Half of Samuelson-Samuelson Final Four is set
Samuelson, among the most accommodating players on the UConn team to the media, answered all the questions both at the podium and in the locker room but obviously her mind was very much on what was transpiring in Lexington, Kentucky when Karlie helped Stanford rally for a one-point win over Notre Dame to punch a ticket to the Final Four.
"I've always been the little one and they always played as hard as they could against me," Katie Lou Samuelson said. "Maybe every once in a while they let me shoot a shot over Bonnie. They really pushed me to be the best that I can."
Karlie Samuelson was heavily recruited by UConn and there was a time when it appeared she might have suited up for the Huskies. She opted to stay in California and play at Stanford.
The decision is one she hasn't regretted but has made for plenty of traveling for her dad Jon who has been traveling between Lexington, Kentucky and Bridgeport to see Karlie's and Katie Lou's games in the regionals.
"I went to hug him after a little bit of celebration," Karlie Samuelson said. "He said I made him cry too. I'm just so thankful that he's coming out here and my mom is supporting me at home with the dogs and Bonnie.
"He hasn't slept. He went from my game to Lou's game to our game back to Lou's game. I'm just really thankful to have so much support from my family."
UConn coach Geno Auriemma knows the Samuelson well having recruited two of the Samuelson sisters. Even though Karlie Samuelson played a starring role in the last loss suffered by Auriemma's Huskies, he still holds the middle of the three Samuelson sister in the highest regard.
"I was watching the game and they put the camera on Lou's dad Jon and I've never seen a happier guy in my life," Auriemma said. "He has to be shot all the plane miles he is doing back and forth. Stanford has been so steady all these years, when Lou came here it was not an easy thing for the Samuelsons, you've got kids 3,000 miles apart so trying to figure it all about and keeping your fingers crossed that maybe they'll both play in the Final Four and now one of them is already there and hopefully we can get there as well and the family can go crazy trying to figure out who to root for.
"She is one of my favorite players, one of my favorite kids. A week doesn't go by when I'll say, 'man, we've got the wrong Samuelson.' They got the one who plays really hard, is really emotional, dives on loose balls, plays good defense, gets her hands up on shooters. We've got the wrong one. I must say that once a week just to get Lou really (worked up_ and it works all the time."
Auriemma sees similarities with all three of the Samuelson sisters.
"They are great kids, great teammates, they all shoot the hell out of it," Auriemma said. "They are all really competitive, they are smart not just in the classroom but smart basketball players as well and they are great kids to be around. They are the kinds of kids you want on the team, the kinds of kids you want as a teammate if you were on the team. They are the kinds of kids you want to coach all three of them."
Karlie and Katie Lou Samuelson have never met in a game in college and for that to happen, Stanford and UConn would need to play in the national championship game.
Oh, and look for the traveling man Jon Samuelson to be in the stands tomorrow when UConn plays Oregon as he was for all four of Karlie's games in the NCAA tournament and Katie Lou's game against UCLA.