Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

UConn puts on a show for sellout crowd

Since the formation of the American Athletic Conference, one team has been in a one-possession game with UConn in the final minute. That took place on Feb. 18 in New Orleans as UConn held on for a 63-60 victory. Apparently those memories were still fresh in the minds of the Huskies veteran players as they landed punch after punch in the 98-45 dismantling of Tulane today.

Where do I start?

Well, since my advance was on Tulane senior guard Kolby Morgan having UConn's attention after games with 22 and 19 points against the Huskies last season, let's start there. Morgan finished 1 for 10 from the field as she had two points and four turnovers in 30 minutes. Kia Nurse spent the most time guarding the 2,000-point career scorer and to say she was fired up about this assignment would be an understatement. It looked like Nurse wanted to make sure Morgan couldn't even touch the ball with the off the ball defense she was playing. Crystal Dangerfield chased Morgan around quite often as well while fellow starters Gabby Williams, Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson switching on her when the primary defender got caught up in screens. The Huskies also sprung traps when Morgan would get the ball resulting in plenty of early Tulane turnovers as UConn had 36 points off turnovers, its second highest total this season.

However, by game's end, much of the talk was about the offense as UConn narrowly missed setting a program record for field-goal percentage in a game. How close was the 72.2 mark to a record, well if Katie Lou Samuelson had held onto the ball instead of firing up a desperation heave at the end of the second quarter, a record would have been set. Or, if Lexi Gordon's basket had counted instead being negated by a traveling call, a new mark would now stand. UConn was 13 for 14 from the floor in the third quarter and they weren't all layups either as the Huskies matched Radford for the best FG mark in a game by a Division I women's basketball team this season. You would have to go back to Wyoming's 2010 game against Air Force to find a better mark.

Here are some more numbers:

In the last three games UConn has outscored its last three opponents 156-58 in points in the paint, 100-31 in points off turnovers and 107-32 in bench points. Oh, as the Huskies improved to 91-0 in conference play since the formation of the American Athletic Conference (counting the postseason tournaments), in 48 of those games the Huskies have at least twice as many points as their opponent.

This is the 29th time including 25th straight season that UConn has won 20 games in a season and the 11th time the Huskies opened 20-0. Speaking of the 20-game mark, I went back through the last 15 seasons and this team has the second-highest field-goal percentage (53.8), made 3-pointers (167), 3-point percentage (40.8), field-goals attempted (1,319) through 20 games.

It was also the 200th home sellout in program history. The first was on Feb. 20, 1993 against Stanford. That was also the first UConn game I ever covered. Geno Auriemma was asked about the crowd after the game and he took the opportunity to voice his displeasure on the cost of parking at UConn home games.





"It is a proven fact that if we play games at an accessible time that our fans will come out. This is one of the few days when I got here, I parked in the garage and I am pissed off that is cost $12 to park in the garage," Auriemma said. "Whoever is charging $12 for these people to park in the garage should be ashamed of themselves, it is disgraceful so for them to come out here and not only come to the game pretty much knowing that we are going to win and then staying to the end of the game... This makes no sense but our fans are unique from fans around the country.

"I think you have to give them a reason to come and if you do they will. Playing games on the afternoon on the weekends is the winning ticket, it is beyond me why we don't have more of those. There should never be a Saturday night game ever again, every game should be Saturday afternoon or Sunday afternoon, I am a big proponent of that. We have a bunch of game at the XL Center coming up and I think we are going to have huge crowds for that as well. I am proud of our fans and I am happy for them that our kids put on a great show today. I remind our players all the time that when people pay to watch you play, you have an obligation to make sure that they didn't just pay to see something that they could go down to the playground and watch somebody do."


Auriemma chose his words a little more carefully when asked to comment on whether reports of the NCAA investigating the UConn men's basketball program negatively impacts the UConn brand.

"Until somebody tells me what it is and what exactly happened I don't have any comment or any thought on it because I have no idea what it is," Auriemma said. "I am like everybody else probably, hoping that it takes care of itself and everything works out. The interesting thing is 10,000 people came to the game today and I'll bet not one of them cared too much about what was going on. If we continue to put a put a good product on the floor, on the field I think we will be OK. I think people will respond more so to how we play than what is going on until we have something concrete to deal with."

At halftime patients from the Connecticut Children's Medical Center were recognized along with nurse Heather Buck, yes the same Heather Buck who used to play at UConn. The UConn players got to know the patients during visits to the hospital making for an emotional greeting.

"We got to hang out with those kids in the hospital and they recognized us and of course we recognized them so that was really special," UConn senior forward Gabby Williams said. "It shows that we can have more of an impact than just on the court."

I also asked Katie Lou Samuelson for her reaction to her former AAU coach Russ Davis hiring her sister Karlie to be an assistant coach at NAIA powerhouse Vanguard.

"She is a great coach for me at least and she is definitely going to do a great job and hopefully in the future get more opportunities,' Samuelson said.

Karlie Samuelson nearly made the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks as an undrafted free agent and Katie Lou said Karlie will be heading to training camp with the Sparks this year.









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