Notebook: UConn women's basketball players may need layup lessons

Published on Friday, 2 February 2018 22:27
Written by Carl Adamec

Journal Inquirer

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Kia Nurse entered Thursday night’s action leading the country in 3-point shooting at 50.5 percent, and the senior guard stayed about there with a 5-for-10 performance from behind the arc in the UConn women’s basketball team’s 83-58 rout of South Carolina at Colonial Life Arena.

But about those layups?

Nurse finished with 23 points, leaving her two short of 1,500 for her career. She could have made that milestone Thursday night but missed a layup in the first quarter. Then in the third quarter, Crystal Dangerfield and Katie Lou Samuelson missed layups within a minute of each other. A short time later, Nurse finished a 2-on-1 with Gabby Williams though her layup hung on the rim and appeared ready to fall off before finding the net. UConn coach Geno Auriemma threw his hands to the heavens as to say thanks.

“Kia explodes to the basket but the ball comes off like her palm,” Auriemma said. “I’m like, ‘You’re on the Olympic team and that’s how you shoot layups?’ ”

“He was happy. I was happy, too,” Nurse said with a smile. “I gave him a thumbs-up. We were proud of each other.”

There was a lot to be proud of. Nurse also grabbed four rebounds and her two assists give her 400 for her career. She came out of the game for the first and only time with 1:10 remaining. Even she was surprised by how wide open she was on her 3-point attempts.

“They can pick you apart when you’re not paying attention,” South Carolina forward A’ja Wilson said.

Why that was with the leading 3-point shooter in the country is another question.

“I’m fortunate to be on a team surrounded by really good players,” Nurse said. “When you have to pick your poison and leave someone open and that someone is me, I’ll go for it.”

It was a good night to be a UConn senior as Nurse’s classmate, Williams, had 14 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists. Williams was asked if she would help Nurse with her layups.

“If she teaches me how to shoot a 3,” Williams said.

Sweet 16 revealed

UConn has been on top of the Associated Press poll all season and remained No. 1 as the NCAA women’s basketball committee announced its second top-16 reveal Thursday night.

The committee rankings do not count Thursday’s games. But if the season ended Wednesday, UConn (21-0) would be the overall No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament and be placed in the Albany (New York) Regional.

“I really don’t follow it,” Auriemma said. “I figure all of that will take care of itself. Whatever happens, happens. We’ll worry about that when the time comes.”

Another Top 10 list

UConn junior Napheesa Collier is one of 10 candidates for the inaugural 2018 Katrina McClain Award, which honors the nation’s top power forward, the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame and WBCA announced Thursday.

A resident of St. Charles, Missouri, Collier is averaging 15.0 points on 55.8 percent shooting from the floor, 7.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists with a 1.9 assist-to-turnover ration, 2.0 blocked shots, and 1.8 steals. She was a consensus first-team All-American a season ago.

Posted in New Britain Herald, UConn on Friday, 2 February 2018 22:27. Updated: Friday, 2 February 2018 22:30.