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UConn Women’s Basketball Blows Past Memphis, 97-49

The Huskies close out 2017 with a victory.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

As 2017 came to a close, the UConn women’s basketball team opened conference play with a 97-49 victory over the Memphis Tigers.

Before the game, UConn announced that freshman Andra Espinonza-Hunter was not with the team for the game as she went home to deal with a personal matter. No specifics were given and her status is unclear moving forward.

Fellow freshman Megan Walker returned after being sidelined for the last two games with an illness. Although she only saw action in the second half, Walker finished with 12 points on five-of-six shooting along with four rebounds.

Offensively, the Huskies were led by Gabby Williams, who scored 20 points on a perfect 10-of-10 from the floor while also chipping in seven assists and three rebounds.

Despite a strong start offensively for the Huskies, Memphis stuck around early on. The Tigers hit three straight baskets to cut the lead to three at the under-five timeout.

However, UConn would quickly pull away thanks to a 13-1 run towards the end of the first quarter followed by an 11-3 run at the start of the second quarter to push the lead over 20. The Tigers struggled to find the hoop as they went over three and a half minutes without a basket in the second period.

The Huskies dominated down low all game long. In the first quarter, UConn grabbed 12 rebounds — including five offensive — while Memphis pulled in just three total. The Huskies outscored the Tigers 40-10 in the paint at the half.

But UConn stumbled out of the gate to start the second half, going two and a half minutes without scoring. The Tigers failed to take advantage as they went on a two and a half minute drought of their own without a bucket.

Eventually, the Huskies kicked it into gear and pulled off a 15-2 run to put the game away for good. They stretched the lead past 30 in the third quarter and pushed it over 40 in the fourth.

Offensively, UConn had balanced scoring with six players reaching double-figures, including all five starters. Katie Lou Samuelson finished with a career-high nine rebounds to go with 12 points on four-of-seven shooting while Napheesa Collier racked up 14 points and nine rebounds.

The Huskies improve to 11-0 on the year and 1-0 in the American. Next, they hit the road to face the East Carolina Pirates on January 3 at 7 p.m.

Geno Auriemma postgame:

Megan Walker, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson postgame: