Women’s Basketball: Walker helps No. 1 Huskies get back on track

Frshman Megan Walker (pictured) takes a jumper in Thursday's victory against Tulsa (Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

After playing two of its closest games this season in the past week, the UConn women’s basketball team was facing harsh criticism from head coach Geno Auriemma. The Huskies responded by dominating Temple as they have most opponents this season, playing to a 113-57 victory on Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia.

UConn (18-0, 7-0 the American) won a four-point game against No. 9 Texas, but a poor effort against Tulsa led Auriemma to accuse his team of “the most disgraceful effort” he has seen in his time at Connecticut. It appeared to be more of the same when Temple jumped out to a 6-0 lead to begin Sunday’s game.

The Huskies then reminded everyone why they are ranked No. 1 in the country. UConn outscored the Owls 28-12 for the rest of the quarter, led by 10 points from Crystal Dangerfield. The lead extended in the second quarter as the Huskies went into halftime with a 56-32 lead.

Junior forward Katie Lou Samuelson sat out due to an ankle injury suffered against Tulsa. UConn doesn’t have a timetable for Samuelson’s ankle, but in her place, freshman forward Megan Walker played the best game of her collegiate career.

Walker scored a career-high 22 points over 32 minutes, the most playing time she has received this season. The freshman converted all seven of her free throws and recorded six rebounds and five assists to help the Huskies overcome the loss of their leading scorer.

Seniors Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams also stepped up to lead their team after a taxing week. Nurse scored a game-high 24 points on 4-8 shooting from the 3-point line, holding true to her Division I-leading 50 percent rate from behind the arc this season. Williams recorded a double-double with a career-high 11 assists in 25 minutes.

The 113 points were a season-high for UConn, despite being without Samuelson. The Huskies won their 147th consecutive game against unranked opponents and are now 77-0 against the American Athletic Conference.

Temple (9-9, 1-5 the American) was led by freshman forward Mia Davis, who nearly matched Walker with 19 points of her own. The Owls lost their fourth consecutive game and remain tied for last place in the American.

UConn will move forward to play two more American foes before facing off against defending national champion South Carolina next Thursday.


Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.buser@uconn.edu.