Col­lier on a tear with S. Carolina await­ing

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - SPORTS -

STORRS — Another Amer­i­can Ath­letic Con­fer­ence op­po­nent, another com­fort­able win.

The fifth-ranked UConn women geared up for their top-15 show­down with South Carolina by rout­ing Tem­ple 109-74 Satur­day be­fore a sell­out crowd at Gam­pel Pav­il­ion.

UConn moved to 21-2 (10-0 AAC) on the sea­son, as it cracked triple-dig­its for the sec­ond straight game.

Here’s five take­aways from the easy win:

⏩ One of the best: Could Napheesa Col­lier be work­ing her way into the con­ver­sa­tion for na­tional player of the year?

It’d be hard to ar­gue oth­er­wise.

Col­lier has been on a tear, av­er­ag­ing 22.5 points and 9.5 re­bounds while shoot­ing 66.3 per­cent over her last eight games. She’s al­ready to­taled 12 dou­ble-dou­bles this sea­son, in­clud­ing a

Doug Bon­jour’s Take­aways

stel­lar 30-point, 14-re­bound ef­fort against Tem­ple.

Geno Auriemma has had eight play­ers named AP Player of the Year, in­clud­ing a pair of mul­ti­year win­ners in Maya Moore (twice) and Bre­anna Ste­wart (three times).

While Ore­gon guard Sab­rina Ionescu, Louisville guard Asia Durr, Mis­sis­sippi State for­ward Teaira McCowan and Iowa for­ward Me­gan Gustafson, among oth­ers, will garner

plenty of at­ten­tion, Col­lier, who is av­er­ag­ing a teamhigh 19.3 points and 9.9 re­bounds, cer­tainly is be­com­ing more de­serv­ing of con­sid­er­a­tion.

⏩ Shar­ing the rock: UConn dished out a sea­son­high 35 as­sists in Wed­nes­day’s 118-55 rout of ECU, prompt­ing Auriemma to sug­gest that the Huskies were liv­ing in “fairy tale land.”

The Huskies fol­lowed that up by pass­ing out 31 helpers against Tem­ple.

On one play in the third quar­ter, all five Huskies touched the ball be­fore Katie Lou Sa­muel­son knocked down a 3-pointer from straight on. It was a thing of beauty.

⏩ Louuu: As if there was ever any doubt, Sa­muel­son is out of her shoot­ing slump. The se­nior fol­lowed up her 31-point out­burst against ECU with another ef­fi­cient day: 19 points on 6-of-9 shoot­ing, along with seven as­sists.

Sa­muel­son also matched her sea­son-high with five 3-point­ers, some­thing she did three times last sea­son.

⏩ Mixed re­sults: Here’s the good from Olivia Nel­sonO­doda’s 15 min­utes off the bench: 10 points and six re­bounds.

And, here’s the not-so­good: four fouls.

Nel­son-Ododa’s raw tal­ent is ev­i­dent, but fouls re­main an is­sue. The fresh­man for­ward is av­er­ag­ing nearly two per game (in only 11.3 min­utes of ac­tion).

⏩ Good luck: The Huskies are sim­ply re­lent­less. Con­sider this: Tem­ple shot 21-of-48 (43 per­cent) and sank 11 3-point­ers over the first three quar­ters. And yet, the Huskies led by 25

dbon­[email protected]­post.com; @DougBon­jour

Stephen Dunn / As­so­ci­ated Press

Katie Lou Sa­muel­son and fifth-ranked UConn will face off against No. 15 South Carolina on Mon­day.

Jes­sica Hill / As­so­ci­ated Press

From left, UConn’s Me­gan Walker, Crys­tal Danger­field and Napheesa Col­lier look on from the bench dur­ing the sec­ond half on Satur­day.

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