Basketball may be an indoor sport, but it was raining 3’s on Wednesday night in the XL Center when the UConn women’s basketball team defeated Memphis 102-45 in their last game in Hartford for the season.
Senior Katie Lou Samuelson scored a season-high 32 points in the matchup, along with 12 rebounds for a double-double. Halfway through the second quarter, she passed her season high of five for most three-pointers in a game this season and ended the night with eight total. At the half, Samuelson had scored as many points as the Tigers’ entire team ,with 27.
Earlier in the season, Samuelson raised some eyebrows when her usually reliable shots from deep began missing. In the matchup against UCF on Feb. 17, Samuelson went scoreless from the field.
“I don’t worry too much when kids are not making shots,” head coach Geno Auriemma said. “I worry about if they’re not getting shots. Like if I’m not doing my job and getting them shots, that’s when I get a little bit concerned.”
Samuelson echoed Auriemma by saying she never grew concerned about her ability to make three’s because she has been a shooter for so long.
“I don’t really question my three’s that much,” Samuelson said. “I’ll get in the gym more when I’m not shooting as well and try to do other things on the court, but if I’m shooting bad, I’m not as concerned that I forgot how to shoot.”
Fellow senior Napheesa Collier made her mark in the game as well by recording her 15th double-double of the season in her 100th consecutive start.
“Napheesa just reminds me of those old time guys, you know,” Auriemma said after the game. “Knock on wood, she spends no time in the training room. She just shows up, plays, gets herself ready and then goes out and does her thing every day.”
At the half the Huskies were up 62-27 and four of the five starters had made at least one three.
In the second half, the Huskies picked up right where they left off with junior Crystal Dangerfield scoring a trey right away.
Freshman Olivia Nelson-Ododa played significant minutes for UConn as they needed her long 6-foot-four stature to help out on defense. She ended the night with 10 points and eight rebounds.
“I feel like she’s just gotten to a point where she seems a little more free out there,” Samuelson said of Nelson-Ododa. “I think there were times when she came into the game and you couldn’t say much to her because you could tell she was just thinking and kind of freaking out a little bit and now she’s [as] engaged as everyone else.”
As a whole, UConn’s bench played well against Memphis, scoring 24 points against the Tigers.
Sophomore Mikayla Coombs scored just two of those points but made an impact defensively with four steals and a block.
“Mikayla’s been working really really hard,” Auriemma said “I’m trying to get her to kind of embrace a particular role on our team that she can really help us with and it doesn’t have to include scoring. She made great defensive plays today. She’s athletic as all get out and she can help us.”
The Huskies ended the night with 14 total threes and scored 51.9 percent from beyond the arc. Every player on the team contributed at least one field goal in the win.
UConn is now 24-2 on the season and 12-0 in conference play. Next up, the squad will head to Oklahoma to play Tulsa on Sunday at 3 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SNY and ESPN3.
Mariana Dominguez is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.