Quick Hits: Melifonwu shines at Senior Bowl; Men’s and women’s basketball, hockey pull off victories

Connecticut's Obi Melifonwu practices for Saturday's Senior Bowl college football game in Mobile, Ala., Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The UConn Huskies experienced a lot of success over the last few days, ranging from a football player showing scouts what he’s made of at the Senior Bowl, to weekend wins by both the men’s and women’s basketball and hockey teams. Here are some of the weekend highlights in this edition of quick hits.

Obi Melifonwu stock rises with performance at Senior Bowl

It may be too soon to call, but it looks like UConn football safety Obi Melifonwu could be the next great Huskies’ defensive back to make it big at the next level. Melifonwu, who stands at 6-foot-4 and 219 pounds, showed off his elite ability to finish off tackles throughout the week in Senior Bowl practices and demonstrated great speed and acceleration that may have turned him into a first-round prospect. Melifonwu certainly has the NFL body and could wow scouts at the NFL Combine with his measurables, which could turn him into only the third first-round draft pick in UConn football history.

Basketball teams defend home court in pair of victories

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams played at home this weekend and, for the second weekend in a row, both teams brought home wins. The men’s basketball team played against Tulane at Gampel Pavilion Saturday night, playing with only six scholarship players for the third time in a week, and earned the victory with a gritty performance after going down by as many as 13 points. The Huskies’ senior big men came up huge for the team, as Kentan Facey earned a 20 point, 12 rebound double-double, while Amida Brimah had his best game of the year, tallying 18 points, eight rebounds and five blocks to lead UConn to a 78-68 win.

The women’s team on the other hand, played in Hartford Saturday afternoon and overcame their first deficit since Dec. 11 against Kansas State to defeat the Houston Cougars 91-42. After going down 6-4 early, the Huskies bounced back in a big way, going on a 21-0 run to end the first quarter before blowing the Cougars away for the rest of the game. Gabby Williams led the way for UConn, recording her seventh double-double of the year with 19 points and ten rebounds, while Katie Lou Samuelson and Kia Nurse each tallied 16 points on the day.

Check out the Daily Campus Sports’ “Beyond the Arc” podcast on this weekend’s basketball games here.

Honorable Mentions:

The men’s and women’s hockey teams also played at home this weekend in games against the Vermont Catamounts. The men’s team pulled off a 3-1 victory over the No. 11 Catamounts at the XL Center in perhaps their most complete performance of the year. Freshman netminder Adam Huska led the way in a commanding 34-save display, while the team scored three straight goals coming from Karl El-Mir, Johnny Austin, and Kasperi Ojantakanen before a late consolation goal from Vermont ended the evening.

The women’s team played Vermont at the Freitas Ice Forum Saturday after a loss to the Catamounts the night before and earned a big win with help from two goals by Leah Lum, who now has 17 goals for the year to go along with eight assists in a breakout campaign for the junior. The win brings the Huskies’ record to 12-13-3 (7-10-1 Hockey East) on the year.


Chris Hanna is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.hanna@uconn.edu. He tweets @realchrishanna.