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UConn women’s basketball Samuelson slumping; Collier in rare company

February 3, 2019

CINCINNATI — The UConn women were underwhelming in their first game since losing to Louisville.

Yet, they still found a way to win.

Playing for the second time in less than 48 hours, the No. 2 Huskies did what was necessary to beat Cincinnati 65-55 Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. They improved to 19-2, including 8-0 in conference.

Here’s five takeaways on the bounce-back victory:

Searching for answers: Is it time to worry about Katie Lou Samuelson?

Samuelson, the nation’s most accurate 3-point shooter a year ago, is in midst of a slump that has dropped her shooting percentages — 34.5 from 3 and 44.3 overall — to career-lows.

Against Cincinnati, Samuelson missed nine of her 11 shot attempts, including all six from beyond the arc. She finished with just 11 points, one shy of her season-low.

Coach Geno Auriemma couldn’t explain why Samuelson has struggled. Really, all he can do at this point is hope the All-American guard — who has played every second of the last two games — will soon regain her form.

History-maker: Napheesa Collier is in rarefied company. As part of her 20-point day, the senior became only the fifth player in school history to reach 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for her career.

To further put her accomplishment into perspective, consider this: The others to achieve that feat — Tina Charles, Rebecca Lobo, Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart — have combined for six Olympic gold medals, three WNBA MVP awards and 14 All-Star appearances.

Striving for perfection: Auriemma praised not only Collier, but also Crystal Dangerfield for giving the Huskies a jolt of energy.

Dangerfield, who had played 40 minutes against Louisville two nights earlier, was on the court for all but 28 seconds against Cincinnati.

While the point guard was pleased with most of her performance — 17 points, five assists, four steals — she was bothered by her turnovers. Told postgame by a reporter that she had committed four, Dangerfield muttered “Oh my God” and rolled her eyes in frustration.

Dangerfield simply hates making mistakes.

Results matter: Their legs were tired. Their minds were drained. Physically and emotionally, the Huskies were spent.

Yet, they still led for all but 37 seconds along the way to their 109th straight American Athletic Conference win.

The Huskies — even at 50 percent, if not less — weren’t going to lose this game. Heck, at this rate, they might not ever lose in this conference.

They’ll get another test, but it won’t come from within the AAC. Circle Feb. 11 — when South Carolina visits Hartford — on your calendars.

That’s an improvement: The Huskies performed well at the free-throw line, making 21-of-24 tries.

Why is that important, besides the obvious, of course? Well, they’re shooting 71.6 percent from the charity stripe for the season, which ranks tied for 101st in the country.

dbonjour@ctpost.com; @DougBonjour

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