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UConn women close in on AAC regular-season title

UConn can clinch at least a share of its sixth straight American Athletic Conference regular season women's basketball championship on Sunday (3 p.m., SNY) with a road victory at Tulsa.

The third-ranked Huskies (24-2, 12-0) hold a three-game lead in the loss column over second-place Central Florida (11-3 in the AAC) with four conference games remaining. UConn, which is riding a six-game winning streak, has never lost an AAC game in five-plus seasons (98-0 during the regular season, 113-0 including the postseason).

This will be the only regular-season meeting between the two schools. Tulsa (11-14, 5-7) is 0-8 lifetime against the Huskies and is coming off a 74-47 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday. The Golden Hurricane are led by Crystal Polk, who averages 13.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

UConn, coming off a 102-45 pounding of Memphis in its final XL Center game of the season on Wednesday, continues to be led by its senior tandem of Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson. Collier had 22 points and 12 rebounds against the Tigers and leads the Huskies in both scoring (19.8) and rebounding (10.2), while Samuelson scored had 32 points and 10 rebounds on Wednesday and is averaging 19.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

Samuelson remains No. 4 on UConn's career scoring list with 2,220 points while Collier, who currently sits at No. 11 with 2,125 points, needs only 17 points to pass Rebecca Lobo (2,133) and Kara Wolters (2,141) to move into the ninth spot, and 32 to pass Diana Taurasi (2,156) into the No. 8 spot.

The Huskies' other three starters also average in double figures as junior point guard Crystal Dangerfield averages 13.5 points (and a team-best 6.0 assists), sophomore forward Megan Walker averages 11.9 points (and 6.1 rebounds), and freshman guard Christyn Williams averages 10.8 points.

Freshman Olivia Nelson-Ododa, a 6-foot-5 reserve center, is also coming off one of her best games, scoring 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the Memphis game.

"We just need her to keep doing what she's been doing, keep progressing," Collier said. "She can be such a force inside. She's so tall. She's really good at blocking."


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