Time and Place: 9 p.m. Monday at the Gampel Pavilion, Storrs Conn.
Where to Watch: ESPN 2, channel 42.2 on Storrs TV listings
Last Meeting: Last year, the No. 1 ranked Huskies, led by Breanna Stewart’s 25 points and 10 rebounds, downed the No. 2 ranked Gamecocks 66-54 in South Carolina. Head Coach Geno Auriemma is 4-0 against the Gamecocks all-time.
UConn’s Last Time Out: UConn won their 99th straight game, defeating SMU by a score of 83-41 at Gampel Pavilion. Sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson led the team with 22 points, with 19 of those coming in the first two quarters.
South Carolina’s Last Time Out: The Gamecocks have won three games in a row since their loss to Tennessee, with their last win coming on the 9th by a score of 60-41 at home against the Auburn Tigers.
Projected Starting Lineups:
UConn (23-0, 11-0 the American) vs. South Carolina (21-2, 11-1 the SEC)
G: Saniya Chong vs. Tyasha Harris
Coming off another seven assist and no turnover game, Chong is in a groove in the late stretch of the season, as she shot 5-10 yesterday for 13 points. The senior guard still leads the nation in assist to turnover ratio, as she is now averaging 4.68 assists per turnover, which is a full assist over her closest competitor. The freshman guard Harris has had a very productive first season at South Carolina, averaging five points and a team-leading three assists in 24.6 minutes per game. She has started in 13 of their 23 games, including starting every game within SEC play.
G: Kia Nurse vs. Allisha Gray
Nurse shot an efficient 4-9 from the field for 13 points while dishing out four dimes in UConn’s blowout win against SMU. The junior guard has been a vital player this season for the Huskies on both sides of the ball, as she is their third leading scorer with 13.3 points per game, second in assists with 4.3 per game and is one of their elite defenders with 30 steals on the season. The six foot guard has started is one of two players for the Gamecocks to start in every contest this season, as she leads the team in minutes per game with 27.8 and is second in assists per game with 2.7 per game and made three pointers with 29.
W: Katie Lou Samuelson vs. A’ja Wilson
Samuelson was able to find her stroke in the previous game versus SMU as she was 8-13 from the field and was 3-6 from behind the arc, scoring 22 points in only 25 minutes. The offense for the Huskies starts with the sophomore guard/forward as the Huskies are shooting an NCAA best 52.3 percent from the field, and she is shooting just over 50 percent from the field, while scoring a team-best 21.4 points per contest. For those that have not watched South Carolina basketball this season, Wilson is a fantastic player, as the six-foot-five forward can flat out play. Averaging 17 points and seven rebounds, Wilson is shooting an absurd 58.2 percent from the field, and is one of the 20 finalists for the Wooden Award.
G: Gabby Williams vs. Kaela Davis
Starting in every game this season, Williams has been an absolute work horse for the Huskies, leading them in steals per game and assists per game, while placing second in rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage. She is fourth on the team in scoring with 12.5 per game, and she is perhaps the best on ball defender on the team as well. Davis is in the middle of the road for the Gamecocks in terms of statistics, as she is fourth on the team in scoring with 12.1 points per game and second on the team in turnovers with 47.
F: Napheesa Collier vs. Alania Coates
This matchup will be the most fun to watch in the game as Collier is second best in the nation 67.5 percent from the field while Coates is third shooting 67 percent. Collier is averaging 19.1 points per game and a team-high 8.7 rebounds while Coates is also second on the team in scoring with 14 points and also first in rebounding with an astounding 11.5 per game.
Quest for 100- With a win over South Carolina the Huskies will achieve their 100th straight victory, as they have defeated eight ranked opponents so far this season. The contest Monday night is sold out, and fans are encouraged to wear white to the game.
All Day Coverage- Starting at 8:30 a.m., the Huskies will be featured across ESPN platforms all day. Head Coach Geno Auriemma will be a guest on ABC’s Good Morning America in the morning, as SportsCenter will be live from Storrs throughout the day starting at 11 a.m. ESPNU and ESPN Classic will be showing top UConn games from the past throughout the day and SportsCenter will also be live from the court following the game.
Nurse at it again- For the second straight year, Nurse claimed a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-District 1 First Team. She is the ninth different Husky player to earn the prestigious accolade, as UConn players have earned 18 nods to the All-District I Academic squad.
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.