women’s basketball Huskies put on vintage performance in rout of ECU

February 8, 2019

HARTFORD — Well, that was easy.

UConn authored a dominant performance Wednesday, crushing ECU 118-55 at the XL Center. It was UConn’s first game cracking 100 points in 2018-19 after doing so eight times last season.

The fifth-ranked Huskies improved to 20-2, including 9-0 in the American Athletic Conference.

Here’s five takeaways from the win:

PERFECTION FROM PHEE: Napheesa Collier couldn’t recall the last time she shot 10-for-10 — or better — in a game.

The answer? Collier hit all 10 of her attempts from the floor and scored 24 points in a 96-49 rout of Cincinnati on Feb. 7, 2017. A sophomore at the time, Collier would go on to post career-bests in points (20.4 per game) and shooting percentage (67.8 percent).

Collier matched that feat against ECU, this time posting 21 points. It was the latest in a string of eye-opening performances for the forward, who has been UConn’s most consistent threat during conference play.

Over the last 10 games, Collier’s averaged 19.4 points and 8.7 rebounds.

NOW, THAT’S MORE LIKE IT: From a pure execution standpoint, Wednesday’s performance was vintage UConn.

UConn operated with pinpoint precision on offense, making 45 shots, including 11 3-pointers, on a season-high 35 assists. The Huskies were just as relentless on the defensive end, recording 20 steals — one shy of their program record.

The ease with which the Huskies won wasn’t a surprise. ECU isn’t in the same hemisphere as the 11-time national champions. Nevertheless, it had been a while since the Huskies delivered a performance as thorough as this one.

TURNING UP THE PACE: Katie Lou Samuelson broke out of her slump in a big way, pouring in a season-high 31 points on 9-of-11 shooting.

What was arguably most impressive about Samuelson’s performance was how those points came. The All-American attempted only two 3s (making both), feasting instead on a steady diet of high-percentage shots in transition.

While surveying the Huskies’ statistics in his postgame address, Geno Auriemma joked how Samuelson scoring 27 first-half points on just two 3s was “unheard of back in the day for her.”

WORKING ON HER CRAFT: Christyn Williams is a natural scorer. The problem is, the freshman guard had gotten away in recent weeks from what she does best.

Williams bounced back with 15 points against ECU, cracking double-figures for just the second time in eight games.

The key? Well, for one, Williams went back to one of her trademark shots from high school — a stepback jumper.

“I used to do stepbacks all the time,” she explained.

SAME OLD, SAME OLD: There are a litany of statistics that speak to UConn’s remarkable run of consistency under Auriemma.

Here’s one: The Huskies have now won 20 games or more 26 straight seasons.

dbonjour@ctpost.com; @DougBonjour

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