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.
How much time she misses and how many games that translates to remains to be seen.
The injury -- called a mid-foot sprain by coach Geno Auriemma -- overshadowed a solid performance by top-ranked UConn in its home opener. All five starters and reserve Azura Stevens reached double figures as the Huskies blasted No. 20 California 82-47 before a crowd of 8,103 on Rebecca Lobo Night at Gampel Pavilion.
Auriemma added that Samuelson will get X-rays and treatment Saturday. The Huskies host No. 15 Maryland on Sunday at the XL Center in Hartford, then travel to Los Angeles to face eighth-ranked UCLA at Pauley Pavilion Tuesday which is a homecoming game for the Huntington Beach, California, resident.
"She seemed alright (in the locker room)," UConn guard Kia Nurse said. "Some people when they're injured can go down into a dark place. For Lou, she loves her teammates and will absolutely be there for us with whatever we need and vice versa. We're hoping for the best and we'll see how it goes."
Samuelson was fouled by California's Mikayla Cowling as she cut to the basket. She appeared to reach for her shin and foot while she was on the floor before her teammates came over to help her up.
She was replaced by Crystal Dangerfield and limped her way over to athletic trainer Janelle Francisco.
"I was just trying to tell Lou to get off the floor because knowing her she would push through it until it gets worse," UConn All-American Gabby Williams said. "First things first, and I just wanted to mak sure that she was good and she's taking care of it. After that, it's the next guy up. I mentioned in the locker room that when we sub guys in we can't have a drop off. The guys on the bench have to be watching what is going on so when they come in they're adding and we're not losing anything.
"It will be a test for us going forward and things like that happen in a season. People are going to be sick, hurt, or whatever the case is. Going through it will help us. If it happens later, we know it will be something that we can handle."
With and without Samuelson, the Huskies (2-0) had no problem handling California (1-1) on their way to winning their 27th consecutive home opener.
All-American Napheesa Collier, Dangerfield, and Nurse scored 14 points each for the Huskies. Nurse was 4-for-5 from the floor and made both her 3-points after going just 1-for-8 in the opener against Stanford. Williams added 13 points, eight rebounds, and five assists while Samuelson had 12 points and three steals in 15 minutes before leaving. Stevens finished with 11 points.
For the second straight game, the Huskies' defense fueled their offense as they turned 29 Golden Bears' turnovers -- including nine by Cowling -- into 35 points.
"We're trying to get an identity for this team, kind of pattern where you have to start doing things a certain way," Auriemma said. "Then when you do those things a certain way it becomes who you are.
"The first half of the Stanford game we created a lot of opportunities for ourselves and the defense was the deciding factor. We did the exact same thing in the first half of this game. We want to establish that we feed off of our defense, we create turnovers and get out in transition and we're hard to play against on the move."
The Huskies trailed for the first time this season at 4-3. They responded with a 22-2 run to take over. Two baskets by Williams and one by Samuelson put UConn in front. Penina Davidson scored for California but two 3-pointers by Nurse and one by Dangerfield pushed the lead into double figures. Samuelson and Williams converted layups and two free throws each by Samuelson and Nurse made it 26-6.
It was 30-11 after one quarter and a Dangerfield trey made it 45-24 at the break.
The Bears, who beat St. Mary's in their opener, got no closer. With Stevens starting the second half in place of Samuelson, UConn outscored California 22-3 in the third quarter for a 40-point lead. The biggest lead of the game was 45.
"You never want to see a teammate go down and it's disheartening," Nurse said. "You can take it one way or take it the other way. We did a good job of remaining focused defensively and coming out having a good second half. It wasn't a matter of one person stepping up to take over but each and every one of us stepping us and helping to pick up the slack."
Kristine Anigwe had 14 points and nine rebounds for California, but eight of the points came in the fourth quarter after Auriemma had gone deep into his bench. She was no factor though Williams, the reigning national Defensive Player of the Year, was giving up five inches in height to the Bears' junior.
"Gabby's not a center, not a forward, not a guard, yet she plays one of those roles every game," Auriemma said. "She guards the other team's best big guy. She rebounds. She leads the break. She scors in the lane. She leads us in assists a lot of times. We've come to count on her for so many things. She continues to surprise you with how much she can do."
The contest was the first of a four-game deal between the schools. The Huskies will play in Berkeley next year. The last time the Bears were here on Dec. 28, 1994 -- Lobo's senior year -- UConn scored the game's first 25 points en route to a 99-52 rout. Prior to the game Friday, UConn unveiled a banner in her honor to recognize her induction with the Class of 2017 into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.
UConn will get back to work Saturday to prepare for Maryland and await word on Samuelson.
"We got a kid that may or not play who we rely on heavily," Auriemma said. "All of a sudden, now this isn't like normal Connecticut just go on the road, walk in the arena, blow someone out and go home. I'm anxious to see how we respond."