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UConn Women’s Basketball Takes Down ECU in AAC Tournament Quarterfinal, 92-65

Napheesa Collier scored a season-high 37 points in the win.

UConn’s Napheesa Collier puts up two of her team-high 37 points.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Behind a strong performance from its bigs, UConn women’s basketball defeated the ECU Pirates in the AAC Tournament Quarterfinals, 92-65. The Huskies advance to the semifinals, where they will play the USF Bulls.

Napheesa Collier and Olivia Nelson-Ododa dominated the paint for the Huskies. Collier scored a season-high 37 points, 29 of which came in the first half, to go with 13 rebounds. Nelson-Ododa started in the place of the injured Katie Lou Samuelson and notched 17 rebounds and five blocks in 36 minutes, all career-highs.

Both teams got off to a sloppy start as they missed a combined six shots. But once Crystal Dangerfield broke the ice with a 3-pointer from the corner, both offenses started to flourish. Behind Napheesa Collier, the Huskies scored 24 points in the first quarter but ECU matched them on close to every basket and only trailed by two points after 10 minutes.

UConn struggled defensively and often let the Pirates take open shots, which they converted at close to a 50 percent rate. However, strong rebounding efforts by Collier and Nelson-Ododa limited ECU’s second-chance point opportunities.

For the first three minutes of the second quarter, it seemed like UConn fixed their problems between periods. The Huskies went on an 11-0 run to start the quarter and looked to finally be pulling away. But ECU responded with six points of their own and the rest of the quarter went back and forth. At the half, UConn only led 46-39.

Collier was unstoppable in the first half, scoring 29 points on 11-14 shooting with 10 rebounds. Nelson-Ododa, meanwhile, set a career-high in rebounds with 11 just over three minutes into the second quarter.

Out of the break, the Huskies used three-straight buckets to push its lead into double-digits. Thanks in large part to three blocks by Nelson-Ododa, UConn’s defense played better and only allowed 11 points in the third quarter.

While they held ECU at arms-length all game, the Huskies finally began to pull away in the fourth quarter. Collier and Christyn Williams combined for UConn’s first 12 points of the quarter before Williams dazzled the crowd with a behind-the-back pass to Dangerfield in transition.

Four of the Huskies’ five starters reached double-figures, with the sole exception being Nelson-Ododa, who more than made up for it on the glass. As a team, UConn out-rebounded ECU 51-26.

Megan Walker recorded her fifth-career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Dangerfield racked up 16 points and six assists while Williams also scored 16.

Next up, UConn will face USF in the semifinals on Sunday at 4 p.m.