After a disappointing loss to Louisville and a lackluster win over Cincinnati, UConn women’s basketball rebounded with its most dominant win of the season, dispatching ECU 118-55.
Katie Lou Samuelson recovered from her shooting woes en route to 31 points on a 9-for-11 outing from the floor along with eight rebounds and five assists in just 20 minutes of action.
The senior began the game on fire and never cooled off. She scored 10 points in the first five minutes and had 18 points after one quarter. At the half, she had 27 points, three short of the school record for points in a half.
Both teams scored in the first 10 seconds of the game, a preview of what was to come. UConn broke off a 16-4 run to open the game and take a comfortable lead early on.
The Huskies’ defense prevented ECU from getting into any flow, forcing 11 first-quarter turnovers, as the Pirates failed to score two baskets in a row in the entire opening quarter.
In the second frame, it appeared ECU was finally getting their feet under them, out-scoring the Huskies 7-3 in the opening minute. But that success did not last. The Pirates scored two points over the next 7:22 while a 16-0 run from UConn pushed their lead over 40 points. The Huskies went into the half leading by 45 points, 70-25.
UConn shot incredibly well in the first half, hitting 68 percent of their shots. ECU only made 11 shots in the first quarter at a 33 percent clip.
With the big lead early on, head coach Geno Auriemma went to his bench early and often. Everyone but Batouly Camara played in the first half and saw at least five minutes of action. In the second half, the starters only played a handful of minutes and let the bench run of the show for much of the third quarter and entire fourth quarter.
Overall, the Huskies scored a season-high 25 points off the bench. Kyla Irwin set a career high with nine points while Molly Bent’s eight points was the second-highest of her career.
All five starters reached double-figures for UConn despite limited minutes. Crystal Dangerfield set a career-high with 12 assists and no turnovers to go along with 12 points. Napheesa Collier was a perfect 10-10 from the field for 21 points along with four rebounds and three assists. Christyn Williams dropped 15 points, just the second time she’s reached double-figures in the last seven games and her most points since Jan. 9 against Cincinnati.
Next up, UConn faces Temple at Gampel Pavilion at 1 p.m. on Saturday.