Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Samuelson thrilled to connect with UConn legend

Thanks to the Twitter account of her high school team, the photo of UConn freshman Katie Lou Samuelson having a conversation with another sweet-shooting California native has made quite the splash on social media.

The photo was taken after Diana Taurasi wrapped up the second day of the three-day training camp with the U.S. national team and shortly before Samuelson and the Huskies had a Monday afternoon. The timing couldn't have been much better as Samuelson is coming off a Taurasi-like offensive performance in the first quarter of Saturday's win at East Carolina. Samuelson finished with 15 points, which would have marked the second best scoring effort of her freshman season even if she did not play in the final three quarters.

"She is giving me advice on freshman year and to keep my head up," Samuelson said. "Things are starting to go a little bit (easier) so it is really cool to have somebody that I look up to so much and she just feels connected to this program and connected to all of us. I haven't known her before so it was nice to have that connection."

Samuelson and her teammates were able to check out the three days of practices with the 16 players in the national team pool including teammate Breanna Stewart.

"It was amazing," Samuelson said. "It was cool to see the different intensity level they had, every single one them, the confidence, the skills they all possess. It was really a treat for all of us and I think we all learned a lot."

Samuelson was 4 of 5 from the field including 3 of 4 from 3-point range en route to scoring 15 of her 19 points in the first quarter. She now has 47 3-pointers this season and with three in Wednesday's game against SMU, she will join Taurasi, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Bria Hartley, Maya Moore, Jen Rizzotti, Ann Strother and teammate Kia Nurse as the only UConn freshmen with 50 3-pointers as a freshman.

"I'll take that any day but if my shots aren't going in, I am going to have to find other ways to contribute," Samuelson said. "I would like to make all of my shots, I am sure my teammates would to but I am going to take it game by game and not limit myself if my shots aren't going in.

"I definitely feel comfortable, during practices I can see a difference, a little more confidence to do more on the team, feeling more responsibility. I am still probably going to make mistakes but I know that each game that I play, I will feel more comfortable

"They don't want me to just sit in the corner, hide and try to take that on and say I am just a freshman. They want me to help out and take on some of the weight off of their shoulders."

The entire UConn team, when they didn't have classes to attend, were regular observers at the training camp

As a result, the leading scorer on the Canadian national team that earned an Olympic berth by winning the FIBA Americas Championship for Women got to see the defending Olympic champions in action.

"I texted my teammates and said 'I am sitting in enemy territory,'" UConn sophomore guard Kia Nurse said. "They said 'get as much (information) as you can.' All right, I am not going to get anything but all right.

"You get to see some of the best players in the world, their practicing tendencies and just the confidence that they have in having to pick things up so quickly."

I did some checking and there are three Division I women's players shooting at least 55 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the foul line.

One of those players is Maryland junior Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who is shooting 55.6 percent overall, a stunning 56.7 percent on 3-pointers and 80.2 percent from the free-throw line. The other two players in that category are UConn seniors Moriah Jefferson (58.5 percent on field goals, 41.9 percent on 3-pointers and 88.6 on foul shots) and Breanna Stewart (.589/.417/.817).

In UConn's history, there are two players who hit all three shooting percentage landmarks. Shea Ralph did it as a redshirt sophomore and Jefferson accomplished the feat last season.

UConn signee Crystal Dangerfield is one of five finalists for the Naismith Girls' High School Player of the Year.

Dangerfield, a senior guard at Blackman High in Murfreesboro, Tenn., is averaging 24.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Dangerfield has eight 30-point games this season in leading Blackman to a 26-3 record and the Tennessee District 7-AAA championship.

Erin Boley, Lauren Cox, Joyner Holmes and Jackie Young are the other finalists. The winner will be announced on Mar. 10.

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Anonymous Bill & Nancy said...

The UCONN Lady Huskies teams, every year, are thrilling to watch. We used to live in Ct., but, moved to Fl. 14 years ago. We go to every UCONN game played down here. If their games are on national T.V., we watch them on our commuter. If the games aren't streamed on SNY, we are miserable.
Our son gave us a weekend in S.Carolina to see that game, as a Christmas and birthday gift. We met many UCONN fans there. They come by the busloads in Florida. We know that UCONN has to lose, sometime, but, hope that never happens. And, hope that all their assoc. coaches will carry on Geno's patterns and directives.
See you tonight on the computer. GO UCONN LADY HUSKIES!

11:54 AM 

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