After starting the regular season with no preseason AP All-Americans, the UConn women’s basketball team ends the 2016-17 season with four Huskies receiving the honor.
Sophomores Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier received first-team honors for the first time in their careers, while Gabby Williams was named to the second team and Kia Nurse garnered honorable mention honors.
Samuelson and Collier joined Maryland’s Brionna Jones, South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson and Washington’s Kelsey Plum on the first-team list. Plum was the only unanimous selection, and all selections were made solely on each player’s regular-season performance.
Collier, the 2017 American Athletic Conference Co-Player of the Year and finalist for the Naismith Trophy, Wooden and Drysdale Awards is in the midst of her best season of her young career, as she is averaging a team-leading nine rebounds and a second best 20.4 points per game. The sophomore is second in the nation, only trailing fellow AP-first team selection Jones in field goal percentage as Collier shots 69.3 percent.
Her best game this season came against USF on Feb. 27, when she scored 39 points on 15-19 shooting on the field while also grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds. In this NCAA Tournament, Collier leads the team in points, rebounds, blocks, field goal percentage and is second in steals.
Samuelson, the other American Athletic Conference Co-Player of the Year and finalist for the Naismith Trophy, Wade, Wooden and Drysdale Awards, has proved she is more than just a scorer this season as she is averaging 3.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists on an efficient 49 percent shooting. She has also proven that she is an elite scorer as she is first on the team with 20.7 points per game, while making 116 3-pointers on 42.5 percent scoring. Samuelson is five made 3-pointers away from tying the all-time program record for made 3-pointers, which she will look to break Monday night against No. 10 Oregon.
Williams recorded the Huskies’ only triple-double of the season on Jan. 24 on the road against East Carolina with 16 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists and was also named the American Defensive Player of the Year on top of leading the team in assists.
Nurse has been an all-around contributor for the Huskies this season and currently leads UConn in 3-point percentage at 46.3 percent largely due to her tremendous 3-point shooting over the course of the NCAA Tournament.