No. 1 UConn shoots 71 percent, routs Wichita State 124-43
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A game after putting up their lowest point total in nearly six years, UConn came close to setting scoring records in a rout of Wichita State.
Napheesa Collier scored 26 points and Katie Lou Samuelson added 22 points and nine assists to lead UConn to a 124-43 win Saturday the first meeting between the two programs.
The 124 points was two shy of the program record, which was set against Providence in 1998. The 81-point margin of victory is second only to a 97-point rout of Quinnipiac that same season.
”We made shots,” coach Geno Auriemma said. ”We shot the ball incredibly well and anytime you make shots like that it makes your offense look good. But a lot of it was off of our defense.”
The Huskies shot 71 percent from the floor, hitting 47 of their 66 shots.
Gabby Williams added 17 points, Azura Stevens 16 and Kia Nurse 14 for the Huskies (24-0, 12-0 American), who won their 75th straight home game, the third longest home winning streak in NCAA history.
Rangie Bassard had 20 points to lead Wichita State (10-16, 5-7 American), which turned the ball over 28 times, leading to 52 UConn points.
”Their length really affected us,” said coach Keitha Adams ”I’m sure as you experience it more you’re probably more mentally prepared for it. They’ve got a great team.”
UConn never trailed. A behind-the-back assist from Crystal Dangerfield to Samuelson for a layup highlighted a 15-0 run that put the game away early. Dangerfield, UConn’s point guard, started after missing the last two games with shin splints.
”Usually when Crystal’s not looking at you, you know you are getting the ball,” said Samuelson. ”So, I was ready for something. It was just an amazing pass.”
The Huskies led 41-12 after 10 minutes, tying a program record for points in a quarter.
A 3-pointer from Samuelson, one of her six, gave UConn a 42-point first half lead at 60-18 and was 67-23 at intermission.
A jumper by Collier just before the end of the third quarter put UConn over 100 points for the sixth time this season.
The win was the Huskies’ 192nd straight against a team with a losing record and their 152nd in a row against an unranked opponent.
Williams, who also had six assists and seven rebounds, said the Huskies were focused after scoring just 55 points in an 18-point win over UCF on Wednesday.
”We were just trying to challenge ourselves and do what we do,” she said. ”We were having a lot of fun.”
Wichita State: The Shockers came into the game leading the conference in free-throw percentage, hitting just over 77 percent of their shots from the foul line. They were six of seven on Saturday with Bessard hitting all six of her foul shots.
UConn: The Huskies have now won 87 straight games when playing an opponent for the first time. … UConn has won all 94 games they have played in the conference, 82 in the regular season and 12 straight in winning all four AAC Tournaments.
UConn leads the nation in scoring and the win pushed their average per game to 91.1 points. They are giving up and average of 53.8 points, beating opponents by an average of more than 37-points per game.
The Huskies held Wichita State to under 32 percent shooting. Collier said that comes from having four or five players on the court who can guard all five positions. She says the Huskies switch a lot off screens, and seldom feel like they are put in a mismatch.
”I don’t know how teams could prepare for that,” she said. ”We have so many people who can do so many different things. I think it’s really hard for teams to play us because we are so versatile.”
Dangerfield finished with nine points and four assists in 19 minutes. But Auriemma said having her back created a lot of things that don’t appear on the stat sheet.
”You can’t underestimate the impact that she has on your team because of what she can do with the ball in her hands,” he said. ”She can go wherever she wants with it and she’s very creative. She’s like a great soccer player that sees things one or two passes ahead.”
Wichita State: The Shockers return home to face Temple on Valentine’s Day.
UConn: The Huskies conclude their non-conference schedule by hosting No. 4 Louisville on Monday. UConn is 8-0 so far this season against ranked opposition.