UConn women: 2015-16 Game-by-Game Review

Game 1

UConn 100, Ohio St. 56

All five starters scored in double figures as UConn began its season in impressive fashion with a 100-56 rout of No. 7 Ohio State on the road.

Breanna Stewart had 24 points, Moriah Jefferson 21, Kia Nurse 16, Morgan Tuck 15 and the only new starter, sophomore Gabby Williams, had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

''It's the first game of the year but at the same time we've got four starters back,'' UConn coach Geno Auriemma said, ''They should be able to look like they've played together awhile because they have played together awhile.

The Huskies shot 56.9 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Buckeyes 49-29.

''We got our (rear) kicked tonight,'' Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. "They were coached better. They played better. They were more prepared. They deserved to win by the margin they did.''

 

Game 2

UConn 97, Kansas St. 57

UConn opened its home schedule with an easy 97-57 win over Kansas State at the XL Center in Hartford.

Breanna Stewart scored 25 points and Gabby Williams added 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Huskies (2-0). Stewart became the ninth player in school history to reach 2,000 points with a 3-pointer from the right corner in the third quarter.

Morgan Tuck had 15 points and Moriah Jefferson had 14 points and seven assists. Jefferson (1,102 points) became the 37th Husky to reach the 1,100-point plateau.

 

Game 3

UConn 88, Nebraska 46

Two-time national player of the year Breanna Stewart scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead UConn to its 40th consecutive win, 88-46 over Nebraska, in Hartford.

Stewart hit her first nine shots, and finished 10 of 11 from the floor, with three 3-pointers. It was her first double-double of the season, and the 26th of her career.

''I'm shooting the ball better,'' Stewart said. ''My shot feels better than last year, when it was a little suspect at times. That helps a lot.''

Katie Lou Samuelson had 14 points and fellow freshman Napheesa Collier added 10 points, making all five of her shots.

 

Game 4

UConn 79, Chattanooga 31

Moriah Jefferson scored 15 points, making all five shots and all four free throws, as UConn rouited Chattanooga 79-31 on the road in a matchup of good coaching buddies Geno Auriemma and Jim Foster.

UConn scheduled the home-and-home series with Chattanooga due to the long friendship between Auriemma and Foster.  Auriemma began his coaching career by working as an assistant on Foster's staffs, first at Bishop McDevitt High in the Philadelphia area and later at St. Joseph's.

''The intensity and attention to detail that they play with, as a coach, it's refreshing to watch,'' Foster said. ''In this day and age of dribble-drive and 'I want to get my own,' it's kind of refreshing, whether it's the Golden State Warriors or Connecticut women's basketball, there are some teams playing basketball the way you'd like to see it played.''

Breanna Stewart and Gabby Williams each added 14 points for the Huskies while Williams added 12 rebounds against the Mocs.

 

Game 5

UConn 86, DePaul 70

Breanna Stewart had 29 points and 12 rebounds and Morgan Tuck added 16 points as UConn overpowerered No. 23 DePaul in Chicago.

The Huskies struggled in the first half, leading only 44-41, but started the second half with a 12-2 run to take control.

''I just turned around and said, 'This is crazy — this is complete insanity,''' UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ''(I said) 'I can't live like this. We can't play like this.'''

Stewart helped UConn take a 47-27 rebounding edge along with Tuck, who had 11 rebounds, while Katie Lou Samuelson and Kia Nurse each scored 10 points apiece.

 

Game 6

UConn 91, Notre Dame 81

Morgan Tuck had 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds as UConn beat No. 3 Notre Dame 91-81 in the Jimmy V Classic, the Huskies' first game of the season at Gampel Pavilion. It was a rematch of the 2015 NCAA championship game, which the Huskies won 63-53.

''Morgan's just somebody we can count on every day, every night,'' UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ''She's nothing flashy, nothing spectacular, just does all the little things that help you win games. That's the best way to describe Morgan. It's been like that since her first year here. Not great anything, but good at everything and she's really good at winning games.''

For the second straight game, the Huskies only held a one-possession lead at the half. They led 58-54 midway through the third quarter before Tuck started a 20-2 run over the next 7 minutes. She had eight points during the spurt.

''It's Notre Dame, anytime we play them we always want to play our best,'' said Breanna Stewart, who led UConn with 28 points. ''Even when we were coming out in warmups you could tell how excited the student section was, you could tell this would be a big game.''

 

Game 7

UConn 94, Colgate 50

Breanna Stewart had 22 points and a career-high 10 assists to become the first player in NCAA history with 300 blocks and 300 assists as UConn beat Colgate 94-50 in a game scheduled in honor of the senior star.

The Huskies attempted to schedule the game at Syracuse as a tribute to Stewart, who attended Cicero-North Syracuse High School, but the former Big East rival opted to schedule Coppin State instead.

Meanwhile, just 40 miles southeast of the Carrier Dome in Hamilton, N.Y., Colgate's Cotterell Court (capacity 1,782) sold out for the first time in women's basketball history. The crowd included Stewart's younger brother, Conor, parents Heather and Brian Stewart and nearly 100 fans from her hometown.

 

Game 8

UConn 73, Florida State 49

UConn, playing for the fourth time in 10 days — three against ranked teams, steamrolled No. 11 Florida State 73-49 at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Morgan Tuck scored 18 points to lead the Huskies in their final game before final exams and a week off, while Breanna Stewart added 15 points, seven assists, six blocks and five steals.

''This comes at the perfect time,'' Auriemma said of the break. ''I don't ever remember a group of players getting excited about exams coming up. ... They know practice is really short next week. They get a chance to rehab, there's no travel, they get to sleep in their own bed. It's coming at a perfect time.''

 

Game 9

UConn 86, LSU 40

UConn, playing with All-American Breanna Stewart (sprained right ankle), still routed LSU 86-40 in Hartford as Moriah Jefferson lead five players in double figures with 17 points.

Morgan Tuck and Katie Lou Samuelson each scored 14 points and Gabby Williams chipped in with 13.

UConn outscored LSU 35-6 off turnovers, 42-12 in the paint and 24-2 on the fast break. The Huskies also held the Tigers to just 16 baskets on 54 shots (29.6 percent) and forced 28 turnovers.

 

Game 10

UConn 83, Maryland 73

Breanna Stewart scored 23 points and Moriah Jefferson added 17 to help UConn outlast No. 6 Maryland 83-73 in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York.

''We can't manufacture these kind of games; they just have to happen,'' UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ''We're a really good team obviously, but there's a lot of other good teams. Sometimes we make it look like we're the only good team on the floor. Tonight there were two really good teams on the floor."

UConn had won its previous 46 games by double digits and most of those contests had been decided well before the final few minutes. But with a minute left at Madison Square Garden, the Huskies were clinging to a four-point lead over the previously undefeated Terrapins (11-1).

Saniya Chong, who had missed the previous three games with an IT band injury, hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 40 seconds remaining to give the Huskies some breathing room and they held on for the victory.

"Nobody wants to lose. We're one of the most competitive teams out there,'' Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. ''Proud of how we responded punch for punch. If you look at UConn and the games they've played in, that knockout punch comes and you don't recover.''

 

Game 11

UConn 107, Cincinnati 45

Eight players scored in double figures as UConn opened its American Athletic Conference season with a 107-45 victory at Cincinnati.

Breanna Stewart scored 16 points and moved into third place on the school's all-time scoring list, trailing only Maya Moore and Tina Charles.

''Tonight showed how versatile our team can be,'' said Stewart. ''We got a lot of contributions off the bench.''

The Huskies dominated inside, outrebounding the Bearcats 51-25 and outscoring them 42-10 in the paint.

 

Game 12

UConn 95, Tulsa 35

Saniya Chong, forced into the starting lineup by an injury to point guard Moriah Jefferson, responded with 18 points to lead UConn to a 95-35 rout of Tulsa.

''I couldn't be (Moriah), but I had to go out there, give it my all and contribute to the team,'' Chong said.

Morgan Tuck also scored 18 points, 16 in the first half, and the Huskies had five players in double figures. Freshman Katie Lou Samuelson had 14 points while Breanna Stewart added 12 points and nine rebounds.

Jefferson, who is averaging 13.2 points and 6.1 assists, pulled her right hamstring in practice and missed her first game after 90 consecutive starts. She participated in pregame drills, and coach Geno Auriemma said she was expected to miss just this game.

Jefferson had played in all 129 previous games during her UConn career, leading the Huskies to 124 wins.

 

Game 13

UConn 76, Houston 37

Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams each had 13 points as UConn easily overcame a slow start for its 50th straight victory, 76-37 over host Houston.

Jefferson returned after missing a victory over Tulsa with a hamstring injury to help UConn overpower the Cougars. Stewart also had six rebounds, and Williams had seven.

"There's no substitute for making shots," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "I think the perception out there is that we are such a good offensive team that every time we shoot the ball, it's going in. The reality of the situation is that's not going to happen every night. Some nights you aren't going to make shots, and you are going to have to do other things."

The Huskies forced 19 turnovers, including three 30-second shot clock violations, and turned that into 30 points.

 

Game 14

UConn 75, USF 59

Morgan Tuck had 22 points and 12 rebounds, helping UConn overcome cold shooting to pull away to a 75-59 victory over No. 22 South Florida in an early-season matchup of AAC leaders.

Breanna Stewart finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Huskies (14-0, 4-0 American), who extended their winning streak to 51 games despite shooting 38 percent in the opening half, when USF (10-4, 3-1) led by as many as eight points.

The Huskies blew the game open in the fourth quarter, with Tuck, Moriah Jefferson and Katie Lou Samuelson hitting 3-pointers to turn a nine-point cushion into a 62-44 lead. The Huskies led by as many as 21 before USF made one last push, trimming its big deficit to 12 while Stewart was on the bench with four fouls.

 

Game 15

UConn 86, Memphis 46

Geno Auriemma wonders whether it helps teams occasionally to lose, particularly his top-ranked Huskies. ''Maybe we need to lose a couple of times just to let everybody know it's not as easy as we make it look,'' the UConn coach said.

That wasn't a concern at Memphis. Moriah Jefferson matched her season high with 21 points, Breanna Stewart had 11 points and eight rebounds and the Huskies remained undefeated with an 86-46 win over Memphis.

Katie Lou Samuelson matched Stewart's 11 points and Napheesa Collier had 10. Jefferson was 7 of 8 from the field and 3 of 4 outside the arc.

Memphis struggled controlling the ball throughout, committing 26 turnovers, leading to 33 UConn points.

 

Game 16

UConn 104, Temple 49

Freshman Katie Lou Samuelson had been impressive in practice and in games of late, so coach Geno Auriemma rewarded her with her second start ... and she delivered.

Samuelson produced career-highs of 21 points, five made 3-pointers and six assists to help the Huskies roll to a 104-49 victory over Temple at Gampel Pavilion. The UConn starters did not play in the fourth quarter.

''I feel like today I had a really good shootaround and I felt confident from the start,'' Samuelson said. ''So it just kind of worked out well. I felt like I was doing different things.''

UConn (16-0, 6-0 AAC) has ran its win streak to 53 straight games, one behind Louisiana Tech (1980-82) for the third longest all-time.

Breanna Stewart led the Huskies with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. UConn shot 54.7 percent from the field, making a season-high 13 3-pointers.

 

Game 17

UConn 106, UCF 51

Gabby Williams had a career-high 19 points, seven rebounds and three steals to lead UConn to a 106-51 victory over Central Florida at the XL Center.

''I started in practice just pushing myself as hard as I could and it just transferred over (to the game),'' Williams said. ''I think I've learned now that even when I do make a mistake, I can still have a good game and I can still make a good play and just make up for it.''

The Huskies (17-0, 7-0 AAC) won their 54th straight game, tying Louisiana Tech (1980-82) for the third-longest streak in the history of Division I women's basketball. UConn currently owns the top two winning streaks of 90 games (2008-11) and 70 (2001-03).

Starting forward Morgan Tuck, who is averaging 14.9 points and 5.9 rebounds, did not play due to soreness in her right knee. She is expected to be sidelined for approximately two weeks as a precautionary measure.

Williams, starting in place of Tuck, was 9 for 11 from the field.

 

Game 18

UConn 90, SMU 37

Breanna Stewart had 15 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks to help UConn extended its winning streak to 55 games, the third-longest in NCAA Division I women's basketball history, with a 90-37 victory over Southern Methodist.

Stewart also had seven assists and three steals in three quarters. Moriah Jefferson scored 19 points to go along with six assists and six steals for the Huskies, who now own the three longest winning streaks, all compiled under coach Geno Auriemma. UConn won 90 straight from 2008-11 and 70 straight in 2001-03. This victory broke a tie with the 54-game streak that Louisiana Tech put together 1980-82.

UConn outscored SMU 40-16 in the paint, 32-3 off turnovers and 18-3 on fast-break points. The Mustangs were held to 25-percent shooting from the floor and committed 25 turnovers.

 

Game 19

UConn 94, Tulsa 30

About two weeks ago, coach Geno Auriemma made some tactical changes to the Huskies' defense, and the moves have paid off.

Since the adjustment, UConn has won five consecutive games by over 40 points, culminating with their biggest win of the season, when Breanna Stewart scored 24 points and had 10 rebounds to help lead the Huskies to a dominating 94-30 victory over Tulsa.

''We've changed up a couple of things defensively and it's made a big difference,'' Auriemma said. ''We've gotten more involved, more aggressive. We've become much more of an attacking team than we were, let's say, a month ago.''

Moriah Jefferson and Katie Lou Samuelson each added 14 points for the Huskies.

For Stewart, who also added five assists and four blocked shots, her rebound total pushed her over 1,000 for her career, becoming the sixth UConn player to reach the milestone.

 

Game 20

UConn 83, Memphis 40

UConn forced 34 turnovers in an 83-40 rout of Memphis, the sixth consecutive game in which an opponent has turned the ball over at least 20 times.

''We made them feel uncomfortable offensively,'' said UConn's Breanna Stewart. ''Just the way we were playing defensively, getting our hands in the passing lanes, pressuring them full court, forcing some 10-second violations and steals.''

Stewart had 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals to lead UConn. The Huskies (10-0 American Athletic) are 20-0 for the ninth time in program history and have reached the 20-win mark for the 23rd straight season.

Five UConn players scored in double figures. Moriah Jefferson scored 11 points and had seven assists. Jefferson's third assist of the game, a pass to Saniya Chong for a 3-pointer in the first quarter, put her at the 100-assist plateau for the third straight season.

Freshman Katie Lou Samuelson added 13 points. Natalie Butler and Gabby Williams each chipped in with 10.

 

Game 21

UConn 96, Tulane 38

Breanna Stewart made her first seven shots in a 20-point performance as UConn rolled to a 96-38 win over Tulane in New Orleans.

Moriah Jefferson scored 16 points, Gabby Williams 15 and Katie Lou Samuelson 14 for the Huskies, who led wire-to-wire and won by at least 40 points for the 14th time this season.

Tulane struggled to match up with the quick, lanky and accurate Stewart, whose 6-foot-4 height and long arms allowed her to shoot easily over defenders who lost track of her for even a moment before she received a pass.

Her first three baskets were mid-range, catch-and-shoot jumpers on UConn's first three possessions. She left the game in the third quarter with her team up by 55.

 

Game 22

UConn 92, East Carolina 46

Kia Nurse scored a season-high 20 points at UConn routed East Carolina in the Huskies' final tuneup before a showdown with No. 2 South Carolina.

Breanna Stewart had added 17 points and 10 rebounds for UConn, which will head to Columbia with a 59-game winning streak, the third longest in team and NCAA history.

Moriah Jefferson chipped in with 16 points and dished out eight assists.

Nurse, who didn't score during UConn's 96-38 win at Tulane, hit eight of her 11 shots. The sophomore also made four of her seven from 3-point range.

A steal and breakaway layup by Stewart in the second quarter gave her 200 steals for her career. She joins Maya Moore as the only Huskies with at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 200 assists, 200 steals and 200 blocked shots and is just the seventh woman in Division I to accomplish that feat.

 

Game 23

UConn 66, South Carolina 54

UConn coach Geno Auriemma smiled at his three senior starters, savoring the latest virtuoso performance on the big stage by Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson — and fretting about their departure next season.

''I carry five cellphones now with all the coaches who want to schedule us next year when these guys leave,'' Auriemma said.

Count South Carolina coach Dawn Staley among them after Stewart, Tuck and Jefferson combined for 53 points in No. 1 UConn's 66-54 blowout of the second-ranked Gamecocks.

Stewart led the way with 25 points, Tuck had 16 points and Jefferson 12 as the Huskies (23-0) won their 60th straight game and improved to 19-3 in No. 1-vs.-No. 2 matchups.

''These games are a lot of fun,'' said Stewart, who also had 10 rebounds and five blocks. ''They are exciting for us.'

UConn handed the Gamecocks their first loss here since falling to Texas A&M 50-48 on Feb. 10, 2013.

 

Game 24

UConn 85, Temple 60

Moriah Jefferson had 25 points, eight assists and eight steals to help UConn beat Temple 85-60.

Breanna Stewart added 24 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and six blocks for the Huskies.

''I don't think we did anything better than them,'' Auriemma said after the 85-60 victory on Sunday. ''I told them at halftime, we're only up 10 points because we have three All-Americans on the floor and they don't. Some days you look around and say why did we win? We have better players than you do. When our better players play great it's hard to beat us.''

 

Game 25

UConn 88, Cincinnati 34

Breanna Stewart hasn't come off the bench since she was a freshman at UConn, but she and stars Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck didn't start in an effort to give the Huskies' reserves some meaningful minutes.

The big three came in when the game was tied at 15 and went on to lead UConn to an 88-34 rout of Cincinnati.

Stewart finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists in just 21 minutes. Georgetown transfer Natalie Butler started at center and had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Jefferson and freshman Napheesa Collier each finished with 11 points. Freshman Katie Lou Samuelson had 10 points and Tuck, who played just 11 minutes, added eight points and six rebounds.

''There's obviously a lot of learning that went on today,'' Stewart said. ''A lot of it was good ... realizing that in order to do really well, we need everyone to contribute.''

 

Game 26

UConn 84, East Carolina 41

Breanna Stewart and No. 1 Connecticut had a rather easy time during their final trip of the regular season. They picked up a share of another conference title, and if all goes according to plan, the Huskies won't leave their home state again until they head back to the Final Four.

Stewart had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and UConn clinched a share of its third straight American Athletic Conference crown by routing East Carolina 84-41 in Greenville, N.C.

Stewart finished two blocked shots shy of her first triple-double, but those eight pushed her past Kara Wolters for second on the school's career blocks list.

''Every night is a possibility that a triple-double's going to happen,'' coach Geno Auriemma said. ''That's kind of why our record is what it is.''

Freshman Katie Lou Samuelson added 19 points while Natalie Butler finished with 11 points for the Huskies, who held East Carolina to 24 percent shooting, forced 22 turnovers and scored 20 straight points in the first quarter.

 

Game 27

UConn 88, SMU 41

UConn coach Geno Auriemma wants to make sure his Huskies don't overlook other milestones as they work toward a fourth straight national title.

Freshman Katie Lou Samuelson matched her season-high with 21 points Wednesday night to lead the Huskies to an 88-41 rout of Southern Methodist. The win gave UConn (27-0, 16-0 American Athletic) its third consecutive AAC regular-season championship.

''The bad thing about UConn is that you go to so many Final Fours that you don't realize how hard it is, and that there are things along the way that need to be celebrated,'' Auriemma said.

Breanna Stewart added 14 points for the Huskies, who are now now 58-0 against AAC teams during the conference's three-year history, a record that includes both conference tournament titles. Samuelson, who scored 19 in the Huskies win over East Carolina last Saturday, hit eight of her 13 shots and was 5 of 10 from 3-point range.

 

Game 28

UConn 80, Tulane 40

UConn turned to a freshman after a rough start for the stars it honored on senior day. Katie Lou Samuelson scored 21 points and the Huskies came back from an early 11-point deficit to rout Tulane 80-40.

UConn honored Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck before the game. But the trio went a combined 5-of-24 from the field in the first half. The Huskies trailed 13-2 early and 13-8 after a quarter.

''It got to a point where I was like, 'I don't know what is happening,'' Stewart said. ''Everything felt good and the shot either went in and out or missed completely. I think maybe it's a curse for players who play on senior day.''

Stewart hit just two of her first 12 shots, but was 4 for 4 in the second half. She scored 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Huskies, the 37th double-double of her career and her 12th this season.

 

Game 29

UConn 79, USF 59

Breanna Stewart says UConn symbolically turned the calendar to March in the second half, overcoming the team's first halftime deficit in almost a year.

Stewart scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to help the Huskies beat No. 20 South Florida 79-59. Kia Nurse added 15 points, all in the second half, for UConn (29-0, 18-0 American Athletic Conference), which was down 25-24 at the half. Stewart had 22 of her points after intermission.

''It's supposed to be March, because it's a leap year,'' Stewart said. ''And that's the kind of game you play in March.''

UConn completed the program's eighth undefeated regular season, and extended the third-longest winning streak in NCAA and program history to 66 games. The Huskies have won all 60 games they have played since the inception of the AAC, including the first two conference championships.

Seniors Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck each had 11 points for UConn. Tuck also had eight rebounds.

 

Game 30

AAC Quarterfinals

UConn 92, East Carolina 51

UConn made it a priority to get off to a fast start in the postseason after trailing early in its final two regular-season games. Morgan Tuck and Katie Lou Samuelson each scored 16 points and UConn routed East Carolina 92-51 Saturday in the quarterfinals of the AAC tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena.

UConn put the game away in the first half. They outscored East Carolina 32-19 in the first quarter and led by 30 points at halftime. Breanna Stewart added 15 points and eight rebounds to a balanced scoring attack that had five Huskies (30-0) reach double figures.

The win gives the Huskies their 11th straight 30-win season and 21st in program history.

 

Game 31

AAC Semifinals

UConn 82, Tulane 35

Morgan Tuck and her UConn teammates remembered their poor start against Tulane on senior day. They wouldn't let it happen again. Katie Lou Samuelson scored 17 points and Tuck added 15 to help No. 1 UConn rout Tulane 82-35 in the AAC tournament semifinals.

''We really wanted to make a point to have a good first five to 10 minutes,'' Tuck said. ''As starters we didn't do a great job of that on senior night so we wanted to do that today.''

In that game on Feb. 27, Tulane got off to a great start, going up 13-2 — the Huskies' biggest deficit during their current 68-game winning streak. UConn went on to win that game by 40 points.

The Huskies scored the game's first 14 points — Kia Nurse had seven — and didn't look back.Nurse finished with 12 points for

 

Game 32

AAC Final

UConn 77, USF 51

UConn remained unbeaten in the history of American Athletic Conference play after winning its third straight tournament title in a rout.

Breanna Stewart scored 22 points and blocked seven shots as the Huskies beat No. 21 South Florida 77-51 at Mohegan Sun Arena. Freshman Katie Lou Samuelson added 13 points and a season-high seven rebounds for the Huskies (32-0), who extended the third longest streak in team and NCAA women's Division I history to 69 games.

''Every time we play a team that is supposed to be really, really good, we play better, UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ''These players love to play against good players. They love to play against good teams.''

The Huskies are 54-0 in the regular season and 9-0 in tournament games against AAC teams since the league was formed, winning all by double digits.

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