In their opening game of the AAC Tournament, the UConn women’s basketball team blew out the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, 105-57, in the Huskies’ highest scoring total of the season.
After missing the previous four games with an ankle injury, Kia Nurse returned to the starting lineup, playing just 15 minutes but moving well on the court. She only scored two points, but they came on an explosive drive to the hoop. The junior guard also played high-energy defense which indicated she did not seem to be affected by the injury.
“15 minutes was good,” said Nurse. “You don’t want to throw yourself back with an injury like this so you try and ease yourself back in.”
Tulsa actually remained close early on as UConn held a one-point lead, 8-7, at the first media time-out. But the Golden Hurricane would not hang on much longer.
UConn started the second quarter with a 17-3 run followed by a 9-0 run which broke the game open. The lead quickly grew over 30 at the half and reached 40 in the third quarter.
Gabby Williams powered the Husky offense, hitting her first six shots en route to 13 first-half points. She finished with 17 points, six assists, and three rebounds.
Napheesa Collier surpassed the 20-point mark for the 17th time this season with a 24-point performance. In the last two decades, the only other UConn players to have more in a season are Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, and Nykesha Sales.
The Huskies finished a perfect 20-of-20 from the free throw line and limited Tulsa to just four foul shots the entire game.
Geno Auriemma typically lets the starters play into the final period, but this time the bench was cleared by the end of the third quarter. With three games in three days, keeping players fresh is important considering how many minutes the starting five plays.
The Huskies advance to the semifinals Sunday, where they will face off against the UCF Knights. Tip-off is at 5 p.m.