The UConn women’s basketball team returns home Saturday after a huge road win over the Memphis Tigers for a matchup with the Tulane Green Wave at Gampel Pavilion.
The last time the No. 1 Huskies (19-0, 8-0 the American) squared off against Tulane (11-9, 3-4 the American), they got the scare of a lifetime.
UConn just came off their 100th consecutive win in a huge game against the South Carolina Gamecocks and traveled to New Orleans on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 to take on the Green Wave at the Devlin Fieldhouse. Without star guard Kia Nurse, the Huskies struggled mightily and nearly suffered the upset of the century. UConn ultimately pulled through and survived for a 63-60 win over Tulane.
In that game, the Green Wave got huge performances out of guards Leslie Vorpahl and Kolby Morgan, who scored 16 and 19 points, respectively. Both guards were threats from beyond the arc, shooting a combined 7-14 from the 3-point range.
Vorpahl has since graduated, but Morgan remains one of the premier players in the American Athletic Conference. The 5-foot-8 senior leads Tulane in scoring with an outstanding 21.3 points per game. No other player averages double figures for the Green Wave.
Morgan shoots 44 percent from the field and 38 percent from beyond the arc in 2017-18, but also contributes to her team’s success in other ways. Notably, Morgan is an impressive rebounder for someone her size, averaging 5.8 boards per game (second on her team).
Morgan can also distribute the ball fairly well, tacking on 3.5 assists per game this year, and can contribute on the defensive end, evidenced by a team-high 33 steals for the season, along with 17 blocks.
Katie Lou Samuelson, who missed the game against Temple due to concerns over her ankle, delivered a good showing for the Huskies their last time out in the 93-36 win in her return against the Tigers. Samuelson scored 17 against Memphis on 7-12 shooting but struggled from deep, where she usually excels. The junior guard/forward shot just 1-5 from beyond the arc and will look to improve on that in her second game back from injury.
Samuelson’s classmate Napheesa Collier had one of her best games in the season against Memphis Wednesday. The junior forward scored 19 points in the Wednesday matinee on 9-15 shooting, grabbing a double-double with 12 boards in the process. If Collier can hit the same stride offensively as she did in her sophomore campaign, the already tough-to-beat Huskies will be an even more unstoppable force.
UConn should be wary of falling victim to a trap game against the Green Wave. While their near upset occurred last year after the South Carolina game, this match up will take place with a game against the defending national champions looming. The Huskies take on No. 9 South Carolina on Thursday, Feb. 1 and can’t be looking too far ahead if they want to avoid a potential upset to Tulane.
The matchup will unfold at noon Saturday at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut. The game will be broadcast on SNY.