women’s basketball UConn, Collier rout St. Louis
ST. LOUIS — Some were there solely to catch a glimpse of the newly minted No. 1 team in country. Others were to see the local star.
Regardless of their reasoning, they all saw the same thing.
All around, it was another near perfect night for UConn. The Huskies followed up their statement win over Notre Dame by crushing St. Louis 98-42 on Tuesday.
The Huskies were paced by Napheesa Collier, who came to Storrs four years ago after a standout career at Incarnate Word Academy in St. Louis. Playing in front of hundreds of family and friends, Collier, a 6-foot-1 senior, notched yet another double-double — 22 points and 11 rebounds.
UConn shut down St. Louis (4-5) early, erasing any doubts of a letdown with a dominant first half. Using a 19-2 run, the Huskies sprinted into halftime up 46-20. And, it only got worse from there for St. Louis, which had no answer for the Huskies’ size, speed and strength.
Five Huskies scored in double-figures, including All-American Katie Lou Samuelson, who had 20 points. Samuelson hit 5-of-9 3-point attempts, pulling within two treys of Diana Taurasi for second on the school’s all-time list (318).
The Huskies were playing their first game as the No. 1 team in the Associated Press poll since last year’s Final Four loss to Notre Dame. They reclaimed that ranking after a thorough 89-71 victory over the Fighting Irish on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion.
They did most of their work without sophomore forward Megan Walker (averaging 11.6 points and 5.9 rebounds) who missed the game with a fever, according to a team spokesperson. Junior Kyla Irwin made her first career start in Walker’s place and had 10 rebounds in 25 minutes.
With a comfortable lead in hand, Geno Auriemma mixed and matched his rotation for much of second half. It didn’t matter who was on the floor, St. Louis had no answers for the 11-time national champions. The Huskies outscored the Billikens 25-7 in the third quarter, then took their largest lead of the night in the fourth (60 points).
The Huskies also saw more positives from freshman Olivia Nelson-Ododa, who followed up her effort off the bench against Notre Dame by recording her first double-double (12 points and 10 rebounds).