UConn's Collier, Samuelson, Williams named WBCA All-Americans
Sophomore forward Napheesa Collier, sophomore guard Katie Lou Samuelson and junior forward Gabby Williams were among 10 players named to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Division I All-American team it marked the first time three non-seniors from one team were selected to the squad.
They will be the next trio of players to join the Huskies of Honor. The ceremony honoring Williams figures to take place late next season while Collier and Samuelson will need to wait until the 2018-19 to see their numbers up with the all-time greats in UConn history.
It is the fourth season in a row that the Huskies had three WBCA first-team All-Americans and sixth time it happened in program history. Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Diana Taurasi accomplished the feat during the 2001-02 season, Tina Charles, Renee Montgomery and Maya Moore were the honorees in '08-09. Breanna Stewart was part of the next three occurences joining Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley on the 2013-14 squad, Moriah Jefferson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis in '14-15 while Jefferson and Morgan Tuck joined Stewart on last season's All-American team.
Collier and Samuelson became the first set of UConn teammates to average at least 20 points per game in the same season. Collier's 754 points were tied for third and Samuelson's 747 placed fifth on UConn's single-season charts. Samuelson's 118 3-pointers is tie for the second most in program history and she is one of two UConn players with at least 100 3-pointers and assists in the same season. Collier's 336 rebounds is tied for ninth.
Collier and Williams joined Maya Moore and former teammate Breanna Stewart as the only UConn players with at least 50 steals and 50 blocked shots in the same season.
Williams, who was also named the WBCA's Defensive Player of the Year, is the first player in program history with 300 rebounds and 100 steals in the same season. Her 100 steals were tied for seventh on UConn's single-season list and her 190 assists rank eighth.
Also, UConn coach Geno Auriemma was named the winner of the Naismith Coach of the Year award for the eighth time. The award was announced the same day that Rebecca Lobo became the first of Auriemma's UConn players to be part of the induction class for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Lobo was the first national-level recruit to take a chance on a former Virginia assistant coach Geno Auriemma when she committed to UConn. Now she is the first of his former UConn stars headed to the Hall of Fame.
Lobo arrived at UConn in 1991 a few months after the Huskies reached their first Final Four. After the Huskies lost their first game in the NCAA tournament during her freshman and sophomore seasons. During Lobo's junior season the Huskies reached the Elite Eight before falling to eventual national champion North Carolina. The following season Lobo was the centerpiece of Auriemma's first national championship team as the Huskies went 35-0. Lobo was not only the national player of the year but her personality made her more than just a resident superstar. She has kept a high profile during her injury-shortened career in the WNBA and during her role as a women's basketball analyst for ESPN.
UCONN RETURNS HOME TOMORROW
UConn announced that the team is expected to land at Bradley Airport at 3:15 p.m. tomorrow and will head to campus after that.
There's not going to be any media availability so I won't be there to provide coverage of their return.