It was the first time UConn played a defending national champion since the 2012-2013 season when they lost to Baylor 76-70 at the XL Center. This time, the Huskies won. In the house of the defending national champions, the top-ranked UConn women’s basketball flat-out dominated the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks, 83-58.
The game went back and forth at the start as both teams felt each other out. However, UConn quickly took control with a 9-0 run and never looked back.
Kia Nurse powered the Huskies early, scoring a fast eight points while draining everything she hit from three. She finished with a game-high 23 points on five-of-10 shooting from deep.
Gabby Williams did it all for the Huskies, notching a double-double with 14 points, 14 rebounds as well as five assists. Katie Lou Samuelson scored 20 points on eight-of-18 shooting while also grabbing eight rebounds. Fellow junior Napheesa Collier finished with 19 points on six-of-nine shooting along with six rebounds and four assists.
While the first quarter was mostly competitive, UConn made the defending champs look like an American Conference opponent in the second period. The Huskies sandwiched the quarter with breakaway runs, going 13-0 to open while closing the half with a 10-1 stretch.
By halftime, UConn had doubled up South Carolina with a 53-24 lead.
Despite the Gamecocks having a clear size advantage on the interior, the Huskies controlled the paint on both ends of the court. At the half, UConn out-rebounded South Carolina 23-14 while holding a 24-12 advantage on points in the paint.
A’ja Wilson had a strong first half, scoring 10 of her team’s 24 first-half points. However, she was held to just four points in the second half, a big reason the Gamecocks were unable to get back into the game.
The Huskies jumped out to a quick 6-0 run out of the break but cooled off with a 3:39 scoreless drought as South Carolina made a 12-0 run. But it only cut UConn’s lead to 21 points, which would be the closest the Gamecocks would get for the rest of the night.
South Carolina made no serious comeback attempt and UConn leaves Columbia with a 25-point victory. With the win, the Huskies improved to 6-0 all-time against the Gamecocks.