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."

The coaches' individual ballots are not made public. 

Samuelson is coming off one of the best sophomore seasons in UConn history. She averaged 20.2 points on 48.6 percent shooting from the floor (while reaching the 1,000-point plateau for her career), 3.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 37 games. She ranked second in the league in scoring, 11th in assists and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio. She and teammate Kia Nurse were the only players to rank in the top 10 in the league in field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage and 3-point shooting percentage. Last month, she was the youngest player and one of five collegians to take part in a United States senior national team camp in California.

Who knew she got worse in the last seven months?

"I got a little better, actually," Samuelson said with a smile after noting she's been spending quality time on the practice court with coach Geno Auriemma and assistant Shea Ralph. "I'm working on trying to play through anything and finding different ways to get open so people can't take me out of the game. I've been finishing a lot better and attacking the basket a lot harder."

Expanding her game a year ago was what helped her earn All-America status and that continues to be a work in the progress as the Huskies work toward their season opener Nov. 12 against Stanford at the Countdown to Columbus at Nationwide Arena.

Joining the UConn trio on the first team were Central Florida senior guard Aliyah Gregory and South Florida junior guard Kitija Laksa. Nurse was on the second team, along with Temple senior guard Alliya Butts (who will miss the season with a knee injury), SMU senior forward Alicia Froling, USF senior forward Maria Jespersen and Tulane senior guard Kolby Morgan.

Auriemma expressed his disappointment with the balloting when it came to Samuelson, discussing it with AAC associate commissioner for women's basketball Barb Jacobs at one point Monday. But that wasn't the only result that caught his eye.

"Tulane's going to be really good," Auriemma said. "It's another no confidence that I have in our coaches that they didn't vote Kolby Morgan first team in our league."

Samuelson will let her game speak for itself. She is already motivated by the Huskies' loss to Mississippi State in last season's NCAA Final Four that ended UConn's 111-game winning streak and its four-year reign as national champion.

Monday's results have added a little fuel to her fire.

"I would say so," Samuelson said. "But the biggest thing for me, especially for me, is that I'm concerned about winning. With the way that last season ended for us, we want to win and get the job done. I'll do whatever I have to do every single game to help us accomplish that. I'm going to go out there and play to the best of my ability. If that means I'm still not unanimous first team, that's OK. As long as I'm playing my best and I'm helping us win games, that's enough for me."

Traveling call

The Huskies concluded their media day obligations early so they and the UConn men's contingent could catch a 1:30 p.m. flight back to Bradley International Airport. Just to make a long day longer, though, the flight was cancelled and they ended up taking a train from Philadelphia to New Haven and a bus back to campus.

It was their first day off from practice since workouts started on Thursday.

"The first week has been really good," Williams said. "The energy has been up and there's been a new level of focus. It's cool to see we've been getting better every day."

UConn does return four starters but has six players who haven't played a game in a Huskies' uniform: transfers Azura Stevens and Batouly Camara, and freshmen Mikayla Coombs, Lexi Gordon, Andra Espinoza-Hunter and Megan Walker.

"There's a lot of people, and that's a huge difference," Samuelson said. "It's been hard to get everyone on that same page and it's going to take awhile to figure things out. But there are four of us that have played together the last two years and we know each other's ins and outs. Crystal Dangerfield has stepped up and shown she's there with us. And Z has that talent. It will take a little more time to where we feel all comfortable with each other on the court. But we have enough people to lead and take over and show the younger guys what needs to get done and get accomplished."

The Huskies did have 10 days of practice and a 10-day tour of Italy that included four exhibition games in August that did give them a head start. But when last Thursday rolled around?

"Believe it or not the first day of practice was exactly the same as it's always been," Auriemma said. "It was as if the trip to Italy never happened. But what is different is that the freshmen are a little different. The reason they look different is that they realize, 'Man, we went to Europe where the games don't mean anything and Coach said you guys ain't playing because you guys are horrible at practice and your work ethic is horrible. If he's not going to play us in games that are meaningless, what's going to happen when the games mean something?' So they could see the way we operate is different than it was in August. So the trip was good for them."

UConn's exhibition opener is Nov. 1 against Fort Hays State at the XL Center in Hartford.

Warm welcome

Wichita State hired Keitha Adams as its women's basketball coach on March 29. Just over a week later, the Shockers announced they would leave the Missouri Valley Conference for the AAC.

"We have a lot of respect for this conference with great coaches and great players," Adams said. "We want to play at a high level and play a brand of basketball that we can all be proud of.

"I bought a house, sold a house, and been learning how things work at Wichita State. Every day I'm eager to get on the court to get to know my players better and figure out our stregths and weaknesses. There's a lot of teaching going on as we implement our system. The players have been working hard and I'm enjoying practice. They really get after it."

Wichita State, which was picked for 10th in the AAC preseason coaches poll, was 15-16 a year ago in a tumultuous season that saw coach Jody Adams-Birch ousted in late January and replaced by Linda Hargrove. The Shockers made three straight NCAA tournament appearances under Adams-Birch from 2013 to 2015 as MVC tournament champion.

Adams spent the last 16 seasons at Texas-El Paso, leading the Miners to two NCAA tournament berths and two WNIT bids.

"We like to play uptempo and we know we need to be a good defensive and good rebounding team," Adams said. "I'm challenging our players to be great teammates and play team ball."

Wichita State has eight seniors, including MVC first-team pick Rangie Bessard, who averaged 17.3 points and 7.6 rebounds a season ago.

UConn will play the Shockers for the first time on Feb. 10 at the XL Center, with the Huskies going to Wichita in the 2018-19 season.

Playing the likes of UConn, South Florida and Temple to should only help the Shockers.

"For our fans I think everyone is excited about this opportunity," Adams said. "I have so much admiration and respect for their program and the job that Geno has done. It will be a big challenge.

"This is one of the top conferences in the country and if you want to play against the best, this conference has it. If you want to play at a high level, this is it. Wichita is a basketball city and our fans are passionate. It's a place where they love basketball."

Tags: Katie Lou Samuelson, Carl Adamec

Feb 18, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Napheesa Collier (24) shoots against Temple Owls guard Tanaya Atkinson (22) in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Feb 18, 2018; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward Napheesa Collier (24) shoots against Temple Owls guard Tanaya Atkinson (22) in the first half at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

The official Twitter account of Louisiana Tech women's basketball touts the program as No. 2 in all-time wins nationally.

The Lady Techsters may have to make a change soon.

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 (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 left 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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