The game was tightly contested … for about the first three minutes of the contest. When Kaity Healy nailed a 3-pointer for Seton Hall, they took a 3-2 lead, but the Huskies roared back with a 10-0 run and took over from there. UConn flashed their quickness and physicality in their 99-61 win at the XL Center.
“When we scheduled them, we wanted to play the best and again they showed us why they are,” Seton Hall head coach Anthony Bozzella said. “Just the way they play, that unselfishness, togetherness, are all things we saw.”
Nicole Jimenez was the star of the game for Seton Hall (7-2), splashing 23 points with five 3-pointers. But the Huskies were able to string together several runs of 9-0 or more. This put the game out of reach after the first quarter, with the score at 35-13.
On the UConn (9-0) side of things, Katie Lou Samuelson took sole possession of second place for career 3-pointers in a Husky uniform, passing fellow California-native Diana Taurasi. Now, with 320 3-pointers, Samuelson needs 78 more in order to tie Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis for most all- time in Storrs.
Samuelson said that shooting was instilled in her by her father at a young age and something that she worked on every day. The senior said that she could never have imagined passing Taurasi on the 3-pointer list.
“Being number two here, it’s pretty incredible,” Samuelson said. “I’m just grateful to be a part of that because I still look up to Diana and Maya (Moore).”
Samuelson also captured her career high for rebounds (16). She led the team in points (26), rebounds (16) and assists (6). This was her first time reaching double digits for rebounds. It is something that UConn head coach Geno Auriemma was impressed about, more so than her shooting.
“She’s involved in so many plays and she’s really enjoying this role that she has as a rebounder and as someone who is getting us out on the break,” Auriemma said. “She’s just making herself into a really complete player.”
Auriemma acknowledged Samuelson’s impressive feat and said that she has done everything asked of her throughout her career.
“We’ve had some really good 3-point shooters,” Auriemma said. “I don’t know how much she will end up with, but she’s pretty confident taking them, that’s for sure.”
Freshman Christyn Williams was able to score quickly out of the gate for the Huskies and excelled in transition, utilizing her speed and fearlessness. Williams scored 10 points in the first quarter, finishing with 15. Her ability to push the ball up the court on fast breaks and finish around the hoop is what makes her so special.
“You know, (Auriemma) has had a lot of great players, but she could be the next in line,” Bozzella said. “I think she plays with a lot of poise as a freshman.”
The Huskies had only eight players suited up for the game due to Batouly Camara dealing with a sprained knee, Megan Walker with strep throat and Lexi Gordon transferring. Kyla Irwin started in Walker’s place and played with hustle, toughness and a high basketball IQ. The forward played 29 minutes, scored six points and dished three assists.
UConn’s next game is in 11 days against Oklahoma. The players will face a lighter practice schedule with a couple of days off due to final exams. The coaches, however, will use this time to recruit, including Auriemma who said he was going on visits after the game.
Williams said the team must work on their on-ball defense over the break as well as getting into their offense more effectively. Auriemma said the team is happy with where they are currently.
“I think we know what we have to do,” Auriemma said. “We know where our shots are coming from. We’ve gotten a little bit better defensively.”
The Huskies next home game comes after the new year, when they take on Cincinnati on Jan. 9 in Gampel Pavilion.
Michael Logan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.