Women’s Basketball: Huskies rout Towson to advance to second round of tourney

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The UConn women’s basketball team flourished in every aspect Friday night against Towson. Photo by Eric Wang/The Daily Campus

The UConn’s women’s basketball team did not take being ranked a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament lightly. Despite remaining calm and casual when discussing the ranking after the bracket was released, it was clear the Huskies came out with a chip on their shoulder on Friday night when they defeated Towson 110-61 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Right from the get-go UConn came out tough on defense and forced the Tigers into a fast tempo.

“Our best players played really well and when they do we’re a hard team to contend with,” head coach Geno Auriemma said after the game.

The Huskies held the Tigers to just 14.3 percent from the field in the first quarter while they themselves shot 64.7 percent.

It was a night of treys for UConn as every starter netted at least one and freshman Christyn Williams hit three. Williams’ aggressiveness was evident throughout the game as she scored 21 points, good for second most in her career. Despite this being her first time in the NCAA tournament Williams said nerves never got to her.

“Well I wasn’t really nervous,” Williams said after the game. “I was more excited to play more than anything. I mean, it’s just crazy because last year at this time I was at home watching all the games on T.V. so to actually be here… I was really excited to play.”

This was the first game back for UConn’s Katie Lou Samuelson who missed the American Athletic Conference Tournament due to back spasms from an injury she received against Houston on March 3rd.

“It was great to have Lou back,” Napheesa Collier said about Samuelson’s return. “She’s obviously someone I’ve been playing with for four years so to have her back, you know, on the court with us felt really really good and I thought she looked great…”

Collier had a productive game herself, scoring 23 points and grabbing 14 rebounds for her 21st double-double of the season. She leads the Huskies in points-per-game with 20.9.

In the second quarter, the Huskies scored 33 points and shot a staggering 70 percent from the field. At the half, UConn was up 64-24 and had led by as much as 41 points.

The third quarter was a less productive one for UConn, but they still outscored Towson 26-20.

“All the shots that we made in the first quarter, we got the exact same shots in [the third quarter] and they didn’t go in,” Auriemma said. “Well, that’s just the way it is and because we’re not gonna offensive rebound you to death and we’re not going to block 70 of your shots and get layups at the other end if we don’t make a lot of jump shots then we don’t have a lot of ways to score.”

Though the Huskies did not block 70 shots on Friday night they did block seven of the Tiger’s shots, more than the 6.3 Towson averages per game.

In the fourth quarter, UConn hit the 100-point mark for the first time since February 20th against Memphis and every bench player on the team got minutes on the floor. The Huskies’ bench contributed 19 points in the matchup including nine from freshman Olivia Nelson-Ododa.

Despite losing by more than 40 points, Towson’s head coach Diane Richardson said that the loss against UConn will help the Tigers going forward.

“I think it was great for all of them to kind of see what is expected,” Richardson said of her team. “Like this is where the best of the best play and it gives them some incentive to step up their game.”

This was Towson’s first ever trip to the NCAA tournament and their first winning season since 2011-12.

Next up, UConn will play 10-seed Buffalo on Sunday in Gampel Pavilion. The Bulls defeated seven-seed Rutgers 82-71 on Friday afternoon to advance to the second round of the tournament.


Mariana Dominguez is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at mariana.dominguez@uconn.edu.

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