Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

UConn a ratings hit for SNY

SNY's live game coverage ended with the Senior Day win over Memphis and UConn's  regional broadcast partner was happy to announce impressive improvements in ratings.

The live game broadcasts drew a 6.00 household rating in Hartford-New Haven, a 21 percent jump from the 2015-16 season.  The live game performance is the network’s highest of the last four seasons.
SNY’s pre- and post-game shows delivered a 1.80 and 2.85 household rating which is an improvement of 15 and 34 percent.

SNY’s The Geno Auriemma Show became the most watched season-to-date series in the program’s five year history.  The series is averaging a 1.63 household rating in Hartford-New Haven, a 63 percent jump from last season and 60 percent growth over the series five year average.

Live game viewership on SNY averaged a 0.42 household rating, topping the previous high mark set last season by 83 percent highlighted by the Memphis-UConn game delivering the network’s best ever rating in the market with a .77 household rating.

Napheesa Collier made things easy for the American Athletic Conference as the sophomore forward was named the conference's player of the week after averaging 29.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game while shooting 80.4 percent from the field in a 3-0 week.

Collier twice established career highs with 31 points in a win over Temple and 39 against USF.

The Connecticut Sun announced mini plan ticket packages with options for any four, six, eight or 10 regular season home games on the schedule. There is also a new for 2017 offering, Four on the Floor, featuring courtside seating. Fans can choose their own seat location, based on availability, when purchasing.

Packages range in price from $88 to $424. The plans can be purchased by calling the Sun at 1.877.SUN.TIXX or visiting

Monday, February 27, 2017

UConn puts finishing touches on undefeated regular season

Let's see if I have all the pertinent details from tonight's 96-68 win over USF.

Napheesa Collier matching Svetlana Abrosimova and Kerry Bascom for the fourth most points in UConn history with a 39-point masterpiece and doing it with just 15 official field-goal attempts.
Katie Lou Samuelson becoming the 44th Husky to score 1,000 career points and doing it faster in terms of games played than all but six players in program history while moving into a tie for the sixth most 3-pointers made in a season at UConn.

Gabby Williams flirted with a triple-double again and Crystal Dangerfield finishing with nine assists and no turnovers. When I get home I will start looking at the UConn players who have handed out the most assists without any turnovers. My hope was to get a little additional insight into Dangerfield's game by interviewing her high school teammate Jazz Bond, a freshman at USF who did not play but I was told that she would not be available for interview after the game.

Did I miss anything? Oh that's right, UConn put the finishing touches on the ninth undefeated regular season in program history but first when the Huskies weren't returning at least one player selected to either the WBCA or Associated Press All-American teams in the previous season.

The Huskies faced the teams picked to finish second (Temple), third (South Florida) and fourth (Tulane) in the American Athletic Conference preseason poll without the services of preseason conference player of the year Kia Nurse (who could return when UConn meets either Tulsa or Memphis in the AAC quarterfinals on Saturday).

Even Geno Auriemma, the winningest coach in terms of winning percentage in NCAA Division I women's basketball history who has engineered more winning streaks than could possibly ever be listed here or anywhere else took time to appreciate what this team has done.

"Going in I never thought we'd be able to get through that early part of the schedule with a group of players that had not been tested in that manner before," Auriemma said. "I didn't know how they would respond. Who would say what might have happened if we had lost that Florida State game and maybe lost the Baylor game and  maybe started the season 0-2, everything might have gone completely sideways. There wasn't one player that everybody in the locker room was going, 'OK, this kid has to carry us tonight.' I think there some comfort in that and, 'hey, we are all in this together, we all have to do our part.' There were games when some individuals just took it upon themselves to do more. These guys are good players but I did not know how quickly they would come together, whether they would be able to hang in there for an entire season. It might look easy but it is not easy to do what these kids have done."

This marks the ninth time UConn enters postseason undefeated and 13th time the Huskies won every regular season game in conference play.

"It is hard to fathom," Auriemma said. "It is hard to imagine and I am in the middle of it. I think back to to what happened and it is almost like somebody else did it. Naw, that's not true. It is really hard. Last night we all went out to dinner, our coaching staff and it was probably the first time we were all together and we could go, 'man, you know what is going on here. It is the first time that we admitted to ourselves that is what we were doing, before it was the next thing, the next thing, the next thing. When you finally sit back and go I don't believe it. If somebody said go back and do it again I was say you are out of your mind."

Those in attendance at the Sun Dome might have believed that the accomplishment came and went with little reaction from UConn. However, Auriemma made sure his players knew that he appreciated what they have accomplished - so far.

"If you are not careful, you don't celebrate things along the way because you have your eye on that one thing that is at the end of the season," Auriemma said. "If you are not careful, the only thing that matters is winning a national championship so all this great stuff that happens along the way, if you are not careful it gets brushed under the rug. Ho hum, ho hum it is just Connecticut winning games again The streak (104-game) it is not for us to jump and down about. Everybody got excited about it but we just finished the regular season undefeated and it is not a big story because it has been done so many times. I think at this point you hate to say it, all that we have done this season it is all going to be determined what happens the next four weekends."

The first of those weekends will be the American Athletic Conference tournament.

UConn received a first-round bye and will play either Tulsa or Memphis in the quarterfinals on Saturday at a listed time of 2 p.m. but it is likely to be closer to 2:30 p.m. as it will start about 30 minutes after the game between UCF and Tulane.

"We can look at it for about two days and be happy with what we accomplished but as soon as we practice on Thursday, we are going to be focused because there is so much more that we want to do as a team," Samuelson said. "We are just kind of getting to where we are looking (to be). This season has been great so far and we had our ups and downs but we are at a good place right now."

Here is the American Athletic Conference tournament bracket with all the games being played at Mohegan Sun Arena and as I mentioned before, UConn's quarterfinal game will not be televised but is being streamed on ESPN3.

No. 9 Tulsa vs. No. 8 Memphis, 4 p.m. (ESPN3)
No. 10 Houston vs. No. 7 Cincinnati, 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
No. 11 East Carolina vs. No. 6 SMU, 8 p.m. (ESPN3)
No. 5 Tulane vs. No. 4 UCF, noon (ESPN3)
Memphis/Tulsa winner vs. No. 1 UConn, 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
Houston/Cincinnati winner vs. No. 2 Temple  6 p.m. (ESPN3)
SMU/East Carolina winner vs. No. 3 USF, 8 p.m. (ESPN3)


Saturday afternoon winners,  5 p.m.(ESPN2)
Saturday evening winners,  7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)


Semifinal winners,  7 p.m.(ESPN2)

UConn's Samuelson on fast track to 1,000 points

UConn sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson needs just eight points to reach 1,000 in her career. This would be her 66th career game which would make her one of the fastest players in program history to get to 1,000.

Here's a list of the quickest to 1,000 points since Geno Auriemma became the head coach.

55: Moore
62: Bascom
63: Abrosimova, Lobo, Stewart
64: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
70: Shea Ralph
72: Kara Wolters
74: Bria Hartley, Nykesha Sales
75: Tina Charles
77: Diana Taurasi
Also, with Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams reaching 1,000 points this season, it would mark the fourth time this season that that at least three Huskies hit 1,000 points in the same season.

2000-01 Swin Cash, Asjha Jones, Tamika Williams
2004-05 Ashley Battle, Jessica. Moore, Ann Strother, Barbara Turner
2012-13 Stefanie Dolson, Kelly Faris, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis

Final day of regular season has arrived

Although it feels like I was at American Athletic Conference media day last week, somehow today is the last day of the regular season.

UConn has wrapped up the regular season title and with a victory at South Florida tonight, the Huskies would have their ninth undefeated regular season. There's still plenty to be determined in terms of the AAC tournament bracket.

UCF is locked into the No. 4 seed and East Carolina will be seeded 11th. Temple will earn the No. 2 seed with a win or USF loss. If Temple loses to UCF and USF pulls off the upset, the Bulls should be the No. 2 seed. The No. 9 and 10 seed scenario is also pretty easy to project. Since Houston swept Tulsa, if the teams finish tied (both are currently 4-11), the Cougars get the No. 9 seed and Tulsa will be seeded 10th. Tulsa would get the No. 9 seed with a win at Cincinnati and Houston loss to SMU.

Now the fun part.

There is a chance of a four-way tie for seeds 5-8.

Tulane earns the No. 5 seed with win but could drop all the way to eighth with a loss and wins by SMU and Cincinnati. Cincinnati would be seeded fifth with a win and Tulane loss. The Bearcats could earn No. 6 or 7 seeds as well while SMU and Memphis could end up at No, 6, 7 or 8.

The pairings won't be finalized until the Houston/SMU and Tulane/Memphis games wrap up around 10 p.m.

The tournament kicks off at Mohegan Sun Arena with three games on Friday. UConn's first game is Saturday around 2 p.m. (probably closer to 2:30 p.m.) with Tulane, Memphis, SMU, Tulsa and Houston in the running to land in the 8/9 game.

First Round - Friday, March 3 
Game 1:
No. 9 seed vs. No. 8 seed - 4 p.m.(ESPN3)
Game 2: No. 10 seed vs. No. 7 seed - 6 p.m.(ESPN3)
Game 3: No. 11 East Carolina vs. No. 6 seed - 8 p.m. (ESPN3)
Quarterfinals - Saturday, March 4
Game 4:
No. 5 seed vs. No. 4 UCF - Noon  (ESPN3)
Game 5: 8/9 winner vs. No. 1 UConn- 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
Game 6: 7/10 winner vs. No. 2 seed - 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Game 7: 6/11 winner vs. No. 3 seed - 8 p.m. (ESPN3)
Semifinals - Sunday, March 5 
Game 8:
 Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner - 5 p.m.(ESPN2)
Game 9: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner - 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Championship Game - Monday, March 6 
Game 10:
Semifinal winners - 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

My understanding is that the plan is for the major awards to be announced Friday with Player of Year, Coach of Year, Scholar-Athlete of Year and Freshman of the Year at a press conference at Mohegan Sun Arena with the other awards being emailed out on Thursday. The coaches vote for these awards so I don't have a say but if I did I would cast by votes for Napheesa Collier for Player of Year, Geno Auriemma for Coach of Year (wouldn't be surprised if UCF's Katie Abrahamson-Henderson earns co-coach of the year honors), Tulsa's Kendrian Elliot for Freshman of Year and Tulane's Leslie Vorpahl as Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Special day at the office for UConn's seniors

The sellout crowd braced for the reaction of all reactions as the ball left Tierney Lawlor's hands and headed to the basket.

The wide-open 3-pointer with 2:08 remaining would have put the perfect capper on the final regular-season home game for Lawlor and fellow senior Saniya Chong. However, watching the ball bounce off the rim was about the only thing that didn't go according to script in the win over Memphis.

After being honored before the game, both seniors had their moments to shine in the 91-48 victory.

Chong finished with 14 points, seven assists (pushing her over 100 during her senior season). Lawlor didn't score but she got a charge out of assisting on Katie Lou Samuelson's four-point play to open the scoring. It was one of her two assists. She also had two rebounds and a steal in 10 minutes of action.

"It was exciting to be recognized," Lawlor said. "It was kind of nerve wracking at the start  but it was a lot of fun."

Lawlor's hometown of Ansonia was well represented in the second home sellout of the season. Some busloads of fans made the trip to watch Lawlor be honored and earn her first career start.

"I think it was fun for them just to come up here and say, 'hey I know her. I hang out with her at
home' and that kind of stuff," Lawlor said.

Chong also had plenty of supporters including her high school coach Dan Ricci from Ossining High School.
"The first couple of years it has been a struggle but T, she has always been with me and helping me
out," Chong said. "It just really makes me happy that we both worked through it. It is our senior year, we've had a great year and a great game

"I was just making sure everybody was out there having fun and even if things didn't go well, at
least we are still working hard and connecting with each other."

In each of the previous three seasons the senior class featured a player who would be a member of the Huskies of Honor. It wasn't lost on UConn coach Geno Auriemma that this group of seniors may not have the star power of past groups but deserved their moment in the sun just as much.

"It is not like we are playing for a championship of anything and it is not like these two kids have
been iconic All-American players since they have been at UConn, they are just two regular kids that
spent a good part of their lives up here," Auriemma said. "Our fans were reminding me of the old days. It reminded me back in the day when we were getting this (a sellout) every game so I know it was really a thrill for Saniya and T to play in front of that kind of crowd on Senior

Last year UConn missed its first 12 shots on Senior Day and trailed by 11 against Tulane. Even though UConn would win by 40, the underclassmen were determined to get rolling a little earlier this time around. Katie Lou Samuelson had 11 of her 29 points in the first quarter, Napheesa Collier had 19 points, six rebounds, two steals and three blocked shots while Gabby Williams contributed 8 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists.

"Sometimes when you are playing in a game like this, the two of them weren't going to make it a memorable night for themselves, they needed help from everybody else and they got it," Auriemma said. "They were just able to play. It was the kind of Senior Night that you want to have, those are the things that are supposed to happen on Senior Night. You get to celebrate and you get to play well and bask in a little bit of the glow."

A few notes:

UConn is now 144-1 since the seniors arrived giving UConn the top eight winningest senior classes in NCAA Division I women's basketball history.

Collier now has 51 steals and 52 blocked shots. She joins Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart as only UConn players with 50 steals and 50 blocks in the same season. Among current Division I women's basketball players, only UCLA's Monique Billings, Loyola Marymount's Jackie Johnson and Alyssa James of Binghamton join Collier in the 50-50 club.

Last but certainly not least, Auriemma said that junior guard Kia Nurse (who missed her third game in a row due to a stress reaction in her right ankle) is expected back on the court next week.

"Wednesday she should be getting back into some sort of basketball stuff, how much I don't know," Auriemma said. "Where will she be by Saturday when we play our first game (in the AAC tournament) ? I don't know. She told me she is playing. I said, 'I heard you are playing, I am penciling you in for the second round of the NCAA tournament. That didn't go over too well. I might get a hockey puck at my head of something."

UConn has clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the AAC tournament. Barring an upset by USF on Monday, Temple, USF and UCF will be seeded second, third and fourth while East Carolina is locked into the No. 11 seed.

UConn will open up on Saturday against the winner of the 8/9 game at 2 p.m. (according to the bracket on the AAC site, 2 p.m. on the schedule on the UConn site). With a win the Huskies would play either at 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. in Sunday's semifinals. It should be noted that as of right now the quarterfinal game IS NOT scheduled to be televised but is being streamed on ESPN3. The first semifinal will air on ESPN2 while the title game is also on ESPN2.

I would be remiss without mentioning that with Lawlor starting, somebody had to fill in on her normal job of high fiving teammates after a made 3-pointer. The first time I looked over there, it was Azura' Stevens doing the honors.

Ansonia's Lawlor getting her moment in spotlight

Ansonia's Tierney Lawlor will make her first career start today as UConn will play its final regular season game at Gampel Pavilion (although the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament will be in Storrs).

I went back and looked at how other players from the Greater New Haven area and here's how they did in their final regular-season

Maria Conlon (Derby) 12 points, 5 assists in 100-72 win over West Virginia on Mar. 2, 2004
Marci Czel (Guilford) 9 points, 2 assists, 2 steals in 118-44 win over St. John's on Feb. 23, 2001
Krista Blomquist 9 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists in 80-54 win over Pittsburgh on Feb. 13, 1988

There will be multiple bus loads of fans from Ansonia at the game as Lawlor and fellow senior Saniya Chong get honored as part of the Senior Day festivities.

UConn signees Walker, Espinoza-Hunter shine in postseason victories

While their future team is currently on the longest winning streak in NCAA basketball history, UConn signees Megan Walker and Andra Espinoza-Hunter are piling up the wins as well.

Megan Walker had 24 points to lead Monacan High School to its second consecutive Virginia 4A East title with a hard-earned 74-65 victory over King's Fork.

It was Walker's 17th straight game with at least 20 points and leaves her 16 points shy of 2,000 in her career. It was also the 50th consecutive win for Monacan which now prepares for a run at a third consecutive state title.
Andra Espinoza-Hunter had 37 points (her 16th 30-point game of the season), six rebounds and five assists to lead Ossining to a 93-63 victory over New Rochelle in the New York Section 1 Class AA quarterfials to set up a matchup with Lourdes in the semifinals on Thursday at 8:15 p.m. at the Westchester County Center.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

UConn's Lawlor has found her calling

There will be more than one busload of Tierney Lawlor's supporters making the way up to Storrs from Ansonia and other parts of the Naugatuck Valley for Saturday's game against Memphis.

The final regular season home game in Lawlor's career will come against the Tigers in what figures to be a sold-out Gampel Pavilion. Although UConn could play as many as seven postseason games in the state of Connecticut including two at Gampel in the NCAA tournament, Saturday will be the time for seniors Saniya Chong and Lawlor as well as senior team managers, cheerleaders, dance team and band members to be recognized.

Lawlor will be the first Connecticut native to get a jersey presented to her by UConn coach Geno Auriemma on Senior Day/Night since Heather Buck in 2013.

Lawlor would prefer to leave the spotlight for others. After a recent practice Lawlor finished up the longest question and answer session with the media when she looked at UConn women's basketball sports information director Pat McKenna and expressed amazement that she was the last one there conducting interviews. She will be front and center around 4:30 p.m. during the pregame ceremony with so many people who watched her as a three-sport athlete at Ansonia High School.

“I think they will be very proud," Lawlor said. “They have supported me all four years, which is great. Every time that I go home they are always asking about basketball and that kind of stuff. It is a lot of fun to have that kind of support.”

Lawlor's support system will also be there when she leaves basketball behind at season's end for the next stage of her life.

“My degree is sustainable farm and ranch management,” Lawlor said. “Eventually I want to have my own farm. After school I want to get some hands-on field experience. Then I will go from there.”

When she said that, it really piqued my interest. I grew up on a farm in New Hampshire or at least until I was 8. One of the most unforgettable moments is being woken up by my brother when I was 6 or 7 because one of our horses was giving birth. I told her that story before asking her what her best memory was in working with animals either at home or during one of her internships.

“They calve year round over here at the Kellogg Dairy Center,” Lawlor said. “My summer internship like the first week I had to help pull a calf. I had never done it before. When we worked nights, we would have to pull calves if they were calving at night. It is a great experience. It is eye opening and it is a lot of fun to be a part of. I love bottle feeding calves."

“I have had labs,” Lawlor said. “I think the hardest part was schedule-wise in terms of practice and basketball activities and school. We figured that out. I was able to take all the classes I needed which was great. I enjoyed it. I love learning about something I really like."

Lawlor, who originally planned to major in engineering, wants to own a farm.

“I knew I wanted to do animals,” Lawlor said. “I worked at a horse barn in high school. I actually came in here in engineering, but I didn’t like it and I switched to animal science right away.

“At home it was just horses. Here I worked with dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep, chickens. I wanted to do something different and broaden my horizons a little bit.

“I don’t really have a set plan yet, but I like to be outside, I like to get my hands dirty, and I love animals,” Lawlor said. “Those are three things you need to be a farmer so I am pretty excited.”

3 UConn recruits to play in Jordan Brand Classic

UConn incoming freshmen Mikalyla Coombs, Lexi Gordon and Megan Walker are among 24 players selected to play in the girls game at the Jordan Brand Classic which will be played on April 14 at the Barclays Center in New York.

Coombs, a guard at the Wesleyan School in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, is averaging 16.3 points, 6.8 rebouns, 4.7 assists and 4 steals per game as a senior.

Gordon, a guard/forward out of LD Bell High Schoo in Hurat, Texas, averaged 22.7 and 7.3 rebounds in her final high school season.

Walker, a forward for undefeated and nationally-ranked Monacan High in Richmond, Virginia, is averaging 26.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3 steals per game heading into tonight's playoff game against Lake Taylor.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

UConn rolls by Temple to clinch AAC title

When a team is four-time defending national champions and on the longest winning streak in NCAA basketball history, a little thing like clinching a regular-season conference title can be overlooked.

However, sophomore forward Napheesa Collier declared after the 90-45 victory over Temple that this was indeed a big deal even if that - other a team photo being taken with the championship trophy - the accomplishment came without an outpouring of emotion from the players involved.

"I've really proud of what we've been able to accomplish so I am happy," Collier said. "Part of it is us adjusting to our new roles. Everybody is in a different role than we were last year so kind of molding ourselves into the players we have become is really helping us right now. This is really exciting for us. Any championship is fun so we are all happy about today."

Collier led the way with a career-high 31 points along with 13 rebounds, four assists and three blocks/ She was 13 for 14 from the field (2 for 2 from 3-point range) and made all three of her foul shots. It was her fifth 20-point game in the last seven games. She has also finished with between 9-13 rebounds in each of the last eight games as she is on a roll that would rival anything UConn greats of the past have accomplished in the month of February.

One thing Collier did not do is record either a steal or blocked shot in the second half otherwise she would have joined Maya Moore and former teammate Breanna Stewart as the only Huskies to have 50 steals and 50 blocks in the same season. That will have to wait until Saturday when UConn hosts Memphis at 4:30 p.m. UCLA"s Monique Billings and Loyola Marymount's Jackie Johnson are the only women's Division I players to accomplish that feat although Alyssa James of Binghamton can get there with a steal in tomorrow's game.

Gabby Williams was a perfect 7 for 7 from the field as she had 15 points and seven rebounds despite missing the second quarter due to foul trouble.

The ability to get out in transition (UConn had 21 fast-break points) and defense on the Owls' perimeter players were among the keys to turning what could have been a competitive game into a blowout.

"We kind of pride ourselves on transition so the fact that we were able to do that today was good," Collier said.

Williams scored the 1,000th point of her career in the third quarter and fittingly it came on a jump shot since both Williams and Collier have been looking to be more aggressive at taking and making shots away from the basket to make the prospect of guarding them all the more difficult.

"Teams are trying to find ways to stop us one way, kind of sagging off me so I can't get it to her," Williams said. "They are kind of playing off of her but now they can't do that because she is hitting every outside jumpers."

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Being sidelined is a new experience for UConn's Kia Nurse

Few things have tested Kia Nurse's resolve since her arrival at UConn more than having to sit and watch her team struggle to pull out a three-point win at Tulane on Saturday.

Nurse made the trip to New Orleans but with her ailing right ankle/foot being protected by a boot, she missed the first game of her collegiate career. Watching her teammates struggle to put away the Green Wave was more painful than any physical discomfort she was and is feeling.

"You want to be in there, you want to be in practice and those kinds of things but it is a different role for me right now," Nurse said after Tuesday's practice. "I am still trying to be a leader, still trying an energy plug as much as I can, help them in any way I can. They grinded it out, they battled."

Nurse and fellow junior have stepped into leadership roles this season so that left Nurse with the realization that feeling sorry for herself was not going to help her teammates.

"When you get injured, that first little bit when they tell you what happened and what is wrong with you, you go, 'woe is me,'" Nurse said. "It is not a mindset you can have as a leader on the team in the position I am in right now, I understand i have to be the one who still has the energy, still there to help them through."

Nurse will not play tomorrow against Temple and is not expected to be out there when UConn hosts Memphis on Saturday in the final regular season game at Gampel Pavilion. The best-case scenario is for her to be reexamined after the Memphis game and there is a chance she could return for the regular-season finale at South Florida. The good news is that the Huskies have nearly a week off between the end of the regular season and quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament so there is time for Nurse to get back into the flow.

500-500 VISION
With Napheesa Collier joining fellow sophomore Kaite Lou Samuelson with more than 500 points, I decided to do some checking and they are the third set of UConn classmates to score at least 500 points in a season.

The first time it happened was during the 2001-02 season when seniors Swin Cash (580 points), Sue Bird (563) and Asjha Jones (547) accomplished the feat. Breanna Stewart (686 points) and Morgan Tuck (562) did it as well during the 2014-15 season. It also happened in the 1998-99 season when sophomores Svetlana Abrosimova (564) and Shea Ralph (503) both hit the 500-point plateau but Ralph came into UConn a year before Abrosimova and only got to be in the same class due to missing a season due to a knee injury.

This season the only other teammates with 500 points are Syracuse's Alexis Peterson and Brittany Sykes and Maryland's Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough.

Another crazy stat is this -

The last time I could find that UConn played in back to back games decided by single digits came against LSU (a 74-69 win) and DePaul (a 77-76 victory) during the 2007-08 season. .

UConn signee Megan Walker a finalist for Naismith Player of Year award

UConn incoming freshman Megan Walker is one of five finalists for the Naismirh Girls High School Player of the Year award.

Walker, a senior forward at Monacan High School, is averaging 25.9 points, 7.7 reboinds, 1.4 assists, 3.1 steals and 0.9 blocked shots per game with six 30-point games and five double-doubles.

Texas commit Reliah Boothe,Louisville signee Dena Evans and Tennessee recruits Anastasia Hayes and Evina Westbrook are the other finalists.

The winner will be named on March 9.

If Walker wins that would mean that four of the last seven winners were UConn signees. Katie Lou Samuelson won the award when she was a senior as did Breanna Stewart and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. Former Huskies Maya Moore (a two-time winner), Ann Strother, Diana Taurasi and Tamika Williams are also former winners of the award.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Look at NCAA's latest top 16 seeds

The NCAA top 16 seeds heading into today's games were announced at halftime of Maryland/Ohio State game. This is the last time the NCAA committee puts out there which teams are the No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 seeds until the tournament bracket is announced.

Not surprisingly UConn is the No. 1 overall seed as the Huskies are the only remaining undefeated team and own wins against six of the other top 16 seeds.

Mississippi State, Baylor and Notre Dame are the other No. 1 seeds. Here's a look at how the teams would matchup if the tournament began right now.

1. UConn
2. Oregon State
3. Florida State
4. Oklahoma

1. Mississippi State
2. Maryland
3. Stanford
4. Kentucky

1. Baylor
2. Texas
3. Duke
4. Louisville

1. Notre Dame
2. South Carolina
3. Washington

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Valiant effort by Tulane falls just shot as UConn extends streak

Before the season began my belief was that Tulane could be the second-best team in the American Athletic Conference.

I haven't hid my enthusiasm for the way Kolby Morgan plays the game, in my opinion she is the best non-UConn player in the conference. When the Green Wave faced UConn at Gampel Pavilion in January the junior guard had 22 points but received little help from her teammates as the Huskies rolled to a 100-56 victory. Senior guard Leslie Vorpahl had 11 of Tulane's 26 turnovers in that game. It was a different story tonight. Vorpahl had 16 points and six assists. She hit some tough shots all game long.

UConn gave Tulane every chance to win the game whether it was 18 turnovers including some of the hard to believe variety. UConn was also 5 for 12 from the foul line in the fourth quarter. UConn's offense, except when the ball was in the hands of Napheesa Collier, was stagnant. Gabby Williams looked tentative and Katie Lou Samuelson continues to miss shots that you'd expect her to make. It didn't help that junior guard Kia Nurse missed the game and according to a report from SNY, she could sit the next couple of weeks to get healthy for the postseason. Her leadership and talent was missed on the court.

There was also some horrendous, horrendous officiating. The fourth foul on Collier was laughable. There were more than a few ticky tack fouls on both sides, a couple on rebounds that went against Tulane. The same official who called No. 4 on Collier made another terrible call against UConn blowing the whistle before any contact was made. There were also two times when it looked to me like Katie Lou Samuelson was fouled when she was NOT in the act of shooting and was awarded two shots both times.

The sad thing about this game is that is it the exception and not the rule. There's no reason why Tulane couldn't have put up a better fight when the teams met in Storrs. Sure, a three-point loss to UConn could be viewed by the selection committee as being more impressive than a win over another time but the positive impact from this performance is negated by the no show back in January.

While the style was much different, UConn's playing not to lose mindset is rather unusual but it has happened before. In some ways this game reminded me of the Huskies last loss to an unranked team five years to the date of tonight's near escape. On that night St. John's rode some clutch offensive plays from its veterans and a strong defensive effort to stun the Huskies 57-56. That St. John's team and this Tulane team couldn't be more different. The Red Storm had the ability to beat UConn off the dribble and was an outstanding offensive rebounding team. Despite Shenneika Smith's game-winning 3-pointer with 8 seconds left, the Red Storm usually did not make a living on the 3-point shot. Tulane can live and die at times on its perimeter offense and the Green Wave came into the game ranking 10th out of 11 AAC teams in offensive rebounds.

The good news is that for UConn it could be a throw some cold water in your face kind of a moment. It is also a reminder that even the best teams can get caught up in the moment. Was there a hangover from the win against South Carolina and hoopla from the 100th straight victory? Perhaps. But it was also a case of a Tulane team that could very well make the NCAA tournament (although the loss to Memphis is a killer) not backing down.  The next game is against a very good Temple team and the final game of the regular season will be at South Florida, a team with a lot to play for especially after a humbling 65-point loss to UConn on Jan. 10.

I'll end this post with a little housekeeping. If USF beats Temple tomorrow the Huskies will have clinched at least a share of the AAC regular-season title since both Temple and USF would be three games back with three games left. A win by USF would pretty much wrap up a top three seed for the Bulls leaving Tulane, Cincinnati, UCF and Memphis to fight it out for seeds No. 4-7. Currently SMU and Tulsa are sitting in the No. 8 and 9 slots meaning they would meet in the opening round of the AAC tournament with the winner drawing UConn in the quarterfinals. Wednesday's SMU/Memphis game could give SMU a chance to move out of the dreaded 8/9 game.

Former UConn star Rebecca Lobo a finalist for Naismith Hall of Fame

The Naismith Hall of Fame Class of 2017 finalists were announcer today and leading the list on the women's side is former UConn star Rebecca Lobo.

Lobo was the national player of the year as a senior when she led the Huskies to their first undefeated season culminating with a victory in the 1995 national championship game.

When she graduated she ranked second in program history with 2,133 points (she is currently ninth) and was the career leader in rebounds and blocked shots. Lobo was also named the NCAA Woman of the Year and was the first of three Huskies to earn Academic All-American of the Year honors.

A member of the gold-medal winning 1996 Olympic team, Lobo's professional career was cut short due to injury but she has been a visible part of the game as an announcer for ESPN.

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw, whose Fighting Irish teams are responsible for seven of the last 11 losses suffered by UConn, is also a finalist as is Baylor coach Kim Mulkey along with the 1950s Wayland Baptist team which owns the women's basketball record with a 131-game winning streak.

Friday, February 17, 2017

UConn's Kia Nurse to be game-time decision

There's nothing new to report on Kia Nurse's tender right ankle.

Nurse was clearly hobbled a season-low 18 minutes in Monday's win over South Carolina. Nurse was able to play in the second half, although for only a total of 5:52.

Nurse is considered to be a game-time decision which means her status may not be determined until the shootaround the day of the game as the UConn medical staff will need to determine whether Nurse will benefit enough from sitting her out to have her miss Saturday's game at Tulane.

Nurse has never missed a game in her time at UConn and certainly if it is left up to her, she will play but we'll have to see how UConn proceeds tomorrow especially with UConn not playing again until Wednesday.

SNY is televising the game so I would expect sideline reporter Justine Ward to be at the shootaround, you can check her Twitter account (@JustineBWard) for an update at or after the shootaround.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

UConn signee Espinoza-Hunter a finalist for Miss New York Basketball

UConn incoming freshman Andra Espinoza-Hunter is one of five finalists for the Miss New York Basketball Award.

Espinoza-Hunter is averaging 37 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals per game as a senior at Ossining (N.Y.) High School.

Other finalists are Katherine Cain of Pine Bush, Annabelle Hinds of Northstar Christian Academy, Danielle Patterson of Mary Louis Academy, Caroline White of  Fairport High School.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Playoffs set for trio of UConn signees; Update on former Husky

While their future team still has four regular-season games left to play, it is one and done time for UConn signees Andra Espinoza-Hunter and Mikalya Coombs.

Espinoza-Hunter's Ossining High team earned the No. 1 seed in the New York Section 1 Class AA tournament and will host the winner of the White Plains/Clarkstown North game on Saturday at noon. The quarterfinals are set for Feb. 24 with Ossining hosting if it wins its opener. The semifinals and finals will be played on Mar. 2 and 5 at Westchester County Center.

Espinoza-Hunter is averaging 37.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3.3 steals with 71 3-pointers in 19 games.

Coombs' Wesleyan School team received a first-round bye in the Georgia Class A tournament and will play the winner of the Savannah Christian/George Walton on Feb. 22. The quarterfinals are Feb. 28, the semifinals are March 4. The Holy Innocents' team that Wesleyan just beat to win the district title is on the other half of the bracket so a rematch wouldn't take place until the state final if both teams get there.

Coombs is averaging 16.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 4.1 steals per game in 28 games for Wesleyan.

Fellow UConn incoming freshman Megan Walker (averaging 26.1 points, 7..5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game) will have to wait for the state playoffs to start but did net 32 points to lead her Monacan (Va.) High School team to a 79-60 win over Huguenot to advance to Friday's Conference 20 title game.

Lexi Gordon, the other player in UConn's recruiting class, saw her high school career end when LD Bell lost to Plano 59-41 on Tuesday. Gordon finished with 21 points and five rebounds as she had more than 2,500 career points and exactly 1,000 rebounds in her career.

In her final game, LD Bell Sr @Lexi_g34 grabbed 5 rebs to finish her high school career with 1,000 boards #uconn #txhshoops @theroyreport

Former UConn commit De'Janae Boykin will miss the rest of Penn State's season according to a report.

Boykin averaged 4.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in six games. Since she transferred at the end of last year's fall semester, she wasn't eligible to play until the fall semester was completed.

The report indicates that Boykin suffered a lower leg/ankle injury.

Report: UConn to play Ohio State at site of 2018 Final Four

UConn didn't mess around in its non-conference schedule this season opening up on the road against Florida State before hosting Baylor. Well, it looks like there will be another tough test to open up the 2017-18 season.

There was a press conference today in Columbus, Ohio revealing the logo for the 2018 Final Four. It was also announced that Nationwide Arena will host a doubleheader on Nov. 12 with Ohio State playing UConn and Stanford meeting Louisville in the "Countdown to Columbus" event.

There's a chance that could be the first game for transfers Azura' Stevens and Batouly Camara as well as the debuts for incoming freshmen Mikayla Coombs, Andra Espinoza-Hunter, Lexi Gordon and Megan Walker but we'll have to see on that is the case because the Huskies could play a game as early as Nov. 10 next season.

Former UConn star Kara Wolters will be a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame induction class later this year and now comes word that she will receive the Red O'Neill Award on April 26, when The UConn Club hosts its 64th Annual Awards Ceremony at the Jorgensen Center For The Performing Arts.

Here's the release from UConn

The Red O'Neill Award is given annually by The UConn Club to a former Husky student-athlete who has mirrored the Red O'Neill-type attributes of character, leadership, athletic ability, and later, a successful career.

The UConn Club Awards Program begins with a social hour at 6:00 p.m. with heavy hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. The awards ceremony will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a dessert reception to follow. The event is open to the public and ticket information will be announced soon.

Wolters played for the Huskies from 1993-97 and was a member of the 1995 national championship team and ’96 Final Four squad. She was the Associated Press National Player of the Year as a senior and was a two-time First Team All-American as a junior and senior by the AP.

Wolters’ selection to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame was announced last week and she will be inducted on June 10 in Knoxville, Tenn.

Wolters was the Big East Conference Player of the Year as a senior and the Big East Tournament MVP as a junior and senior.

Wolters remains eighth in school history in career rebounds with 927 and is third in blocks with 370.

She was a member of the 2000 United States Olympic team that won a gold medal and was also a member of the 1997 USA national team. In 1996, she won a gold medal with the United States at the World University Games. Wolters was an alternate for the 1996 United States Olympic team.

Wolters played five seasons in the WNBA for Houston, Indiana and Sacramento and also played for the New England Blizzard of the ABL in 1998. As a rookie, she was part of Houston’s 1998 WNBA championship team.

She is one of only nine women’s basketball players in history to win an NCAA Championship, an Olympic gold medal and a WNBA Championship. Wolters was a member of the inaugural class of the Huskies of Honor recognition program.

Wolters currently serves as a studio host for UConn women’s basketball games on SNY. Her broadcasting duties also included a stint as the color analyst for UConn games on WTIC NewsTalk.

She operates the Dream Big Basketball Camps each summer, gives private basketball lessons and serves as a motivational speaker.

Wolters is a native of Holliston, Mass., and played at Holliston High School. She and her husband, Sean Drinan, have two daughters -- Sydney Elizabeth and Delaney Katherine.

Wolters is involved in fundraising for The Michael Carter Lisnow Respite Center in Hopkinton, Mass. The center provides emotional and physical support for individuals with disabilities and their families. Wolters’ sister, Katie, benefited greatly from the services of the center before passing away in 2004.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Collier delivers again for UConn

The whistle blew and the news was not good for Napheesa Collier.

On a night when her team could not afford to have the sophomore forward on the bench, Collier was expecting to be take a seat after she picked up her second foul with 3:51 left in the second quarter. However, UConn coach Geno Auriemma never went to his bench except to give the hobbled Kia Nurse a break with 2:09 remaining in the first half.

Collier not only didn't pick up her third foul but scored all the points in a 7-0 run to end the half. No play was bigger than a steal and layup just before the second quarter came to an end. Instead of South Carolina hitting a basket so it could be a one-possession once again, she stepped in front of a Bianca Cuevas-Moore pass and went coast to coast for the layup.

"It was such a momentum changer going into halftime ending with a steal and a layup," Collier said.

The third foul came just 2:46 into the third quarter and once again she remained on the court. Collier delivered again with one of her most memorable plays of the season.  Collier had just scored to push the lead to nine points late in the third quarter. On the next possession she grabbed a rebound after a missed jumper by Kaela Davis. Two South Carolina players attempted to tie her up but she aggressively protected the ball and started up the court. Collier was rewarded with a pass from Saniya Chong en route to a three-point play with 3 seconds  left in the third qiuarter to give UConn a 12-point lead.

"It is just about hustle plays and that is what I try to do," Collier said.

Collier's issues with fouls did not end in the third quarter. She picked up foul No. 4 with 7:21 left. Classmate Katie Lou Samuelson also had four fouls and UConn's top two scorers this season went to the bench with the Huskies holding a 13-point lead.

When they came back in with 3:16 to play UConn's lead was pushed to 16 points. Collier wouldn't finish the game on the court as she was called for an offensive foul trying to score in transition just 15 seconds later.

"A lot of my fouls, I shouldn't have (committed) especially my fourth one I shouldn't have  pushed her from behind," Collier said. "I think what I should have done was let that go. I think I need to play a little smarter."

Collier finished with 18 points and nine rebounds despite playing less than three minutes in the fourth quarter as UConn extended its NCAA basketball all-division record for consecutive wins to 100 games.

Although the 6-foot-1 Collier and 5-foot-11 Gabby Williams gave up a total of nine inches to the South Carolina duo of Alaina Coates and A'ja Wilson, they combined to outscore them 44-27 and outrebound them 23-20.

"There were some adjustments that we made and we tried to keep it out of the high post, we did a good  job with it," Collier said. :In the first half they got a couple of layups on us but I think we tried to adjust with our guards to trap, I think we made the right adjustments."

Collier also credited the energetic student section for making it an electric environment.

"Today was crazy," Collier said. "The student section was amazing. I don't think we've had that many students before since I have been here so having them all come out and support us and how great the environment was, I think that really helped us."

Seeing a UConn team open the season with 25 straight wins is hardly a new phenomenon as it is something that has happened nine times since the 1994-95 season including five times in the last nine campaigns.

However, a quick look at the national standings provides an indication of how impressive of a run it has been for this UConn team.

UConn owns wins against the leaders and/or co-leaders in the ACC (Florida State and Notre Dame), Atlantic 10 (Dayton), Big 12 (Texas), Big 10 (Maryland), SEC (South Carolina, although UConn has not played co-leader Mississippi State) and Southern (Chattanooga). So UConn has beaten the first-place team in five of the top seven conferences in the latest RPI. One of those conferences the Huskies don't own a win over the No. 1 team is the American Athletic Conference since the Huskies can't beat themselves while there were no games scheduled against the Pac-12, the conference with the top RPI.

ESPN announced that top-ranked UConn’s 66-55 milestone 100th-consecutive victory over No. 6 South Carolina on Monday delivered a 0.9 overnight rating, marking the highest-rated college basketball game on ESPN2 this season among men’s and women’s telecasts, and the highest-rated women’s college basketball regular season game since 2010.

Online, the game also attracted 69,000 unique viewers with a total of 1,700,000 minutes watched, which makes this matchup the most streamed women’s college basketball regular-season game to date televised by ESPN. The Big Monday matchup ties Tennessee vs. Duke (Jan. 23, 2006) as the fourth-highest regular-season women’s college basketball game across all ESPN networks.

Local markets: Hartford/New Haven, the No. 1 local market, earned a 14.3 local rating, making this the highest-rated women’s college basketball game in market across all ESPN networks since 2010. Greenville was second with 2.3 rating, followed by Knoxville (2.0), Charlotte (1.7) and Cincinnati (1.6).

Williams, Collier lead UConn to 100th win in a row

Gabby Williams has had some masterful games this season but it could be argued that she never had a bigger impact from start to finish than she did in the 66-55 win over South Carolina, a victory that extended the Huskies' NCAA basketball all-division record for consecutive wins to 100.

Williams had a career-high 26 points to go with 14 rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocked shots despite going up against either 6-foot-5 A'ja Wilson or 6-foot-4 Alaina Coates for most of the game.

"You can't explain Gabby Williams ever having any expectations of ever being Maya Moore and with a Maya Moore performance tonight exactly when she needed it exactly when it needed to be done," Auriemma said. "Did we know when it was going to happen but we just know when we recruit kids, it is going to happen and they believe it because it is expected."

It just so happened that Moore was one of the alumni sitting behind the bench. Williams' former teammates Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck were among the UConn alumni row.
"It felt great especially with the alumni there especially with Stewie and Tuck there because I think those guys have kind of watched me grow," Williams said. "This game was won by effort, I am really proud of how tough and composed we were today."
Collier finished with 18 points and nine rebounds as she teamed with Williams to outscored South Carolina's All-American frontcourt tandem of Wilson and Coates 44-27 they also had 23 rebounds, three more than Coates and Wilson combined for.

The Huskies wrapped up the non-conference portion of the schedule with a perfect 13-0 record playing eight ranked teams and another that would be ranked after the Huskies played them. Four games remain in the regular season beginning with Saturday's game at Tulane.

Kia Nurse only played in six minutes due to a tender ankle. She wanted no part of discussing her health after the game but she did see some time late in the game as she hit a key 3-pointer late. With Nurse scoring just three points and Katie Lou Samuelson finishing with a season-low six points, the Huskies still emerged with a hard-fought victory.

"Sometimes it is just meant to be, it is the best thing I can say," Auriemma said. "I didn't go into tonight's game with as much confidence as in the Maryland game, at Notre Dame and some of those other games. I thought tonight was going to be a really difficult game for us to win  under the best of circumstances because I could see happening what happened. I've been saying to anybody who was following our team all year long that we are one injury, a couple fouls away from just being average at best but it was meant to be. You could see the signs, Saniya took two charges, that is like (seeing) Haley's Comet, Lou got an offensive rebound and got fouled. That is the biggest phenomenon I've seen so things were happening out there that you can't explain."
Another key part to the win was freshman Crystal Dangerfield's 30 quality minutes as she had a game-high seven assists. There will be more on her coming up in Wednesday's paper.

Monday, February 13, 2017

UConn's crazy stat of the day

One of the things that caught my eye when I was doing my research on South Carolina is that in six games against ranked teams, the Gamecocks have drawn an average of 25 fouls per game (actually 24.5) including 29 called against Ohio State and Texas.

With that information, I started looking and UConn has lost its last seven games when being called for at least 24 fouls

Jan. 15, 2001 UConn called for 32 fouls and lost 92-76 at Notre Dame
Feb. 1, 2001: UConn called for 30 fouls and lost 92-88 at Tennessee
Mar. 30, 2001: UConn called for 28 fouls and lost 90-75 to Notre Dame in the Final Four
Jan. 7, 2006: UConn called for 30 fouls and lost 89-80 at Tennessee
Jan. 15, 2007: UConn called for 25 fouls and lost 82-76 at North Carolina
Mar. 4, 2013: UConn called for 27 fouls and lost 96-87 in triple overtime at Notre Dame
Nov. 17, 2014: UConn called for 24 fouls and lost 88-86 in overtime at Stanford

Obviously other than the Final Four loss to Notre Dame, the other games have been on the road.

My hope is that this is the last I have to write about fouls today and the top players from both teams can play for as long as their coaches want them in there.

UConn's streak: By the Numbers

Here's a breakdown of some numbers from UConn's 90-game winning streak during the Maya Moore era and the current run of 99 wins in a row

2007-10   2014-present
90 Games                   99
29 Ranked opponents 27
40 Games trailed         43
114:38 Time trailed 155:17
19 Players  18
82.7 Points scored 88.1
49.3 Points allowed 49.4
33.4 Scoring margin 38.7
1221 Off. rebounds 1255
3910 Rebounds 4110
1117 Rebound margin  1025
1785 Assists  2171
832   Steals  1074
481  Blocks  655
584 3-pointers 782
1269 Turnovers 1199
51.1 FG percentage 53.2
35.9 3-point pct. 39.1
73.1 Free throw pct. 76.8
31.6 FG defense 32.4
27.6 3-point defense 27.4
64.9 FT defense 67.3
Games decided by 20 points or less: 2008-10 20; 2014-present 15
Games decided by more than 40 points: 2008-10 28; 2014-present 59

Traffic alert for those driving to UConn/South Carolina game

A serious accident involving a tractor trailer on I-84 could create some issues for people driving into tonight's UConn/South Carolina women's basketball game.

The last update I've seen is that I-84 is currently closed caused by a crash near exit 68 on I-84.

UConn sent out a release recommending drivers take alternate routes to the game.

Interstate 384 east to Route 44 east through Coventry and into Mansfield, turning right on Discovery Drive to enter campus.

Interstate 84 east to Exit 67 (Route 31). Turn right at end of exit and follow Route 31 to Route 44 in Coventry. Turn left on Route 44 and continue through Coventry and into Mansfield, turning right on Discovery Drive to enter campus.

Westbound traffic on I-84 from Massachusetts and other points is not expected to be affected by the eastbound problems, and should still be able to take Exit 68 onto Route 195 to campus.

Drivers should be able to take their regular routes home after the game.

Not everybody ready to celebrate UConn's dominance

I have to admit that I've found the feedback to the UConn women's basketball team's winning ways to be a bit of a curiosity,

There certainly are those who appreciate what the Huskies do game in, game out and season in, season out but on days like today when UConn goes after its 100th win in a row it seems like they are in the silent minority,

There are the "anybody but UConn" women's basketball people who believe that ESPN's coverage is of the "all UConn all the time" variety. That could be close to being true the last couple of days when ESPN going from not even taking wins No. 89, 90 and 91 in a row as the UConn games it chose to broadcast this season to going somewhat overboard in the promotion of the game over these last few days. It has culminated with tonight's contest at South Carolina likely being the most heavily promoted regular season women's college basketball in history. I can't even imagine the mood of those "tired of UConn" people right about now or what they were feeling when their team had a game on one of ESPN's channels and there was constant chatter during the game and at halftime about UConn's dominance. South Carolina coach Dawn Staley referenced this when she said (with a smile on her face), "probably everybody in America is going to be cheering for us" after the Gamecocks' most recent game.

Those people I mentioned above aren't even close to being to people most annoyed by the attention UConn is receiving. I'm sure if I logged into Twitter right now it wouldn't take much effort to find the "you couldn't pay me to watch the UConn women's basketball team play" or "yawn, another 20-point win" or of course the, "why are they comparing this to men's basketball."

When ESPN college basketball college analyst calls Gabby Williams the most complete player in the game (meaning the men's and women's game) there have been plenty of social media posts wondering why she wasn't recruited by one of the elite men's programs. The next one of these that is as humorous as the person typing into their keyboard thinks that it is would be the first. Yes, players and teams in women's basketball can be celebrated without the men's basketball faithful being threatened. Not that anybody asked my advice but if you don't have an interest in women's college basketball, don't watch. My Twitter feed last night was inundated with posts about the Grammy Awards which is something I had zero interest in watching. I thought it's great that there are those who can't wait for that show to be shown on television and I wouldn't dream of posting my disdain at watching the Grammy Awards, I merely watched something else.

Auriemma has heard all of this before and he is the one who has to answer these questions even though he has never claimed that his program is superior to the UCLA men's basketball teams in the 1970s. Auriemma followed those teams especially when Philadelphia raised guards Walt Hazzard and Andre McCarter played for Wooden.

Naturally, the UCLA subject was raised in the press conference after UConn beat SMU for win No. 99 in a row.

"You couldn't tell me what UCLA stands for and I could put you a mile from their campus and you wouldn't know where it was," Auriemma said of the naysayers. "You've never seen them play back in those days, you don't know anything about their program, who they beat, how they got to the Final Four, how they won championships, you know nothing about them, you just know, 'I hate women's basketball and you are not UCLA.' I get that but back then the game of college basketball wasn't viewed as it was today, there was no competition."

Auriemma has incredible respect for what John Wooden accomplished and it has been well documented over the years. He still laughs when he recalls an unforgettable face to face meeting he had with Wooden only to see an interview with Wooden years later when he said he never met Auriemma.

Knowing how competitive Auriemma is, I am sure he would love for games like tonight to the rule and not the exception. If all he wanted to do was extend a winning streak, he wouldn't have scheduled games at Florida State, at Maryland, at Notre Dame or home games with Baylor and South Carolina since any or all of those teams could have beaten the Huskies. He wouldn't have pushed for the American Athletic Conference schedule to be cut from 18 to 16 games so he could add more challenging non-conference games to UConn's schedule, I'm sure he'd be just fine if things were like they were during the 2000-01 season when he had one of his most talented teams featuring seven future first-round WNBA draft picks and five future Olympians only to suffer losses to impressive Notre Dame and Tennessee teams. It forced all three programs to raise the level of their play. Those UConn/Tennessee games when Tamika Catchings and Svetlana Abrosimova were suiting up were women's basketball's version of must-see TV. If South Carolina, Notre Dame, Baylor, Maryland or another team rises to that level, that would be a good thing for that program and the sport. It wasn't that long ago when Notre Dame won seven out of eight games against UConn or Baylor was being touted as having potentially the best team in the sport's history when Brittney Griner and Odyssey Sims shared the court for the Lady Bears. It is quite possible that one of those teams will be cutting down the nets at the Final Four or maybe it will title No. 12 for UConn.

Auriemma appreciates the teaching impact that a loss can bring. The stunning defeat to Villanova in the 2003 Big East tournament final set the stage for the Huskies winning the national title last year and the 2014 loss to Stanford forced some of the Huskies' role players to take a good, hard look in the mirror resulting in the history-making that followed. I'm not sure the 2001-02 team would have played as well as it did without being motivated by the loss to Notre Dame in the 2001 Final Four. Winning 59 of the last 99 games by at least 40 points or having 56 games during the streak when UConn won a game without trailing. Still, Auriemma expects his players to give as much effort when they play East Carolina or Tulsa as he does when South Carolina comes to town. It is an expectation level that starts in the recruiting process.

Gabby Williams is her own toughest critic. She wanted no part of a question of whether she thinks she should be a national player of year candidate earlier this week instead discussing the areas where she feels like she should be performing better. Napheesa Collier is in the midst of one of the best seasons a UConn forward has ever enjoyed and in a recent interview with me she mentioned that she wasn't being as aggressive as she needs to be. If a player is content to be good they probably aren't going to last at UConn or at least play a significant role. It is a subject I brought up in an interview with UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey earlier this season.

"They understand that there is a certain way because that is the expectation that we have, we are holding them to a standard every day," Dailey said. "Every second we are in the gym, you are being held to a certain standard and I think they understand that. I think what they have shown is that they too have embraced the challenge, they have embraced the schedule that we have this year, how tough it is when you are Connecticut and you are ranked No. 1. They have embraced all of that and have taken everybody's best shot including the coaches every day and have always gotten back up and performed. I think that is a credit to our players, a credit to the types of kids that we get."

Auriemma and Dailey have the ability to recruit nationally, something they didn't have when they first started. The Huskies' first Final Four team featured 13 of the 14 players being from New England, New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania. When UConn won its first national title in 1995, eight of the 12 players were from New England. When the Huskies take the court tonight, there will be starters raised in California, Missouri, Nevada and Ontario but Auriemma and his staff look for many of the same attributes in today's players that he and they did back in 1985.

"Number one, the talent part is obvious so we are looking for the talent part but beyond that, a lot of the talented kids that we recruit, they happen to be on really good teams and then you are looking for, 'what kind of impact do they have on their teams,'" Auriemma said. "Just because you are a really talented kid doesn't mean you have an incredible impact on your team so when I see a kid playing high school and I see that she impacts the team in so many ways and that impact is directly related to how much she is doing to help her team win then you kind of go, 'hmm, I think we've got something here.' Then you can tell by what they ask you in the recruiting process and how they answer certain questions you ask them. The majority of kids that we get, they talk about winning championships so that implies that their main priority in going to college is winning championships, they have their priorities straight.

"I tell kids and their parents all the time that whenever kid goes to me, 'what position am I going to play or what is my role going to be on the team?' I go, 'you are probably not going to have one because you are probably not coming to Connecticut' because the players that I get that are not of that mode, Lou, Pheesa, Gabby they never asked me those questions, it's inherent to them who they are that, 'of course I can play, I'll decide my role, I will show Coach Auriemma I can do this, this and this and of course I am going to play. How many minutes am I going to play? I'll play as many minutes as I want to play because he is not going to take me out of the game.' You have kids who are supremely confident No. 1 or their own abilities. They walk into our facilities, look up on that wall and probably go home every night going am I going to be the first schmoe to screw this up and they probably come to practice scared every day that they don't want to be the one to screw it up."

Auriemma will do everything in his power to win tonight's game but if by chance the Huskies do lose, it doesn't impact the goals he had for this team. The only streak that matters to him in the six-game streak at the end of the season resulting in another national title.

Win or lose I am sure the "is UConn's dominance bad for the sport" will continue to come. He has come to terms with it and refuses to apologize for his team playing well and winning at a mind-boggling rate.

"I don't that something really,really good can be that bad," Auriemma said. "I am sure there are things, I can see why people would say it but the attention that we can bring to the game, that has to be a positive, that is not a negative. I can't do anything about what people say. I can't do anything about people's perception, all I know is somebody said this one time, he ran for office, any kind of publicity is good publicity. We are getting a lot of people who appreciate what we are doing and getting people who are paying attention saying that is bad for basketball. Obviously they are paying attention enough to know we are bad for women's basketball."

If UConn runs the table and posts the program's seventh undefeated season and wins an unprecedented 12th national title, Auriemma won't be apologizing and he has no need to. The scary thing is that everything this year's team is supposed to lack (size in the post, depth) won't be an issue moving forward with transfers Azura' Stevens and Batouly Camara being eligible next season and a stop-notch recruiting class headlined by Megan Walker coming in.

There are people who have a problem with UConn's dominance or with women's basketball being in the spotlight. Well, either turn the channel or stay off social media because this UConn program figures to get better and not worse in the coming years. It is not UConn's job to play down to the competition any more than it is sprinter Usain Bolt's responsibility to run slower so his fellow runners can win a race every once in a while. The Huskies will continue to strive for excellence, pursue the quest to play the perfect game. Teams that are good enough, perhaps that will be South Carolina tonight, will get to celebrate when they end the longest winning streak in NCAA basketball history. In the meantime, it will be business as usual for UConn.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Former UConn star Kara Wolters part of Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2017

Kara Wolters is among those who will be inducted into Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Wolters, a member of UConn's first national championship team in 1995, joins Rebecca Lobo and Jen Rizzotti as three members of that 35-0 team to be selected into the Hall of Fame.

Wolters finished her career with 2,141 points, 927 rebounds and 370 blocks. At the time of her graduation Wolters' 694 points scored during her junior season was a program record.

Here are some of Geno Auriemma's thought on Wolters' prestigious honor.

"People weren't lining up from here to Chicago to recruit Kara and Jen Rizzotti," Auriemma said. "It goes to shows you that great players come in all shapes and sizes, we have a 5-5 kid and a 6-8 kid. That is the great story that you can become a great player and that team was such a special team because of the way it came together. We did have two high school All-American players that everybody knew these guys were going to special (Rebecca Lobo and Nykesha Sales) but for the careers that Jamelle had, Kara had, Carla Berube had and Jen, it was a story book kind of story and that was exactly what it turned out to be.

"All three of them were national players of the year and Kara was maybe the most dominant player in college basketball so it is not surprise to be whatsoever thinking about where she came from, where she was as a senior in high school and to be today getting the highest honor that a basketball player can get it is just a remarkable story.."

Auriemma admits that when Wolters first arrived that he wasn't sure what kind of player she was going to be.

"I remember when she stepped on campus here, I don't think this is going to work because she just really hadn't come to grips with 'this is what it is going to take,'" Auriemma said. "It didn't take her long because once she did get it, she worked and worked and made herself into the player she became through her competitiveness and force of will. Nobody can ever take that away from her, it is an incredible story."

Louise O'Neal, who guided Southern Connecticut State to appearances in the Final Four in 1971, 1973 and 1974, is also among those being inducted on June 10 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
O'Neal also served on the NCAA Long-Range Planning Committee, Women's Basketball Rules Committee, and NACDA Executive Board. She was the recipient of 2004 WBCA Jostens-Berenson Lifetime Achievement Award and 2011 NACWAA Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Future Husky Coombs steals the show

Not long after the UConn women's basketball team dispatched SMU to win its 99th game in a row a member of the Huskies' incoming freshman class led the way in securing a memorable win of her own.

Mikayla Coombs had 27 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals (including the 300th of her career) and 1 blocked shot to lead the Wesleyan School to a 59-50 win over Holy Innocents' Episcopal School in the Georgia Region 5-A championship game.

Holy Innocents' owns five wins against Wesleyan in the last two seasons including a pair of regular-season victories this season and wins in the regional and state championship games last season.

Next up is the state tournament for a 24-4 Wesleyan team.

Also, UConn signee Andra Espinoza-Hunter recorded her 11th 40-point game of her senior season with 48 points as Ossining (N.Y.) wrapped up the regular season with a 91-70 win over Gill St. Bernard's.

Espinoza-Hunter had six 3-pointers giving her 71 in 19 games and she ended the regular season averaging 37.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3.3 steals per game.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Gabby Williams continues to put up impressive numbers for UConn

Give me an internet connection and no place to go thanks to a winter storm and I can add more statistical relevance to the season that UConn junior forward Gabby Williams is enjoying.

I was able to come up with the list of current NCAA Division I women's basketball players with at least 200 rebounds, 100 assists, 50 steals and 25 blocked shots this season and before the day began, there were no members of this select group.

Williams got there thanks to her nine rebounds giving her 201 this season. She is up to 129 assists, 66 steals and 30 blocked shots as she joins Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart as the only UConn players to accomplish that feat in the same season.

Not long after Williams pulled down her 200th rebound of the season, BYU's Kalani Purcell blocked her 25th shot of the season to add her name to the list. Purcell now has 262 rebounds, 130 assists, 55 steals and 27 blocked shots.

I didn't speak with Williams after the game but did ask Moore about Williams' impact on this year's team when Moore spoke with the media at halftime.

"She makes it look easy," Moore said. "Part of it is her personality on the court, she is calm on the outside but what she is doing is extremely hard to be that active and that involved in so many different parts of the game. It is players like her that it is easy to under appreciate her but if you watch the game and you can understand the way she is impacting it. It is mind blowing to see that night after night after night. She has grown into that, she is being counted on in so many different areas."

The last update I received was that about 300 tickets are available for Monday's game against South Carolina so if you act fast and don't already had a ticket, you might be able to be in the stands for what could be a memorable game and event.

UConn signee Coombs goes after regional title tonight

The impressive senior season for UConn signee Mikayla Coombs continued last night as Coombs had a double-double in the Wesleyan School's 84-45 win over Landmark Christian in the semifinals of the Georgia 5-A regional tournament.

Coombs had 18 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and 1 blocked shots as Wesleyan moves into tonight's title game against Holy Innocents' Episcopal School, a team responsible for two of Wesleyan's four losses this season. In the last two seasons Wesleyan has lost nine games and five of those losses have come against Holy Innocents' including wins in the 2016 regional and state championship games. Holy Innocents' returns four seniors from that team including LSU signee Khayla Pointer who had 33 points in the 66-64 overtime win in the state championship game.

Coombs went into the regional tournament averaging 16.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 4 steals per game, is averaging 15 points, 6 assists and 5 steals in the two postseason victories. Despite being limited to one game in her sophomore season, Coombs ranks in the top 10 in Wesleyan's program history in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocked shots.

Friday, February 10, 2017

UConn's Samuelson misses practice

Katie Lou Samuelson didn't take part in today's practice as she is under the weather and UConn coach Geno Auriemma wasn't sure if the Huskies' leading scorer will play on tomorrow's game against SMU.

"It wasn't getting any better let's put it that way so I don't know about tomorrow," Auriemma said. "I don't know what her situation is tomorrow, it is certainly not going to be regular business, either she is not going to play at all or she is going to play some minutes, that would be depending on how she feels tomorrow at shootaround.

"It has been a crazy winter as far as that is concerned, there's a lot of stuff that's been everybody. She's been struggling a bit for maybe the last month."

Auriemma will worry about replacing her in the starting lineup if he needs to make that decision tomorrow. Freshman Molly Bent was seeing time with the starters during the part of practice open to the media while classmate Crystal Dangerfield was seeing time with the starting five early in practice.

"We're just trying new things at this point to see what we can get, I don't think you ready anything into that," Auriemma said. "If you had come at the beginning of practice, you would have said that Crystal is going to start tomorrow right so it is just a normal course of practice trying everything we can to see what it might look like depending on who is in the game. There is no definitive here is what we are going to do tomorrow."

MaxPreps put together a high school player of the year watch list. UConn signees Megan Walker and Andra Espinoza-Hunter as well as 2018 UConn recruiting target Christyn Williams.

 Walker is averaging 25.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game while Espinoza-Hunter is averaging 37.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 3.3 steals per game.

ESPN announces coverage plans for Monday's historic game

ESPN can't be accused of underplaying UConn's quest for win No. 100 in a row on Monday against South Carolina (assuming a victory over SMU tomorrow).

Here are some of the highlights from a release ESPN put together

SportsCenter’s Dianna Russini will be live from Storrs throughout the day

Reporter Jen Lada will visit several Storrs Elementary Schools as the students celebrate the number 100 and their 100th day of the academic year, all while decked out in UConn gear
SportsCenter anchor Kevin Neghandi spent time with Geno Auriemma for a sit-down interview
Big Monday studio crew will be live from Gampel Pavilion – Maria Taylor, Andy Landers and Rebecca Lobo
Lobo will be a guest on ESPN Radio’s 6:30 p.m. pregame show ahead of the men’s Big Monday matchup between Louisville and Syracuse
Illustrative video depicting the significance of UConn’s quest for 100 straight wins in the context of all sports’ consecutive wins, voiced by college basketball analyst Jay Bilas
SEC Network’s The Paul Finebaum Show will have live interviews with various guests between 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Relive the best moments of UConn’s potential 99-game winning streak: ESPNU and ESPN Classic will re-air some of the best games, as well as The Geno Auriemma Project
SportsCenter (11 p.m.) will be live from the court postgame with Steve Levy, as well as Burke, Lawson and other guests

espnW’s Mechelle Voepel and Graham Hays will also be on-site for the matchup
Studio coverage begins Sunday, Feb. 12, with a slate of 22 matchups across ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, SEC Network +, ACC Network Extra and ESPN3, including several Rivalry Week games.

Monday's schedule on ESPNU will feature UConn women's basketball coverage from noon-7 p.m. with similar coverage starting on ESPN Classic at 11 a.m.

Noon UConn’s loss to Stanford (Nov. 17, 2014)
2 p.m. UConn’s win against Florida State (Nov. 14, 2016)
4 p.m. UConn’s win against Maryland (Dec. 29, 2016)
5:30 p.m. “The Geno Auriemma Project: Together” *
6 p.m. “The Geno Auriemma Project: The Program” *
6:30 p.m. “The Geno Auriemma Project: Method to the Madness” *

ESPN Classic (top five games from the 98-0 winning streak)
11 a.m. 2015 NCAA Women’s Championship – Semifinal*
UConn vs. Maryland (Apr. 5, 2015)
1 p.m. 2015 NCAA Women’s Championship – Title game*
UConn vs. Notre Dame (Apr. 7, 2015)
3 p.m. 2015 Jimmy V Women’s Classic*
UConn vs. Notre Dame (Dec. 5, 2015)
5 p.m. Big Monday*
UConn vs. South Carolina (Feb. 8, 2016)
7 p.m. 2016 NCAA Women’s Championship – Title game*
UConn vs. Syracuse (April 5, 2016)

Thursday, February 09, 2017

UConn's Kia Nurse earns CoSIDA All-Academic honor

UConn junior guard Kia Nurse was one six players named to the NCAA Division I CoSIDA Academic District 1 team.

Nurse, who carries a 3.44 grade-point average, is the third-leading scorer for the 23-0 Huskies with an average of 13.5 points per game. She is second on the team with 98 assists and 47 3-pointers and has a team-best 86.1 free-throw percentage.

Nurse is now in the running to earn academic All-American honors.

Yale senior guard Lena Munzer is also a District 1 honoree while Southern Connecticut State's Taylor McLaughlin and New Haven's Alexandria Kerr were named to the Division II District 1 squad while Middletown native Emily Anderson, a senior at Western New England, was one of the players named to the Division III District 1 team.

On the men's side, Yale's Sam Downey (Division I, District 1), Southern Connecticut's Mike Mallory (Division II, District 1), Central Connecticut's Austin Nehls (Division I, District 1), Monroe native and MIT senior Tim Butala (Division III, District 1) were among those recognized.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Playoffs set to begin for UConn signees

Tonight UConn incoming freshman Mikayla Coombs' Wesleyan School's first playoff game is tonight against Eagle's Landing Christian. With a win Wesleyan (the host of the final three rounds) will play either Landmark Christian or Southwest Atlanta Christian in Georgia's Region 5-A tournament semifinals. The region title game is set for Saturday at 7 p.m.

Coombs is averaging 16.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 4 steals per game.

Lexi Gordon will lead LD Bell High School into its playoff opener against Plano at Coppell High School on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

3 UConn players candidates for Naismith Trophy

UConn's Napheesa Collier, Katie Lou Samuelson and Gabby Williams are among 30 players in the running for the Naismith Trophy.

Collier is second on the 23-0 Huskies in scoring as she is averaging 19.5 points per game, she leads the team in rebounding (8.5 per game), field-goal percentage (68.7) and blocked shots (42).

Samuelson is averaging a team-leading 21.2 points and also has a team-high 77 3-pointers.

Williams leads the team with 125 assists and 63 steals and is the fourth leading scorer at 12.6 points per game.

The list will be cut to 10 semifinalists on Mar. 2.

Here is the list of candidates

Lindsay Allen Notre Dame Guard 5-8 Sr.
Kristine Anigwe California Forward/Center 6-4 So.
Lexie Brown Duke Guard 5-9 Jr.
Jordin Canada UCLA Guard 5-6 Jr.
Alaina Coates South Carolina Center 6-4 Sr.
Nia Coffey Northwestern Forward 6-1 Sr.
Napheesa Collier Connecticut Forward 6-1 So.
Diamond DeShields Tennessee Guard 6-1 Jr.
Asia Durr Louisville Guard 5-10 So.
Makayla Epps Kentucky Guard 5-10 Sr.
Myisha Hines-Allen Louisville Forward 6-2 Jr.
Tori Jankoska Michigan State Guard 5-8 Sr.
Brionna Jones Maryland Center 6-3 Sr.
Alexis Jones Baylor Guard 5-9 Sr.
Erica McCall Stanford Forward 6-3 Sr.
Kelsey Mitchell Ohio State Guard 5-8 Jr.
Arike Ogunbowale Notre Dame Guard 5-8 So.
Chantel Osahor Washington Forward/Center 6-2 Sr.
Alexis Peterson Syracuse Guard 5-7 Sr.
Kelsey Plum Washington Guard 5-8 Sr.
Leticia Romero Florida State Guard 5-8 Sr.
Mercedes Russell Tennessee Center 6-6 Jr.
Katie Lou Samuelson Connecticut Guard/Forward 6-3 So.
Shakayla Thomas Florida State Forward 5-11 Jr.
Brianna Turner Notre Dame Forward 6-3 Jr.
Victoria Vivians Mississippi State Guard 6-1 Jr.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough Maryland Guard 5-11 Sr.
Sydney Wiese Oregon State Guard 6-1 Sr.
Gabby Williams Connecticut Forward 5-11 Jr.
A'ja Wilson South Carolina Forward 6-5 Jr.

The Wooden Award released its late season top 20 list with Samuelson and Williams making the cut along with Notre Dame's Lindsay Allen and Brianna Turner, Kristine Anigwe of Cal, UCLA's Jordin Canada, South Carolina's Alaina Coates and A'ja Wilson, Nia Coffey of Northwestern, Makayla Epps of Kentucky, Baylor's Alexis Jones, Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough of Maryland, Erica McCall of Stanford, Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell, Washington's Chantel Osahor and Kelsey Plum, Syracuse's Alexis Peterson, Victoria Vivians of Mississippi State and Oregon State's Sydney Wiese.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

UConn spreads the wealth en route to 98th straight win

As UConn was closing in on its 30th assist in tonight's blowout win at Cincinnati, I decided to check the last time the Huskies had at least 30 assists in back to back games.

Well, it took a while.

I only have the game by game totals dating back to the 1994-95 season and that happens to be the last time it happened as UConn followed its 32-assist showing against Iona with 31 against California five days later.

The Huskies matched that with 32 against Tulsa followed by 31 tonight against Cincinnati. Those also happen to be the only two times since the 1994-95 season when the Huskies had at least 60 assists in back to back games.

Napheesa Collier and Gabby Williams led the way with six assists each against the Bearcats while Kia Nurse, Crystal Dangerfield and Katie Lou Samuelson had five assists each.

In the last two games Williams leads the way with 12 assists followed by Dangerfield's 11. Collier and Nurse have nine each, Saniya Chong has eight (with no turnovers) and Katie Lou Samuelson finished with five in the two games.

The 63 assists matches the best two-game total I could find dating back to the 1994-95 campaign.

Here's the list of 30-assist games since the 1994-95 season

34 vs. Western Michigan (95-46) Nov. 23, 2003
34 vs. Quinnipiac (117-20) Dec. 27, 1998
33 vs. Georgetown (107-45) Jan. 2, 2001
32 vs. Tulsa (96-50) Feb. 5, 2017 
32 vs. Charleston (103-39) Nov. 11, 2012
32 vs. Dartmouth (95-47) Mar. 20, 2005
32 at Providence (95-68) Feb. 2, 1997
32 vs. Northeastern (96-34) Dec. 29, 1995
32 vs. Iona (101-42) Dec. 23, 1994
31 at Cincinnati (96-49) Feb. 7, 2017
31 vs. South Florida (102-37) Jan. 10, 2017

31 vs. SMU (102-41) Feb. 4, 2014
31 at Temple (93-56) Jan. 28, 2014
31 vs. Florida State (83-71) Dec. 21, 2008
31 vs. St. John's (118-44) Feb. 23, 2001
31 vs. Syracuse (100-74) Feb. 18, 2000
31 at Seton Hall (88-45) Dec. 8, 1999 
31 vs. California (99-52) Dec. 28, 1994
30 vs. Oregon (114-68) Nov. 20, 2013
30 vs. Holy Cross (117-37) Nov. 14, 2010
30 vs. Stony Brook (98-35) Nov. 11, 2007
30 vs. Buffalo (107-40) Nov. 19, 2004
30 vs. Hampton (116-45) Mar. 17, 2000
30 vs. Georgetown (94-75) Feb. 5, 1995
UConn also made more history with its 36th road win in a row. The Huskies already owned the NCAA women's basketball record with 35 straight road victories but now surpassed the men's Division I record of 35 set by Kansas from 1924-28. There are no records for consecutive road wins at the men's Division II and III level in the NCAA record book. It was also the 98th straight win for the Huskies, another NCAA record..

Also, it was UConn's seventh straight game with at least 90 points matching the longest run of such games in program history as the Huskies also accomplished the feat against North Carolina State, Iona, California, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, St. John's and Providence during the 1994-95 season.

As for individual accomplishments, Collier was 10 for 10 from the field as she joins Breanna Stewart and Rebecca Lobo as the only Huskies to attempt at least 10 field goals in a game without missing.
 The NCAA lists four Division I women's players as shooting 100 percent from the field this season. Austin Peay's Tearra Banks was 11 for 11 from the field in a 79-64 win over Tennessee State on Feb. 4. Kelsey Lang of Texas was 11 for 11 against New Orleans on Dec. 20, 2016. Jazmyne Bartee of CSU Bakersfield was 10 for 10 in an overtime win over Utah Valley on Jan. 21 while Ohio State's Tori McCoy was also 10 for 10 in a Dec. 7 game against Southern University.

UConn signees Lexi Gordon and Megan Walker both led their teams to victories on Senior Night.

Gordon finished with 33 points in a 58-50 win over Byron Nelson while Walker had 20 points in undefeated Monacan's 80-22 win over Manchester.

Playoffs will be up next for the two of them. I'm also waiting to see the playoff schedule for UConn signee Mikayla Coombs. Andra Espinoza-Hunter's Ossining (N.Y.) High team wraps up the regular season with a home game against Gill St. Bernard's on Saturday.

UConn's Samuelson on Dawn Staley Award watch list

UConn sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson is one of 19 players on the midseason watch list for the Dawn Staley Award which is presented to the best guard in the country.

Samuelson is averaging a team-high 21.4 points per game, leads the 22-0 Huskies with 74 3-pointers and is one of five Huskies with at least 50 assists.

The winner will be announced during the Final Four and the trophy will be presented at the Union League of Philadelphia in April.

UConn's Moriah Jefferson was last year's recipient.

Here's the list of candidates

Lexie Brown, Duke
Jordin Canada, UCLA
Diamond DeShields, Tennessee
Makayla Epps, Kentucky
Feyonda Fitzgerald, Temple
Allisha Gray, South Carolina
Amy Griffin, LaSalle
Tori Jankoska, Michigan State
Alexis Jones, Baylor
Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State
Adrienne Motley, Miami
Teniya Page, Penn State
Alexis Peterson, Syracuse
Kelsey Plum, Washington
Katie Lou Samuelson, UConn
Brittney Sykes, Syracuse
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough
Sydney Wiese, Oregon State
Morgan William, Mississippi State

UConn back on the road

When the 20167-17 schedule was released, there's no way I thought I would be writing about UConn's road winning streak at this time of the year.

It all nearly came crashing to a halt in the season opener against a very good Florida State team. There were also road games against Maryland and Notre Dame. Yet all that stands between UConn and another perfect run through the road portion of their schedule are games tonight at Cincinnati and contests against Tulane and South Florida.

Even UConn coach Geno Auriemma admitted that the way his young team has handled business on the road has surprised him.

One thing that has not caught me off guard is the fact that of the 11 teams to host the Huskies, the top crowd of the season came when UConn was in town. If recent history counts for anything, the number should jump to 8 out of 12. Last year's UConn game drew 2,246 and that was the largest home crowd of the season for Cincinnati. The story was the same the previous two seasons when the crowds of 1,491 and 1,579 were the best marks of the season at Fifth Third Arena.

Also, a reader pointed out to me that the men's Division I record for consecutive road wins is 35 set by Kansas from 1924-28. As I am sure you realize, UConn is going after its 36th straight road victory. Some people get worked up when a men's record is mentioned in the same sentence with what UConn is doing but figured I would pass it on even though a win tonight would in no way diminish the incredible accomplishments of Phog Allen's Kansas men's teams.

It should be noted that there are no road winning streaks mentioned in the NCAA Division II and III men's record books but UConn's road streak is tops among the women's Division I, II and III marks.

Taking it one step further, the average crowd for UConn's 11 road games is more than double what those team's average crowd would be if you subtract the UConn game.

Florida State   4753 3534 2nd largest crowd
LSU                3806 2233 2nd largest crowd
Notre Dame    9149 8251 tied for highest crowd
Kansas State  12528 4578 largest crowd
Nebraska         7553 4498 largest crowd
Maryland       17950 4756 largest crowd
UCF                4539 2309 largest crowd
SMU               3878 2087 3rd largest crowd
Tulsa               1391 323 largest crowd
East Carolina  2880 1332 2nd largest crowd
Temple            4371 1064 largest crowd
AVERAGE     6618  3179

UConn announced that Saturday's home game against SMU is the "Play4Kay" game with fans being asked to wear pink to raise awareness for cancer research.

Here's a link to the release from UConn.

The Huskies will also put several items up for auction, which can be accessed by visiting  Items will include autographed posters, game-worn uniforms from the SMU contest, the tie head coach Geno Auriemma will wear on Feb. 11 and a pair of game experience packages.

Additionally, fans are encouraged to look for the Genius 3D Mammography exam brand ambassadors at the north, south and east entrances of Gampel where Husky faithful can simply sign a postcard. For every postcard that is filled out and collected, our game day sponsor, Hologic, will make a donation to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

Also, keeping on the fan's wardrobe subject, the school is also encouraging fans to wear white for Monday's game against South Carolina.