Women's Basketball: Samuelson leads Huskies in road rout of Nebraska

Katie Lou Samuelson drives to the hoop during UConn's 98-65 win over Dayton on Nov. 22, 2016 at Gampel Pavilion. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

Katie Lou Samuelson drives to the hoop during UConn's 98-65 win over Dayton on Nov. 22, 2016 at Gampel Pavilion. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

Katie Lou Samuelson and the UConn women’s basketball team wasted no time putting the unranked Nebraska Huskers away on the road, as the standout sophomore scored 23 points in 29 minutes to help the No. 1 ranked Huskies roll past the Huskers 84-41 for their 86th-straight win.

UConn wasted no time getting out ahead of Nebraska, jumping out to a 7-0 lead and never looking back, holding the Huskers (4-8) to just seven first-period points as the Huskies (11-0) got out to a 22-7 first-quarter lead.

After scoring eight points in the opening period, Samuelson poured it on to end the first half with 11 second-quarter points as the Huskies continued to pull away from Nebraska. After the Huskers hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 29-15 nearly halfway through the second quarter, UConn proceeded to outscore Nebraska 15-7 to end the half, stretching the lead to as much as 28 before taking a 48-22 lead into halftime.

While Crystal Dangerfield made her third-consecutive start, senior Soniya Chong returned to action after missing the previous two games due to concussion-like symptoms. Chong scored eight points in 28 minutes on 3-6 shooting, while Dangerfield scored three points in just eight minutes, all of which were accrued in the first half.

The Huskies continued to pull away in the opening minutes of the third quarter, rattling off a 15-0 run in the first five minutes to lead 63-22. After five points from the Huskers, Kia Nurse scored UConn’s final six points of the period, and finished the day as the Huskies’ second-highest scorer with 20 points on 7-12 shooting.

Nurse and Samuelson helped power a stellar 3-point performance for the Huskies, who hit eight of their 17 3-point attempts as a team to shoot 47.1 percent from deep. Nurse made three of her four attempts and Samuelson made three of her five, while Chong and Dangerfield each had one made shot from beyond the arc. Gabby Williams (10 points, nine rebounds) and Napheesa Collier (14 points, 15 rebounds) joined Nurse and Samuelson in double figures.

As Nurse and Samuelson shined, Nebraska star Jessica Shepard struggled. After entering the matchup with UConn averaging over 19 points per game, Shepard was frustrated by the Huskies’ defense, mustering just three points on 1-13 shooting in 30 minutes of play. With Shepard struggling, no Huskers reached double-figures as Hannah Whitish led Nebraska in scoring with nine points, followed by Allie Havers and Nicea Eliely with seven points apiece.

UConn finished off the Huskers with mostly bench players in the fourth quarter, but saw its lead grow to as much as 48 after nine-straight points from Chong, Natalie Butler and Molly Bent. The Huskies would outscore Nebraska 15-11 in the final period to solidify the 43-point victory, the second-largest win of the season following a 45-point dismantling of DePaul on Dec. 1.


Dan Madigan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering football and women's basketball. He can be reached via email at daniel.madigan@uconn.edu. He tweets @dmad1433.