries for the Huskies, and should provide quality minutes for the team. 

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With three returning All-Americans, a four-year starter, a dynamic young point guard, and talented newcomers, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team has the pieces to win a national championship.

For 20 minutes against No. 10 Stanford, the Huskies looked the part as they built an insurmountable 35-point lead. It was so insurmountable that they were never threatened in the second half though their play was quite forgettable.

Great teams, says All-American Gabby Williams, play 40 minutes every game. Top-ranked UConn showed it has the potential to get there in its 78-53 season-opening rout of the Cardinal at the Countdown to Columbus event at Nationwide Arena Sunday. But there's plenty of work to do if the Huskies hope to be back here for the final weekend of the season.

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 (Matthew Emmons)
(Matthew Emmons)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Its NCAA record winning streak was snapped on March 31, but another run that pre-dates the birth of any current University of Connecticut women's basketball player was on the line at Nationwide Arena Sunday.

The Huskies, coming off their loss to Mississippi State that ended their 111-game streak and season in the Final Four semifinals, has not dropped back-to-back games since losing the final three of the 1992-93 season. The oldest Huskies -- transfers Azura Stevens and Batouly Camara, along with senior Kia Nurse -- were not born until February, 1996.

And Stanford, which ended UConn's 90-game winning streak in 2010 and its 47-game winning streak in 2014, would get the shot at putting another run to rest. But the Cardinal weren't playing in Maples Pavilion and they do not have the talent and athleticism of those past teams that beat the Huskies.

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GEICO SportsNite: UConn wins 00:00:38
UConn women's basketball opened its season with a dominant win over 10th ranked Stanford, 78-53.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Crystal Dangerfield scored 24 points and Katie Lou Samuelson added 21 to help top-ranked UConn rout No. 10 Stanford 78-53 on Sunday.

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier
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GEICO SportsNite: UConn 00:00:38
The UConn football team fell to the undefeated UCF Golden Knights, 49-24.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Otis Anderson rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns, McKenzie Milton passed for 311 yards and No. 14 Central Florida pulled away from UConn for a 49-24 victory on Saturday.

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Duke Blue Devils guard/forward Azura Stevens (11) dribbles the ball against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. The Blue Devils won 70-48. (Charles LeClaire)
Duke Blue Devils guard/forward Azura Stevens (11) dribbles the ball against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. The Blue Devils won 70-48. (Charles LeClaire)

STORRS, Conn. - .Azura Stevens transferred to UConn in 2016 after playing her first two collegiate seasons at Duke where she earned all-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team honors. As a freshman, she had a team high 16 points in the Blue Devils' 83-52 loss to the Huskies on Dec. 30, 2014. The 6-foot-6 wing from Raleigh, North Carolina, sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules and has two years of eligibility remaining. Stevens recently took a time out to answer five questions from SNYUConn.com reporter Carl Adamec.

1. You wore uniform No. 11 during your time at Duke and you chose to wear No. 23 here. Why, and are you aware of the importance of that uniform number in UConn history?

"I wore 23 in high school so I decided to go back to that number. I am aware of the history of that number here. Arguably the greatest player in the history of this program, Maya Moore, wore this number. So I definitely get some chills looking at that number here. I don't feel pressure with it, though. Playing up to being a UConn player is enough."

Tags: Azura Stevens, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier
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UConn beats Colgate, 70-58 00:01:48
UConn defeats Colgate, 70-58 in its regular season opener. Michelle Yu and Vin Parise breakdown the highlights of the win.

STORRS, Conn. (AP) UConn swingman Terry Larrier hasn't played much over the past two years, but didn't show any rust on Friday night.

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How important is Jalen Adams? 00:03:06
Vin Parise gives his thoughts on the impact Jalen Adams has on the Huskies and why it's such a loss not having him out on the court.

Ollie on the team buying in 00:02:34
While the new players sometime make Kevin Ollie pull out his hair, he's excited for the team's potential and how they're locking in.

The Univeristy of Connecticut men's basketball team kick off their regular season against the Colgate Raiders on Friday night in the Gampel Pavilion. 

Head coach Kevin Ollie and his team played three exhibition games against Providence, Merrimack and Queens College. His team will be without junior G Jalen Adams, who was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. He was a All-AAC First Team selection last season. 

Terry Larrier and Alterique Gilbert are returning from injuries for the Huskies, and should provide quality minutes for the team. 

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Mar 31, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma reacts in the second quarter against the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
Mar 31, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma reacts in the second quarter against the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

Christyn Williams watched the University of Connecticut women's basketball team make history last January when she took a roughly five-hour drive from her Little Rock, Arkansas, home to Dallas to watch the Huskies beat SMU for their record-setting 91st consecutive win.

Now Williams -- a 5-foot-11 senior guard and the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2018 according to ESPNHoopgurlz -- is hoping to make history at UConn.

Williams announced her decision to sign with the Huskies at a get-together at her school, Central Arkansas Christian, Friday. Her finalists were UConn and South Carolina. She also took official visits to Tennessee, Texas, and UCLA.

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Ollie on changes this offseason 00:00:47
UConn head coach Kevin Ollie discusses the transition the team has faced through the offseason and how the grind prepared them for 2018.

UConn head coach Kevin Ollie discusses the transition the team has faced through the offseason and how the grind prepared them for 2018.


 (Matthew Emmons)
(Matthew Emmons)

STORRS, Conn. -- The target on the back of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team is always there and always seems to be growing.

But with returning WBCA All-Americans Gabby Williams, Napheesa Collier, and Katie Lou Samuelson taking up three of the five spots on the Associated Press preseason All-America team announced Tuesday, has that target extended to the backs of the Huskies' trio?

"I would yes, but being here at UConn ... Every player on this team has a target on their back," Samuelson said. "Every player wants to beat you. Every fan, but ours, wants to see us lose. It comes with being here. But if you're a competitor like I am you want to embrace that. I'm excited to see what this team can do. I know my teammates have my back so I don't worry about that stuff."

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson warms up before the start of the game against the Albany Great Danes during the first round of the women's NCAA Tournament at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson warms up before the start of the game against the Albany Great Danes during the first round of the women's NCAA Tournament at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

STORRS, Conn. -- There weren't any fans at Gampel Pavilion watching, but Katie Lou Samuelson still felt it was important for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team to put on a show.

On its way back to Pennsylvania Saturday following an exhibition loss to UMass in Amherst the previous night, the Kutztown University women's basketball team stopped at the UConn campus to watch the Huskies' practice as they prepared for their exhibition game Sunday with Ashland (Ohio).

"One of the things I was talking to our coaches about was these are girls who love basketball so much and continue to play," Samuelson said. "You never realize that they might look up to us and might be fans of our team. It's almost surreal thinking about that.
 
"But not only that, we want to show them or every crowd that comes here what we do as Connecticut basketball. We know we want to uphold a certain standard and show them what it means to be at this university and what we've been working for."

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Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse shoots a 3-point basket against the Syracuse Orange in the first half during the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse shoots a 3-point basket against the Syracuse Orange in the first half during the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

STORRS, Conn. -- There are few players in University of Connecticut women's basketball history who have been surrounded by more talent than Kia Nurse.

Four of her former teammates -- Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck -- have been inducted into the Huskies of Honor program as WBCA All-Americans. Classmate Gabby Williams will have her No, 15 on the Gampel Pavilion wall in February, while Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson will earn their spots on Senior Day 2019.

Nurse, meanwhile, just rolls quietly along. Or as quietly as a 1,000-point scorer, the NCAA tournament co-record holder for 3-pointers in a single game and the American Athletic Conference's leading 3-point and foul shooter from a season ago can.

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UConn loses 37-20 at home 00:00:44
UConn fell to South Florida by the score of 37-20 as the Huskies fell to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in conference play on the season.

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Quinton Flowers had a career day, throwing for 385 yards and three touchdowns and running for 131 yards as South Florida bounced back from its first loss of the season with a 37-20 win over UConn.

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Feb 27, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Crystal Dangerfield (5) looks to get past South Florida Bulls forward Kitija Laksa (33) in the first half at USF Sun Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)
Feb 27, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Crystal Dangerfield (5) looks to get past South Florida Bulls forward Kitija Laksa (33) in the first half at USF Sun Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)

STORRS, Conn. - There isn't a team in America - including her own - that Azura Stevens could not start for, though she came off the bench in her first outing with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team Wednesday night.

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Aug 20, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; USA forward/center Breanna Stewart (9) shoots the ball against Spain power forward Astou Ndour Gueye (45) in the women's basketball gold medal match during the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports (Jeffrey Swinger)
Aug 20, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; USA forward/center Breanna Stewart (9) shoots the ball against Spain power forward Astou Ndour Gueye (45) in the women's basketball gold medal match during the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports (Jeffrey Swinger)

HARTFORD, Conn. - Katie Lou Samuelson's voice cracked with emotion.

But the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's junior All-American stayed strong Wednesday night as she spoke of former teammate Breanna Stewart's essay on The Players' Tribune website released Monday where Stewart admitted she had been sexually abused for two years starting when she was 9.

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 (Matthew Emmons)
(Matthew Emmons)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- The news about the University of Connecticut women's basketball team Thursday morning was that it was voted the No. 1 team in the country in the Associated Press preseason poll.

But for anyone that has followed the Huskies or the sport over the past quarter-century, it's old news.

UConn was the unanimous top team, receiving all 32 first-place votes by the AP board. It marks the 19th time in the last 24 seasons that the Huskies have held the top spot at some point during that season.

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Mar 31, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma reacts in the second quarter against the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
Mar 31, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma reacts in the second quarter against the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- When Azura Stevens opted to transfer and join the University of Connecticut women's basketball team 18 months ago, it wasn't like the Huskies were adding another top high school star.

Stevens had already made her name as one of the top players in the country, a two-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection and an honorable mention All-American.

 In her first outing with UConn on Wednesday, a Huskies' uniform looked like a perfect fit.

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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier shoots against Oregon Ducks forward Mallory McGwire during the first half in the finals of the Bridgeport Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Napheesa Collier shoots against Oregon Ducks forward Mallory McGwire during the first half in the finals of the Bridgeport Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Webster Bank Arena. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports Images)

STORRS, Conn, - Statistically speaking, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team usually dominates the league leaders in most categories.

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 (Mike Dinovo)
(Mike Dinovo)

STORRS, Conn. -- As the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's workout last Thursday began to wind down, coach Geno Auriemma inserted Mikayla Coombs in to work with the Huskies' first team against the practice players.

She made it through one sequence fine. But after the practice players' second possession against the Huskies' full-court pressure, Auriemma made his way over to the freshman guard.

"He asked me how I would guard my man and I completely did the wrong thing," Coombs said. "He went, 'Really? That's what you're going to do?' It's been like that. He hasn't gotten in my face about anything. That will probably come."

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 (Brian Spurlock)
(Brian Spurlock)

Seattle Storm and former UConn star Breanna Stewart admitted to being sexually assaulted as a child in a Players' Tribune article.

Stewart writes about how she was assaulted for two years, beginning at the age of nine. She didn't reveal the name of the abuser except that he was a "construction worker" who lived in one of the houses of a relative that she would stay with from time to time.

Basketball was Stewart's safe haven as she says the game "became a sort of safe space for me." 

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Oct 28, 2017; East Hartford, CT, USA; Missouri Tigers wide receiver Johnathon Johnson (12) runs the ball against Connecticut Huskies linebacker Vontae Diggs (13) in the first quarter at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Oct 28, 2017; East Hartford, CT, USA; Missouri Tigers wide receiver Johnathon Johnson (12) runs the ball against Connecticut Huskies linebacker Vontae Diggs (13) in the first quarter at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

STORRS, Conn. (AP) Drew Lock threw for 377 yards and five touchdowns and Missouri routed Connecticut 52-12 on Saturday night, winning back-to-back games for the first time since the start of the 2015 season.

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 (AP)
(AP)

STORRS, Conn. -- Things are bigger in Texas where Lexi Gordon grew up.

But freshmen find out early that the pace with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team is faster.

The Fort Worth native knew exactly what she was getting into. She had followed the Huskies through high school and had watched them in action live before committing 20 months ago. Her short time here has already been a learning experience and her first regular season game is still two weeks away.

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Mar 31, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma answers questions after an overtime loss to Mississippi State Bulldogs in the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. The Bulldogs beat the Huskies 66-64 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports (Matthew Emmons)
Mar 31, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma answers questions after an overtime loss to Mississippi State Bulldogs in the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. The Bulldogs beat the Huskies 66-64 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports (Matthew Emmons)

STORRS, Conn. - Geno Auriemma is usually the one answering questions, usually about his University of Connecticut women's basketball team.

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Mar 31, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse (11) talks with head coach Geno Auriemma in the fourth quarter against the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports (Matthew Emmons)
Mar 31, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse (11) talks with head coach Geno Auriemma in the fourth quarter against the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals of the women's Final Four at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports (Matthew Emmons)

Geno Auriemma is convinced the level of play in the American Athletic Conference is getting better.

But it's not up to Auriemma and his University of Connecticut women's basketball team to prove it. The Huskies have done their part by going 82-0 in league play since the conference was formed for the 2013-14 season, along with winning three national championships and reaching four Final Fours.

The Power 5 conferences -- the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and Southeastern Conference -- filled half of the 64-team field in the 2017 NCAA tournament. The AAC finished fifth in conference RPI ahead of the Big Ten, but received three NCAA bids to the Big Ten's four. The Big East (3) and Missouri Valley Conference (2) were the only leagues besides the Power 5 and AAC to send more than their automatic qualifier/conference tournament champion.

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Connecticut Huskies guard Crystal Dangerfield (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard Crystal Dangerfield (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

It was a situation seemingly made for the point guard in Crystal Dangerfield.

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team had possession with 26.6 seconds left in overtime of a tie game with Mississippi State in the NCAA Final Four semifinals last March 31 and could take the final shot.

No one may have been better equipped than Dangerfield to hold the ball out as time ran down, then make her move to the basket and either kick the ball out for a shot or put up a floater in the lane to win it, with the worst-case scenario being a second five-minute extra session...

Tags: Crystal Dangerfield, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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GEICO SportsNite: UConn wins 00:00:37
UConn defeated Tulsa, 20-14, with a last-second defensive stand in an AAC battle at home on Saturday.

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Bryant Shirreffs went 23 of 29 for 372 yards passing and one touchdown, and Connecticut scored the first 20 points of a 20-14 victory over Tulsa on Saturday.

Tags: University of Tulsa
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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma (Rob Kinnan)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma (Rob Kinnan)

Geno Auriemma is widely considered to be the best coach in women's college basketball today and, perhaps, in the game's history.

That doesn't mean the University of Connecticut's Hall of Famer isn't always trying to get better.

That quest took Auriemma to Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, late last month for opening day of the Boston Celtics' training camp...

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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma (Kevin Jairaj)
Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma (Kevin Jairaj)

 Forty minutes of hell? Geno Auriemma and the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's coaching staff should have been so lucky.

The video tape of the Huskies' loss to Mississippi State in the 2017 NCAA Final Four semifinals at the American Airlines Center in Dallas included the overtime.

"Painful," Auriemma said Monday during the American Athletic Conference's media day at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott hotel...

Tags: Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Carl Adamec
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Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson reacts after a play against the Syracuse Orange in the second half during the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson reacts after a play against the Syracuse Orange in the second half during the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

PHILADELPHIA -- The last time Katie Lou Samuelson played against an American Athletic Conference opponent, she had a performance for the ages. The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's guard scored 40 points on a NCAA-record 10-for-10 effort from 3-point land in the Huskies' win over South Florida in the AAC tournament final at Mohegan Sun Arena.

At least one coach in the league was not impressed.

After being named a unanimous first-team all-league pick and the AAC's Co-Player of the Year, the AAC tournament's Most Outstanding Player and a consensus first-team All-American last March, Samuelson was named to the 2017-18 preseason first team by league coaches at media day at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott Monday. But unlike teammates and fellow All-Americans Gabby Williams and Napheesa Collier, the Huntington Beach, California, native was not a unanimous choice.

"I don't know why. I don't know," Collier, who shared Co-Player of the Year honors with Samuelson last season and was named the preseason Player of the Year on Monday, said with a shake of the head. "I was really surprised by that, too."

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Carl Adamec
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