UConn women's basketball ruled senior Katie Lou Samuelson out for the AAC Tournament this weekend due to a back injury suffered last Saturday against Houston. The injury happened when Samuelson dove for a loose ball and collided with an opposing player. She tried to return in the second half, but quickly checked out.
In the Huskies' one game without Samuelson against USF, the offense struggled to get going for the first 30 minutes. UConn scored a season-low 25 points in the first half and needed a late push in the fourth quarter to get the win over the Bulls.
Olivia Nelson-Ododa got the start in Samuelson's place last game, and is a good bet to start in the tournament. Kyla Irwin also started two games back in December when Megan Walker missed a pair of contests with strep throat, but hasn't played much recently. Both would be options if head coach Geno Auriemma wants to replace Samuelson with another big, but if he decides to go small, Molly Bent or Mikayla Coombs could see their first career start.
Even without Samuelson, UConn is still the strong favorite to win the tournament and coming up short would not only be a massive upset, but it would also likely bump the Huskies off a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
UConn's quest for their sixth-straight AAC Tournament Championship begins on Saturday against the winner of ECU and SMU. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena.