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UConn Women’s Basketball: Collier, Samuelson, Named AP First Team All-Americans

The Huskies earned national recognition after their unexpected perfect regular season.

Ian Bethune for The UConn Blog

The notion that the UConn women’s basketball team continues to play at such a high level without any All-Americans is no longer. After losing the Big Three last season to graduation and failing to get one player on the preseason All-American list, the Huskies once again have three All-Americans as Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson were named to the First Team while Gabby Williams made the Second Team.

Collier and Samuelson made a big leap in their second season to form the most dangerous duo of sophomores in the nation. They were named co-AAC Players of the Year but now their talents are being recognized on a national level.

In her first year as a starter, Collier became UConn’s most consistent player, averaging 20.4 points-per-game along with 9.0 rebounds-per-game. She shot 69.3% from the field, which ranks second in the nation. She earned a double-double in 15 games this season, including an impressive 39 point, 12 rebound performance in the regular season finale at USF.

Samuelson started for much of her freshman year but transformed her game this season. While she was primarily a three-point threat last year, Samuelson became the Huskies’ best all-around scorer, leading the team with 20.7 points-per-game. Through the Sweet Sixteen, Samuelson has made 116 threes, good for third-most in a season in program history and just five behind Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis for top mark.

In the AAC Tournament final against USF, Samuelson put together one of the best performances in college basketball history, going 10-of-10 from three-point range while totaling 40 points overall.

Meanwhile, Gabby Williams became a dominating force on both ends of the court. Geno Auriemma called her the “Lawrence Taylor” of women’s basketball and her athleticism allowed her to create mismatches on offense and defense. She routinely stuffed the stat sheet and averages 13.8 points-per-game, 8.4 rebounds per game and a team-leading 5.3 assists per game.

The newly-minted All-Americans have a chance to reach the Final Four for the 10th-straight time tonight. They look to end No. 10 Oregon’s Cinderella run in Bridgeport, with tip-off coming at 7 pm on ESPN.