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UConn Women’s Basketball Tramples No. 15 Maryland, 97-72

The Huskies dominated from start to finish.

The UConn Huskies take on the Boston College Eagles in a college football game at Fenway Park in Boston as part of the Fenway Gridiron Series on November 18, 2017. Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

In their first game without Katie Lou Samuelson, the top-ranked UConn women’s basketball team soundly defeated the No. 15 Maryland Terrapins, 97-72.

With Samuelson out due to a foot injury suffered on Friday against Cal, Azura Stevens earned her first career start. The Duke transfer showed out with a double-double, dropping 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Kia Nurse, meanwhile, led all scorers with 21 points on five-of-eight shooting from three.

UConn exploded out of the gate with a 7-0 run and looked poised to take over the game in the first few minutes. But Maryland responded with a 7-0 run of their own to pull even. All it did was delay the inevitable. The Huskies bounced back with a 9-0 run, which turned into 19-2 run, which turned into a 32-11 lead after the first quarter.

Kia Nurse caught fire from deep, hitting four-of-five from beyond the arc for 12 points in the first ten minutes.

The pace slowed in the second quarter as UConn only outscored Maryland 14-10. The Husky defense was especially stiff, holding the Terps scoreless over the last 2:42 of the half. They also forced 15 Maryland turnovers which turned into 22 points. Maryland finished with 20 turnovers. The Huskies struggled with turnovers as well as they coughed the ball up 25 times, which led to 29 Maryland points.

The Huskies came out of the half and quickly put the game out of reach, pushing the lead over 30 by the end of the third quarter. With the game in hand, Auriemma used the last quarter to rest his starters and give the reserves some run.

Freshmen Megan Walker and Andra Espinoza-Hunter made the most of their minutes, as they scored 12 points and six points, respectively. Espinoza-Hunter flashed her shooting ability, draining two-of-three from beyond the arc.

All five UConn starters finished in double-figure scoring, while Stevens, Napheesa Collier, and Gabby Williams notched double-doubles. The Huskies won the rebounding battle, 57-35, and enjoyed a 52-36 advantage in points in the paint.

Next, the Huskies head out to the west coast for three games in the next week. Their next game is at UCLA on Tuesday, with tipoff set at 10:30 pm.

UConn head coach Geno Auriemma postgame:

Kia Nurse, Gabby Williams, Azura Stevens, Crystal Dangerfield postgame:

Maryland head coach Brenda Frese postgame: