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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Special day for UConn incoming freshmen

It won't be long until Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson will be joining De'Janae Boykin as part of a highly-touted freshman class at UConn.

However, Collier and Samuelson have some business to take care of first.

Collier will try to lead her Incarnate Word Academy team to a third consecutive state title later on today when IWA plays Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School in the Missouri Division 4 title game at Mizzou Arena at 4:50 p.m. (5:50 p.m. here in Connecticut).

Then at 9 (around the time UConn tips off against St. Francis in its 2015 NCAA opener) Samuelson's Mater Dei High School team will look to keep its hopes for a California Interscholastic Federation Open Division title alive against the team which handed the Monarchs both of their losses this season when Mater Dei meets Chaminade in the Southern regional final.

Samuelson already broke the single-game Mater Dei scoring record formerly shared by current UConn star Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis when she dropped 42 on Palisades in the first round of the CIF tournament. If she makes three 3-pointers, something she did 21 times in 30 games this season, she will break Mosqueda-Lewis' single-season 3-point school record. Mosqueda-:Lewis had 116 as a senior while Samuelson currently has 114.
"It is all right because it is going to a worthy person," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "I am glad that she has (the records) and hopefully they will win against Chaminade."

Mosqueda-Lewis is fully aware of the pressures of playing at a program the caliber of Mater Dei and believes Samuelson, who has played for the Monarchs for her final three season, will be better prepared for what is in store for her when she arrives in Storrs.

"There is a lot you have to get ready for coming to Connecticut so I think it will help her get ready for Connecticut."

Obviously the UConn players and coaches will be a little busy at the time of the Mater Dei/Chaminade game but they have been keeping tabs on a player who just recently was named the Gatorade national high school player of the year.

"I thought the picture of her surprise (when WNBA star Elena Delle Donne presented Samuelson with the award) was priceless," UConn associate coach Chris Dailey said. "Her mom had told me she was going to get it and it was going to be a surprise. She works really hard, she is a winner, she wants to win so I wasn't surprised she was chosen. She has a big game so hopefully she will win that as well.

"All three kids that we are bringing in (are accustomed to winning). De'Janae's senior year has been a little bit different because of the injury, she had surgery on the wrist but certainly Napheesa and Katie Lou are enjoying a lot of success as seniors because their teams win. You can score a lot of points but if you are not winning, it doesn't feel as good. Those two in particular know how to win and hopefully they will both win a championship."

Another remarkable season at the helm of the Tufts women's basketball program came to an end for Carla Berube.

Berube, a key member of UConn's first national championship team, led the Jumbos to a second straight Division III Final Four. Tufts cut a 17-point Thomas More lead down to six points on three occasions before losing 62-52 in the national semifinal.

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