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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Freshman Samuelson shines as UConn wins AAC title

Everything appeared to be rolling right along as Katie Lou Samuelson scored in double figures in a career-high seven straight games. Samuelson was settling into a starting role and then, without warning, it all started to get away from her.

Samuelson was 2 for 5 from the field in back to back games against East Carolina and South Carolina and in the next game she missed all three of her 3-point attempts in the next game against Temple. Samuelson found her way back into the double-digit scoring column the next time out against Cincinnati and it was around that time that her performance in practice also began to pick up.

Samuelson had 15 of her team-high 19 points in the first quarter in a win over East Carolina and tonight matched her career high with 21 points in a win over SMU.

"I think my confidence is up more than it was at the beginning of the season," Samuelson said. "I feel more comfortable out there to make plays and help out.

"A change in me in practice has helped a lot and it took a while for it to translate into games."

Samuelson has also adjusted to the in your face coaching style of Geno Auriemma.

"I haven't been coached by anybody like him and it definitely has been a challenge but I am starting to get kind of used to it," Samuelson said.

Auriemma has liked what he has seen from Samuelson in the last couple of weeks.

"She has been really good the last  two weeks or 10 days," Auriemma said. "She has a different kind of presence out there. She reminds me so much of Stewie (Breanna Stewart) when Stewie was a freshman. There is a lot of great stuff going on and during the game there will be a lot of (times) when you go 'wow' and then there are things that she still struggles with."

Samuelson became the eighth Husky to have at least 50 3-pointers as a freshman. Five of them (Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Maya Moore, Bria Hartley, Diana Taurasi and Jen Rizzotti) are in the Huskies of Honor.

The win gave UConn the outright American Athletic Conference title as the Huskies are a perfect 3 for 3 in that category. In fact UConn has never lost a game in the AAC, going 58-0.

"There are things along the way that need to be celebrated," Auriemma said of winning the conference title. "We are not going to skip over anything. Today means a lot, next week to play in the conference tournament that would mean a lot. I don't think you can just skip over things and brush it under the rug and make sure I let them know it all the time."

One thing that caught my attention was the playful banter between Auriemma and Moriah Jefferson when she checked out for the final time.

It turned out that recently Auriemma suggested to one of his players that they intentionally missed free throws when they realized there was a player ready to check in for them.

He said Jefferson admitted that she considered doing it so she could stay in the game a little bit longer.

UConn still has two regular-season games left but will be the No. 1 seed in the AAC tournament, being played at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Huskies will play the winner of the game between the No. 8 and 9 seeds on Mar. 5 at 2 p.m. At the current time that would be an East Carolina/Cincinnati matchup.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone else besides KLS needs to make 3 point shots better than 10 to 20 percent.

I watched UConn Huskies All Access after the game. You can tell why Moriah Jefferson is a "UConn type" of person.

Moriah's mom said one of the best quotes that I have ever heard, when she talked about her daughter.

I had the please of meeting Moriah and her Mom at a couple games in Texas. Moriah had that great wide eyed smile talking to me, a total stranger.

They appreciated UConn fans attending Moriah's games.

8:44 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In his post game interview with SNY side line reporter, and in his post game press conference, Geno Auriemma sounded a little like Holly Warlick.

Both head coaches at a loss for words to explain the poor performance of their players.

Warlick dealing with an entire season of disappointments and meltdowns.

Auriemma dealing with the last 12 minutes of the SMU game. Unable to explain his bench players struggling performances.

8:49 AM 

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