Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Freshmen Collier, Samuelson trying to get comfortable at UConn

It's difficult to make too many generalizations by looking at box scores against overmatched opponents in the two preseason games (or even during many of the regular-season games for that matter). However, the numbers for freshmen Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson in yesterday's game against Vanguard where much better than in the preseason opener against Lubbock Christian.

Collier and Samuelson combined for 24 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, three steals, two blocked shots and just one turnover in 49 minutes in the 98-18 victory.

"We were a little bit more relaxed in this game," said Collier, who had 15 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots in 24 minutes. "It was our first game last week and we were a little tight. I think we played a little more free in this game.

"I told myself before the game it was like any other game because sometimes you can psyche yourself out - it is college and it is different from high school so I just wanted to try to stay calm."

Samuelson is still looking for the shooting touch to come around but is being pushed by her coaches to be more than just an outstanding 3-point shooter.

"I think last game I think we were both worried about mistakes, we didn't want to screw it up and we did," said Samuelson, who had nine points, seven rebounds (tying for the team lead with three offensive rebounds) and three assists in 25 minutes. "This game I think we felt more comfortable when we were out there and it flowed more naturally for us. I have noticed the difference from last game to this game so for the next game, it will be even better."

Time will tell if that is the case because playing at a talented Ohio State team a week from today will offer significantly more challenges that either preseason game posed for either Collier or Samuelson.

Still, they have wasted little time impressing the UConn staff including head coach Geno Auriemma.

"The nice thing about Napheesa is you can sub her in for two or three different people so that gives her an opportunity to get in and play at any given moment rather than having to wait if we can only put her in for Tuck or Steiwe or Gabby, we can put her in for anybody and she is comfortable," Auriemma said. "It is the same with Lou, really. The two of them as they get better. Lou and Napheesa, this is the worst they are going to look when they are at Connecticut and they look pretty good, that is the way I look at it."

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