STORRS, Conn. - Katie Lou Samuelson played through flu-like symptoms against Maryland on Dec. 29 and scored 23 points in the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's win at the Xfinity Center in College Park.
The Huskies' sophomore guard may take a back seat to similar symptoms Saturday when No. 1 UConn takes on SMU in an American Athletic Conference game at Gampel Pavilion (SNY, 2 p.m.). Samuelson did not practice Friday and coach Geno Auriemma said the decision to play her or not will be made close to game time.
"She's been kind of under the weather for at least the last week or so," Auriemma said. "It wasn't getting any better. So, I don't know about tomorrow. I don't know what her situation will be tomorrow. It's certainly not going to be like regular business. Either she's not going to play at all or she's going to play some minutes. That will be depending on how she feels at shootaround tomorrow.
"It's been a crazy winter as far as that stuff goes. There's a lot of stuff going around and it's been all over campus and everybody. She's been struggling with it for awhile. She's just run down."
Samuelson leads the Huskies (23-0 overall, 11-0 AAC) and the AAC in scoring at 21.3 points per game. The Huntington Beach, California native is the only UConn player to reach double figures in every game and is shooting 49.7 percent from the floor, 43.0 percent from 3-point land and 81.0 percent from the foul line. She is second on the team in minutes played at 31.1.
Auriemma smiled when asked if the foot of snow that fell on campus Thursday had an effect on her. It was in the mid-60s in Huntington Beach on Friday.
"She wears a hat and coat to class in October so she's been used to that," Auriemma said with a laugh.
Samuelson has missed one game in her career. She sat out the 2016 national championship game against Syracuse after breaking her left foot two days earlier against Oregon State.
Kia Nurse was happy to learn she had been selected to the CoSIDA academic all-district 1 first team.
She was happier thinking about what her parents' reaction back in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada would be.
"Growing up in my family, if you didn't get your schoolwork done you didn't get to play any kind of sports," Nurse said. "Mom and dad. I know, are proud back home in Canada. But I take a lot of pride in it, too. To excel in the classroom is something you come here for and it's what you want to do. I put a lot of work into it."
It's the second year in a row the junior guard has earned all-district honors. The all-district teams include student-athletes divided into eight geographic districts across the United States and Canada.
Nurse owns a 3.44 (out of a possible 4.0) grade point average as a liberal arts and sciences major. She is now eligible to be named a member of the 2016-17 academic All-America Team, which recognizes excellence on the court and in the classroom.
What is her best advice to successfully balance athletics and academics?
"I am obsessed with to-do lists because I like being able to cross them off," Nurse said. "Whenever I do my homework I always put everything down in a list. When I cross it off, it's done, and I feel a sense of accomplishment."
The Huskies are participating in the Play4Kay initiative when SMU visits Saturday. In partnership with the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and the V Foundation for Cancer Research, Play4Kay is a national fundraising effort in memory of former North Carolina State University coach Kay Yow, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and battled the disease until she passed away in 2009.
All fans are encouraged to wear pink in an effort to raise awareness for cancer research.
Last year, UConn fans donated over $30,000 to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and the goal is to top that total this year.
Fans can donate on the UConn women's basketball official team page by visiting https://support.kayyow.com/team/104169.
The Huskies will also put several items up for auction, which can be accessed by visiting https://uconnhuskies.cbsi-auctions.com/. Items will include autographed posters, game-worn uniforms from the SMU contest, the tie Auriemma will wear to the game and a pair of game experience packages.