It wasn’t pretty, but UConn women’s basketball got the job done against the Cincinnati Bearcats, 65-55, coming off of the loss at Louisville on Thursday.
In the third quarter, Napheesa Collier became the 11th player in program history to reach 2,000 career points. With that, she became just the fourth UConn player ever to total 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Collier finished with a double-double, totaling 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Neither team could buy a bucket for the first few minutes, combining to go 0-11 from the field to start. Katie Lou Samuelson finally got UConn on the scoreboard with a trio of free throws while Napheesa Collier got the first basket three and a half minutes into the game.
Once the Huskies settled in, they scored 14 straight points to take a 17-5 lead with Collier and Walker combining to score 10 during the run.
But Cincinnati didn’t quit. The Bearcats fought back in the second quarter and cut the lead down to six before three-straight layups from UConn pushed it back to 12 as the half ended with the Huskies up 15.
With UConn’s offense struggling to find a rhythm, Cincinnati clawed its way back. The lead dwindled down to just seven points midway through the third quarter. Once again, the Huskies got it back up over double-digits before the offense went cold in the final quarter.
UConn scraped together just 11 points, three of which came on free throws in the final minutes. They made just three baskets total in the fourth quarter, none of which came in the final 2:35.
With the offense struggling, the Huskies needed the defense to clamp down, and that’s exactly what they did. Ultimately, UConn pulled out a 65-55 victory. With the win, UConn has still not lost back-to-back games since the 1993-94 season.
Overall, the Huskies shot 39.6 percent from the field and hit just 2-15 from three-point range. Katie Lou Samuelson had a particularly tough game, shooting just 2-11 from the field and 0-6 from three. However, she still chipped in with six rebounds and three assists.
Along with Collier, Megan Walker also notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Crystal Dangerfield scored 17 points to go with five assists.
Next, UConn returns home on Wednesday against ECU at the XL Center.