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UConn Women’s Basketball Overpowers South Carolina for #100, 66-55

The Huskies reached an impressive milestone by defeating the No. 6 Gamecocks.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

In front of a sellout crowd at Gampel Pavilion, the UConn women’s hoops team took down No. 6 South Carolina, 66-55, to earn its 100th consecutive win.

Despite South Carolina’s clear size advantage, UConn experienced great success offensively getting the ball inside. The vast majority of the Huskies’ scoring came from Gabby Williams and Napheesa Collier, who combined for 29 of the team’s 35 first-half points.

Williams rose to the occasion and took her game to another level as she nearly finished the first half with a double-double. She was leaping over taller defenders for rebounds, grabbing 14 on the evening, and making jaw-dropping plays all over the court on her way to 26 points.

“There's no one else like her in all of women’s college basketball,” said head coach Geno Auriemma after the game. “Somebody send me a video tomorrow of somebody who’s like her and I’ll change my mind but there isn’t.

Collier expanded her game to the perimeter in response to the Gamecocks pressuring her down low. She hit a three and a long two which forced the defense to respect her shot and give her space in the paint. The sophomore had nine rebounds as well.

South Carolina came out of the gates ready for the challenge of the best team in the land, playing a tight first quarter with the four-time reigning champions. A three-pointer from Bianca Cuevas-Moore in the second quarter put the Gamecocks ahead 24-22. The visitors held on to the lead for a chunk of the second quarter heading into the final minute.

But then UConn ripped off a 7-0 run to close out the half, powered by Collier, that gave the Huskies a six-point lead and put them in the driver’s seat. The Gamecocks played a confident, competitive 20 minutes and held Katie Lou Samuelson scoreless, but were still behind at the break.

South Carolina held the Huskies scoreless for the first 3:06 of the third quarter, cutting the lead to two. Samuelson scored her first basket of the night to break the cold streak and the Gamecocks wouldn’t get that close again.

Collier ended the third quarter with an impressive defensive rebound and capped off the ensuing possession on the other end with an old-fashioned three-point play to give UConn its first double-digit lead of the game at 51-39.

After competing with the Huskies for nearly three quarters, South Carolina could not keep up down the stretch. Despite dealing with foul trouble, the Huskies did not skip a beat and held the Gamecocks at arm's length for the remainder of the game.

As South Carolina struggled, UConn continued getting stronger as it closed out the victory with relative comfort.

Without question, it was the Huskies’ best performance of the season. Despite Kia Nurse playing through an early injury and Katie Lou Samuelson scoring just six points, UConn still came away with a double-digit win under a lot of pressure against an impressive opponent.

Geno Auriemma’s squad passed its final exam in the regular season. The Huskies made it through a remarkably challenging non-conference schedule a perfect 13-0, beating teams ranked 12th, 15th, 14th, 2nd, 12th, 4th, and 6th at the time of the contest. They might not have a superstar leader. They might not have great depth. But they do have the best team in the nation.

Geno Auriemma Postgame:

Kia Nurse, Crystal Dangerfield, Gabby Williams, Napheesa Collier Postgame: