UConn women's basketball can claim sole possession of second place on Division I victories list with win over Tulane

Published on Monday, 19 February 2018 20:19
Written by Carl Adamec

Journal Inquirer

HARTFORD - It was in 2014 that the UConn women’s basketball team moved past Tennessee in national championships.

The Huskies have caught the Lady Vols in most NCAA Final Four appearances at 18, a category they trailed by nine a decade ago.

Now UConn can set its sights on another Tennessee record, though this is going to take some time if it ever happens.

With their 106-45 American Athletic Conference rout of Temple before 13,110 at the XL Center on Sunday, the top-ranked Huskies moved into a tie with Louisiana Tech for second place in Division I victories at 1,108. They trail only Tennessee, which has 1,340 wins. UConn can claim the second spot to itself Wednesday night with a league win at Tulane.

“When you hear about these things, so much of it is just crazy,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “But then you think about how hard it is to sustain this stuff. That’s one of the examples I used speaking to this group (of season ticket holders) today. It’s not easy to maintain this run for 20-something years, or how long it’s been. If you’re not careful, it’s easy for it to go away. And if it goes away, it doesn’t come back.

“We’ve been able to do it for a long, long time. Teams like Louisiana Tech, Old Dominion, Auburn, Virginia, USC, you can throw in others, teams that were on top for a long period of time. … And now it’s like, ‘What happened?’ ”

UConn’s record since the program started in 1974 is 1,108-297 (.789) while Louisiana Tech, which also started in 1974, is 1,108-319 after beating Southern Mississippi in Ruston Saturday.

Auriemma has accounted for 1,017 of those wins and 135 of the losses. Before his and Chris Dailey’s arrival in 1985, UConn compiled a 91-162 record.

Since the start of the 1993-94 season, UConn has made up 262 wins on Louisiana Tech and 107 wins on Tennessee.

“We’ve come a long way since 1993,” Auriemma said. “It’s been pretty remarkable. It’s pretty hard to believe actually. Why? Because it doesn’t happen. If it was one of those things that happened and you said, ‘Oh yeah, sure, I believe that,’ there would be a lot of people doing it. But who’s had a 20-year run like this, ever? We have. That’s it.”

The latest win was never in doubt as UConn (26-0 overall, 13-0 AAC) maintained its two-game lead in the league race over South Florida with three games to go.

All-American Katie Lou Samuelson continued her surge of the last four weeks as she had 27 points including four 3-point baskets and three old-fashioned three-point plays in 26 minutes. She also had five assists.

“In practice I feel like I’ve been consistently doing things that I’m translating into games,” Samuelson said. “I feel like I’ve been taking good shots and not forcing things. I’ve been playing and taking the shots from where they come from. I’m not too focused on scoring, but it seems like it comes more when I’m trying to just be all over the court and not looking to score.”

In the eight games since missing the first meeting with Temple on Jan. 21 after aggravating a left ankle injury against Tulsa three days earlier, Samuelson is averaging 21.0 points on 58.0 percent shooting from the floor, 50.0 percent from 3-point land, and 90.0 percent from the foul line. She’s also averaging 4.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.8.

“Lou’s been reading the defense really well and anticipating, and that’s what makes her so dangerous from all areas of the court,” UConn All-American Gabby Williams said. “You have to pick your poison. She has worked so hard on being more than just a spot-up shooter. I think she knew she had that potential when she came here, and I’m glad she is kind of in her zone now.”

Posted in New Britain Herald, UConn on Monday, 19 February 2018 20:19. Updated: Monday, 19 February 2018 20:21.