Forced to dress only eight players, UConn may have been outmanned, but they were most certainly not out-gunned against Seton Hall on Saturday afternoon.
The Huskies had Katie Lou Samuelson on their side, a weapon versatile enough to win a world war, let alone a basketball game.
With Megan Walker battling strep throat, Batouly Camara combating a sprained knee and Lexi Gorton transferring, Samuelson was a terror on the boards and a danger from distance on her way to a career day and a 99-61 victory over Seton Hall.
In addition to 26 points, Samuelson tallied 16 rebounds, a new career high, and splashed home four 3-pointers to move into second-place all-time on UConn’s career three-point list, passing Diana Taurasi.
“She’s really enjoying this role she has as a rebounder and as someone who’s getting us out on the break,” said head coach Geno Auriemma. “She’s making herself into a really, really, really complete player.”
Samuelson’s third 3-pointer of the day was the one that made history, a jump shot from the top of the arc with less than five minutes left on the game-clock.
Thirty seconds later, she splashed home another 3, moving her further away in the history books from the woman she grew up watching.
“I don’t think I ever thought I would be in this situation but to be even mentioned among that and to break that record and be number two here is pretty incredible,” said Samuelson.
Samuelson’s next career mark from 3-point land is still a ways away. The senior forward will need 79 more threes to break Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ career mark of 198 triples. Following Lewis’ footsteps is nothing new for Samuelson. The two both went to the same high school, Mater Dei in Santa Ana, California.
Taurasi, the current bronze medalist on UConn’s three-point shooting podium, also hails from California. Auriemma said that besides their place of birth, there are very little similarities between the three sharp-shooters. Well except that they all maybe arrived in Storrs a little adverse to the defensive-side of the game.
“Well, that’s what they do out there, stand out there and shoot,” Auriemma deadpanned. “I don’t think any of them came here with any idea of wanting to guard anybody.”
Slander of her defensive capabilities aside, Samuelson has long ago cast of any idea that she’s a soft west-coast girl. This was never any more evident than Saturday as Samuelson continually careened into the paint with reckless abandon, lowered her shoulder into foolish defenders and gobbled up 16 rebounds, seven more than her previous career high.
“It makes it easier if I do get rebounds because you’d see Crystal [Dangerfield] take off running down the floor and get people more in transition,” Samuelson said. “It gives a different look to teams. If I can rebound a lot like that, we’re going to be pretty successful.”
After the final buzzer sounded, Samuelson departed the court to chants of “LOOUUU” and high-fived some young fans on the way back to the lockerroom.
All in a days work for the Cali girl with a dead-eye from distance and a killer instinct on the glass.
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.