Against the second-best team in the American Conference, the UConn women’s basketball team put together their best performance of the season in a dominating 100-49 win over the USF Bulls.
Napheesa Collier had her best game of the year with a double-double on 25 points and 11 rebounds. Collier played like she did last season, shooting an efficient 12-15 from the field while chipping in four assists as well.
UConn got off to a blazing start, jumping ahead 11-2 which forced USF coach Jose Fernandez to take a timeout.
The onslaught took a brief intermission out of the break before returning in the form of a 16-0 run for the Huskies. During this stretch, the Bulls failed to score for over three minutes.
However, the Huskies’ offense was dealt a blow when Katie Lou Samuelson picked up her third foul late in the first quarter, forcing her to the bench for the remainder of the half.
Azura Stevens stepped in and dominated, dropping nine points in just eight minutes of play, including a 3-pointer. Stevens finished with 15 points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes.
As impressive as the offense was, the defense was equally strong. USF — who came into the game averaging 79.5 points per game — shot just 24 percent and scraped together just 20 points in the first half. UConn closed the half on a 9-0 run and held the Bulls scoreless for six minutes.
Halftime did little to cure the USF’s woes. The Huskies jumped ahead 12-2 and put the Bulls away early. UConn dominated through the third quarter and never allowed the the home team to mount any comeback.
Defensively, Kia Nurse shutout Kitija Laksa, USF’s leading scorer coming into the game. Laksa finished with no points on 0-11 shooting and was visibly frustrated by Nurse the entire night. As a team, only Alyssa Rader (11 points) reached double-figures for the Bulls.
Gabby Williams filled the stat sheet with nine points, nine rebounds and six assists on the night. Samuelson finished with 15 points on 4-7 shooting from three despite not playing the entire second quarter.
Next, UConn returns to Gampel Pavilion for the first time since Nov. 17 to face-off against the UCF Knights at 7 p.m.