It was not pretty, but the UConn women’s basketball team went to No. 4 Maryland and vanquished the undefeated Terrapins by a score of 87-81. The No. 1 Huskies will once again enter conference play undefeated as they have now won 30 straight road games, tying the NCAA record, including 16 straight wins against the AP Top Five and 134 wins in their last 135 games.
Leading the way for UConn against Maryland was sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson who tied for the game-high with 23 points, including 17 in the second half. After throwing up in the first quarter and finishing the first half 1-6 from behind the arc, Samuelson was able to find her range and guide the young Huskies against a potent and dangerous Maryland team.
In true UConn fashion, the Huskies started the game on a 7-0 run, as they were able to confuse Maryland offensively and their length created a problem for the Terrapins while on defense. Maryland was able to find their footing, tying the game at 10 points each, but behind junior Gabby Williams and senior Saniya Chong, the Huskies were able to end the quarter on a 10-2 run and end the quarter up eight points.
Maryland did not back down to start the second, as they strung together a 9-2 run to pull within a point. The two teams continued to trade buckets until junior Kia Nurse scored seven points in under 41 seconds, helping the Huskies pull away in a 9-0 run. In the other games this season, the Huskies had been able to amass long runs to blow teams out, but behind their offensive rebounding and consistent foul shooting, Maryland was able to weather the second half storm and finished the half trailing 36-31.
At halftime, the two Huskies’ leading scorers for the season, Samuelson and sophomore Napheesa Collier, had a combined eight points, while Williams and Nurse led the team with 10 each. For Maryland, Kaila Charles scored 10 in the half and finished with 18 points on 9-17 shooting for the game.
The No. 4 ranked Terrapins closed out the first half well and looked poised to give UConn a run for their money in the second half but the Huskies scored 14 straight points to start the third quarter to put the game seemingly out of reach. In the third, the Huskies were 13-17 and scored 32 points as Samuelson scored eight of her 23 points in the third quarter.
After the third, the game looked like it would be another double digit blow out but Maryland went on an 8-0 run and an extended 12-2 run as they were able to cut the UConn lead down to five points several times in the fourth quarter. With Williams and Collier picking up four fouls each midway through the fourth, Maryland was able to dominate in the paint and force UConn into tough shooting chances. Coach Geno Auriemma trusted his star players to weather the storm as Williams did not pick up a fifth foul and Collier was able to score six key points before fouling out to help the Huskies close out the game.
Despite the Terrapins hitting several threes in the fourth, they could not get the lead down to under five points, as the Huskies won 87-81. Looking forward for Maryland, their freshman guard Destiny Slocum played great in the fourth quarter as she poured in 11 points in the fourth and 23 in the game. With only five turnovers, Slocum was able to play 30 strong minutes.
With the win for UConn, they are now three games away from tying their all-time winning streak record of 90. Their next game will be on New Year’s Day against UCF in Orlando.
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.