UConn extends streak to 103 with rout of Memphis
STORRS, Conn. (AP) Katie Lou Samuelson doesn’t worry about slumps.
The UConn sophomore knows she will eventually shoot her way of them.
Samuelson did just that on Saturday, scoring 29 points to lead the top-ranked Huskies to a 91-48 win over Memphis. The victory extended the program’s record winning streak to 103 games.
Samuelson, who was just 13 of 40 from the field during her previous three games, hit 11 of her 14 shots against the Tigers. She was 5 of 8 from 3-point range.
”I don’t really think I’ve been in a slump because I think I’ve been shooting really well in practice, the same as I normally do,” she said. ”It just hasn’t been going in during the games. But it was nice to shoot well today.”
Napheesa Collier added 19 points and senior Saniya Chong had 14 points and seven assists in her final regular-season home game for the Huskies (28-0, 15-0 AAC).
Brea Elmore scored 19 points to lead Memphis (13-15, 6-9), which has lost three in a row after a three-game winning streak. Cheyenne Creighton added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers.
Samuelson opened the game with a four-point play after being fouled on her first 3-point shot. She scored the Huskies first eight points and had 11 in the first quarter as UConn built a 30-13 lead.
The Huskies scored 19 points off 14 Memphis turnovers in the first half and led 51-20 at intermission.
Memphis coach Melissa McFerrin said she doesn’t expect to spend a lot of time going over the film of this game with her team.
”I had a coach one time that said that sometimes you just flush them down the toilet,” she said. ”If that is where they belong, you flush them down the toilet and go to the next one.”
The Huskies pushed the lead to 40 points for the first time at 62-22 on a length-of-the-court pass from Samuelson to Chong, one of Samuelson’s five assists.
She and Collier combined to shoot 20 of 27 from the field .
”(Samuelson) was involved in a lot of stuff today,” said UConn coach Geno Auriemma. ”She scored a lot of different ways, which was a good sign. Obviously she shot the ball well from behind the arc, but she also did a lot of other stuff and found a way to get involved.”
UConn: Chong and former walk-on Tierney Lawlor are 144-1 during their four years at UConn. They could end their careers as the winningest senior class in women’s college basketball history. They would be 154-1 if UConn wins out and earns a fifth straight national title.
”It’s pretty crazy” said Chong. ”But hey, our season is still not done and we’ll see. Our goal is to go all the way.”
Memphis: Every Memphis player has started at least one game this season and the Tigers have used seven different starting lineups. Creighton and senior Taylor Williams continue to be the common denominator, starting every game this season.
HOME SWEET HOME
The win is the 320th at Gampel Pavilion since the on-campus arena opened in 1990. The Huskies have won 100 of their last 101 in the arena. They have lost at Gampel just 19 times in their history, seven times since 1993 (275-7). The Huskies are expected to return here for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The regionals will be held just under 80 miles away in Bridgeport.
Guard Kia Nurse missed her thirds straight game with a stress injury to her right ankle. Auriemma said Nurse is set to begin resuming basketball activities on Wednesday and hopes to be back for the conference tournament next weekend.
Samuelson is just eight points shy of becoming the 44th UConn player to reach 1,000 points for her career. She would join junior Gabby Williams, who reached the milestone on Wednesday.
UConn: The Huskies close the regular-season on Monday at South Florida, before returning to Connecticut for the American Athletic Conference Tournament, which will be held about 30 miles from campus at the Mohegan Sun arena, the home of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.
Memphis: The Tigers Host Tulane in their regular-season finale on Monday.