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Final: UConn Women’s Basketball Dropkicks Wichita State, 124-43

A first quarter for the ages helped propel the Huskies to the second-most points in program history.

UConn’s Katie Lou Samuelson (33) puts up of her five made first half three pointers. She finished the first half with a team-high 19 points.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

In their first-ever matchup against Wichita State, the UConn women’s basketball team welcomed the Shockers to the American Conference with a 124-43 drubbing at the XL Center in Hartford.

The Huskies’ 124 points were the second-most ever and the margin of victory of 81 was the second-largest in school history.

“There wasn’t really much of a dropoff. We started a certain way and we sustained it pretty much the whole game,” said head coach Geno Auriemma. “It’s not always easy to do when you have a big lead like that.”

Crystal Dangerfield returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous two games due to shin splints and contributed nine points and four assists.

“When you have somebody like Crystal, you can’t underestimate the impact she has on the team because of what she can do with the ball in her hands,” Auriemma said. “She’s very creative, she sees things one or two passes ahead.”

From the opening tip, it was all about the Huskies. They took a 7-0 lead to start the game and never looked back. Wichita State had no answer on defense, as UConn opened the game hitting seven of their first 10 shots and scoring 12 of their first 15 points in the paint.

Geno Auriemma, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier and Crystal Dangerfield postgame video

Things would only get worse for the visitors from Kansas.

The Huskies ripped off a 15-0 run thanks to three straight steals that turned into fast-break points, highlighted by a flashy behind-the-back pass from Dangerfield to Katie Lou Samuelson for the lay-in.

The Shockers simply could not stop UConn in the first quarter as the Huskies shot 81 percent and tied a program-record with 41 points in the quarter.

Samuelson caught fire in the first quarter, hitting her first four shots including a perfect 3-of-3 from three for 13 points. She finished with 22 points on 6-of-8 from deep along with nine assists.

“It’s easy to take her for granted but she’s had an amazing year,” Auriemma said. “I couldn’t be happier with her.”

The Huskies’ defense was suffocating in the first half, forcing 17 turnovers which they converted into 35 points. At the break, UConn had 67 points, one short of the program record for points in a half.

Halftime was only a temporary haven from the onslaught for Wichita State. The Huskies extended their lead to 50 with 16 minutes still remaining and notched 82 points to send the fans home with wings before the midway point in the third quarter.

After 30 minutes of game-time, UConn cracked the 100-point mark, leading 101-39. The final quarter saw the bench get extended minutes and play well, going on a 19-0 run to start the period.

Gabby Williams was everywhere for the Huskies, scoring 17 points on 8-pf-9 shooting while also totaling seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. Napheesa Collier lead all scorers with 26 points, hitting 11-of-13 shots while snatching six rebounds and dishing five assists.

Next, UConn gets set to battle No. 4 Louisville on Monday at Gampel Pavilion. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN2.