One game after almost getting her tooth knocked out on a drive to the basket, junior Gabby Williams dominated the East Carolina Pirates as she accomplished the fifth triple-double in UConn women’s history in the Huskies 91-44 victory. Williams finished with 16 points on 7-10 shooting, 16 rebounds, including 10 offensive rebounds and 10 assists. This is the first UConn triple-double since Kiah Stokes in the 2014-2015 campaign, which also occurred against the ECU Pirates.
Not to be outdone by Williams, junior Kia Nurse scored her 1000th point in her career midway through the third quarter as she becomes the 42nd player to do so in UConn history. She finished with 15 points, five rebounds and six assists, in a solid all-around performance.
In the first quarter, ECU was able to stick around with the Huskies for the first few minutes before the Huskies pulled away with six minutes to go as they strung together a 15-0 run. The Huskies scored 28 in the first quarter and forced seven ECU turnovers, holding them to nine points. Sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson had eight while fellow sophomore Napheesa Collier had a then game-high nine points. In the first quarter alone, Williams had eight points, seven rebounds and four assists as the triple-double talk came as early as eight minutes into the game.
Following the blistering first quarter, the Huskies underwent a miserable six minute scoreless streak for the majority of the second quarter, as the Pirates cut the game to 12 points. The Pirates were able to get in the UConn passing lanes and were able to string together quality possessions, leading to a 9-0 run.
Behind their physical play, the Pirates showed great resilience in the second quarter but were unable to hold the Huskies offense down for long. Behind one of their 13 first half offensive rebounds, Nurse was able to assist Samuelson on a big three to end the Pirates run. Following this make, the Huskies were able to settle in and make their next four buckets to end the half.
The Huskies in the final minute of the half were able to go on an 8-0 run as Nurse hit a three to end the half. At the end of the half, Samuelson had 13 points and three assists while Collier had 12 points and three rebounds. Williams at halftime had 10 points, nine rebounds and six assists, as the thought of a triple-double was on everyone’s minds. For ECU, Justice Gee led the way with eight points on 4-4 shooting as she was able to drive through the UConn defense on several occasions.
In the first half, both teams shot 50 percent from the field as UConn was 17-34 and ECU was 10-20. The Huskies led the game 46-24 despite ECU outscoring UConn 13-0 from the bench.
It took just 18 seconds of the second half for Williams to record her sixth double-double of the season as she grabbed back to back offensive rebounds early on in the second half. The Huskies started the half on a 15-0 run, as Nurse hit a three and layup on back to back possessions for 1000th point.
The Huskies outscored ECU 26-6 in the quarter as UConn was 9-18 from the field, 6-7 from the free throw line and forced seven Pirates turnovers. Williams at the end of the third quarter registered 14 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two blocks in 28 minutes of play.
Continuing from the third quarter, UConn started the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run as they outscored the Pirates 19-14 in the final quarter. Williams accomplished her triple-double with 4:32 to go in the quarter as redshirt junior Natalie Butler was able to hit a bank shot to give Williams her 10th and final assist.
Samuelson finished the game with a quiet 20 points, as this is the 10th time this season she has eclipsed the 20 point mark. Collier finished with 18 points and six rebounds on 8-11 shooting, as Butler finished with 11 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes of play.
The Huskies have now won 94 games in a row and 70 straight in conference play, as they return to the XL Center on Saturday to host the Houston Cougars at noon.
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