Senior Day in Storrs is always an emotional experience. This year was no different.
A sellout crowd arrived at Gampel Pavilion to join in honoring Briana Pulido, Morgan Tuck, Moriah Jefferson and Breanna Stewart. Jefferson and Stewart were enshrined in the Husky of Honor wall along with associate head coach Chris Dailey before the game. Geno Auriemma started all four seniors along with sophomore Kia Nurse as the Huskies captured another easy victory over Tulane, 80-40.
Tulane showed some fight early on, but the contest eventually became your typical garden variety UConn vs. AAC game.
UConn appeared rattled at the start, missing their first 12 shots. They trailed Tulane by 11 points at one point in the first quarter, 13-2. Gabby Williams would hit two free throws at the end of the quarter to help cut the deficit down to five points at 13-8. The meager scoring effort marked a season-low for the Huskies in a quarter and the 11-point deficit was their largest of the season.
The Huskies (28-0, 17-0 American) shot a season-low 38% from the floor. Despite the poor effort, some of the younger players stepped up to guide the Huskies to victory.
As the seniors just could not get it going offensively, it was Williams' defensive presence and Katie Lou Samuelson's offense that led the way. Williams had five steals that led to fast-break points and got the UConn offense rolling.
The Huskies mounted a 57-11 run from the end of the first quarter into the fourth quarter to claim the victory. Samuelson tied her career-high with 21 points, a total which she has hit three times this season, hitting six out of nine three-point attempts.
Despite the slow start and the struggles on the offensive end, UConn did a few important things right to win this game. They got to the free throw line and did well from there- going 18-for-20. Tulane did not attempt any free throws. UConn only turned over the ball five times while forcing 21 turnovers.
Stewart finished the game with 20 points and 12 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season. Jefferson added six points and six assists. Jefferson became just the second Husky to accumulate 600 assists and 300 steals in her career, joining Jennifer Rizzotti.
Tulane (19-10, 10-7) was led by Kolby Morgan, who scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds. The Green Wave are battling with Memphis for fourth place in the conference as the season nears its close.
UConn will play their final game of the regular season on Monday night when they host No. 21 South Florida (7 p.m., ESPN2) at Gampel Pavilion.
Photo gallery credits: Ian Bethune