When it’s all said and done, Katie Lou Samuelson will go down as one of the best shooters in UConn women’s basketball history. There’s no denying her body of work — the senior from California helped the Huskies win a national championship as a freshman and has blossomed into one of the best scorers in the country ever since.
Through Saturday’s win over Cincinnati, Samuelson is shooting 41.6 percent for her career from the 3-point line and eclipsed the 2,000-career point mark earlier this year. It’s not out of the question to say she is one of the best offensive players the Huskies have ever had.
But more than midway through her senior season, hasn’t been up to her usual gaudy standards and has struggled with her shot this season, like her 0-6 performance from deep against the Bearcats this past weekend. On the year, she’s shooting just 35.7 percent from deep, well below career mark of nearly 43 percent and a truly insane 47.5 percent from last season.
So far, Samuelson is in the biggest slump of her career over the past seven games, shooting just 23.4 percent from beyond the arc, including making just one 3-pointer against USF and Temple.
Just because Samuelson’s shot isn’t falling doesn’t mean she hasn’t contributed on offense, though. While she’s struggling from deep, she’s still scoring as much as ever, showcasing her growth over the past four years by getting baskets in the paint and off the dribble to average 18.2 points per game.
Even with Samuelson contributing in other ways, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the Huskies will need her to regain her shooting stroke in time for NCAA tournament. While she can still get to the hoop and score in the paint, teams can play her more physically, wearing her down and affecting her performance on both ends.
Luckily for Samuelson and the Huskies, UConn still has two American Athletic Conference games before a tilt with South Carolina at home. This gives Samuelson a few more low pressure situations to get some shots up and shoot her way out of the slump.
The good thing is, even with the decrease in production, Samuelson has not stopped shooting from deep, ranking 53rd in the country in 3-point attempts this season according to Her Hoops Stats. As long as Samuelson can remain confident and keep on firing, positive regression should be able to do its thing and help Samuelson return to form as one of game’s best sharpshooters.