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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Six UConn players named to Naismith watch list

It's not unusual to see four or even five UConn players named to national player of the year watch lists but six, yes six, Huskies are among 50 players on the watch list for the Naismith Trophy - Napheesa Collier, Crystal Dangerfield, Kia Nurse, Katie Lou Samuelson, Azura' Stevens and Gabby Williams.

Collier, a 6-foot-1 junior forward and the American Athletic Conference's preseason player of the year, is averaging 14 points, 7.3 rebounds and is second on the 6-0 Huskies with 20 assists, 18 steals and eight blocked shots.

Dangerfield, a 5-foot-5 sophomore guard, is averaging 14 points and 2 steals per game while registering a team-best 31 assists (with just 10 turnovers).

Nurse, a 6-foot senior guard, had 27 points in last night's win over Nevada as she was 8 for 8 from 3-point range. She is averaging 16.2 points per game with 19 assists. She leads UConn with 17 3-pointers and is ninth among Division I players with a 58.6 3-point shooting percentage.

Samuelson has missed that last 4 1/2 games with a left foot injury but the 6-foot-3 junior wing's scoring average of 16.5 is tops on the Huskies. She also had five rebounds, three assists and four steals at the time of her injury.

Stevens, a 6-foot-6 junior forward/center, leads UConn with an average of 9.5 rebounds per game and with 10 blocked shots. She is averaging 14.2 points per game with 20 assists and eight steals.

Williams a 5-foot-11 senior forward, is averaging 12.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. She leads the team with 19 steals and a field-goal percentage of 59.3 and also has 19 assists.

Also, 14 other candidates are on teams that UConn will face in the regular season led by the Notre Dame quartet of Marina Mabrey, Arike Ogunbowale, Jessica Shepard and Jackie Young meaning that Sunday's UConn/Notre Dame showdown features 10 of the 50 candidates.

Here are the candidates
Kristine Anigwe Jr. C/F California
Ariel Atkins Sr. G Texas
Kenisha Bell Jr. G Minnesota
Monique Billings Sr. F UCLA
Allazia Blockton Jr. G Marquette
Lexie Brown Sr. G Duke
Kalani Brown Jr. C Baylor
Tyra Buss Sr. G Indiana
Jordin Canada Sr. G UCLA
Kaila Charles So. G Maryland
Napheesa Collier Jr. F UConn
Sophie Cunningham Jr. G Missouri
Crystal Dangerfield So. G UConn
Asia Durr Jr. G Louisville
Katelynn Flaherty Sr. G Michigan
Rebecca Greenwell Sr. G Duke
Marie Gulich Sr. C Oregon State
Megan Gustafson Jr. F Iowa
Linnae Harper Sr. G Ohio State
Ruthy Hebard So. F Oregon
Chanette Hicks Jr. G Virginia Tech
Myisha Hines-Allen Sr. F Louisville
Sabrina Ionescu So. G Oregon
Kaylee Jensen Sr. C Oklahoma State
Jackie Kemph Sr. G Saint Louis
Kitija Laksa Jr. F USF
Marina Mabrey Jr. G Notre Dame
Tynice Martin Jr. G West Virginia
Stephanie Mavunga Sr. F Ohio State
Brooke McCarty Sr. G Texas
Teaira McCowan Jr. C Mississippi State
Brittany McPhee Sr. G Stanford
Kelsey Mitchell Sr. G Ohio State
Teana Muldrow Sr. F West Virginia
Jaime Nared Sr. G Tennessee
Kia Nurse Sr. G UConn
Arike Ogunbowale Jr. G Notre Dame
Caliya Robinson Jr. F Georgia
Mercedes Russell Sr. C Tennessee
Katie Lou Samuelson Jr. G/F UConn
Jessica Shepard Jr. F Notre Dame
Azura' Stevens Jr. F UConn
Tianna Tarter Sr. G ETSU
Shakayla Thomas Sr. F Florida State
Victoria Vivians Sr. G Mississippi State
Morgan Williams Sr. G Mississippi State
Danni Williams Jr. G Texas A&M
Gabby Williams Sr. F UConn
A’ja Wilson Sr. F South Carolina
Jackie Young So. G Notre Dame

Collier, Nurse, Samuelson and Williams were also among the 30 players named to the watch list for the Wade Trophy.

USA Today released its 20-player preseason high school All-American team.

UConn signees Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Christyn Williams and Class of 2019 recruiting target Samantha Brunelle were all named to the team.


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