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Strong First Quarter Propels UConn Women’s Basketball Past Louisville, 69-58

The Huskies close out their non-conference schedule on a high note.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

In their final non-conference matchup of the season, the UConn Huskies defeated the No. 4 Louisville Cardinals, 69-58. UConn put together a dominant first quarter, outscoring the Cardinals 24-6, that ultimately made the difference in the game.

The high point for Louisville came on the opening possession as they forced a UConn turnover and drained a three to take an early lead. However, UConn responded with a demoralizing 19-0 run in which the defense held the Cardinals scoreless for seven minutes while forcing more turnovers (9) than made baskets allowed (2).

Offensively, the trio of Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, and Gabby Williams carried the Huskies as they scored 38 of the team’s 45 points in the first two quarters. Samuelson led the way with 19 first-half points en route to 26 total on 10-of-17 shooting.

On the flip side, Kia Nurse didn’t register a single shot in the first half but arguably had the biggest impact, as she limited Cardinals’ star Asia Durr to just six points on 1-6 shooting in the first 20 minutes.

UConn head coach Geno Auriemma, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Louisville’s Jeff Walz and Asia Durr postgame video

Despite Louisville stepping up its game in the second quarter, UConn still went into the half leading by 20.

The Huskies came out of the halftime break a bit sluggish as Louisville jumped ahead with a 7-2 run to bring the deficit to 15 points. However, UConn quickly took back momentum with a 5-0 spurt to keep the Cardinals at arm's length.

Louisville outscored the Huskies in the third quarter by three but could not make enough of a dent in UConn’s lead in the final quarter. Time eventually ran out on the visitors as they failed to close the gap any closer than 11 points.

The Cardinals held a 52-45 advantage over the Huskies in the final three quarters but UConn’s dominant 24-6 first quarter made the difference as they came away with the victory.

Williams earned a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds while also contributing six assists. Collier added 14 points, six rebounds, and four assists.

Next, UConn has nearly a week off before returning to the XL Center on Sunday against Temple. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. on CBSSports Network.