On the day that the NCAA Tournament committee revealed the current top-16 seeds in women’s basketball, UConn was not listed as a one seed, which is something it felt like I would never say because they’ve been the best dynasty in sports for such a long time. But that was the case and luckily for them they had the chance to state their case as a number one seed because they were hosting number 11 South Carolina, and make a statement they did.
South Carolina got off to a scalding start, leading by as many as 10 points, just over five minutes into the game, and the Gamecocks took a four-point lead into the second quarter after shooting 57% overall in the first and 3/4 from three.
UConn used a 21-16 edge in the second quarter to take a one-point lead into the half, but out of the half is where the Huskies separated themselves and made their case to be a number one seed come tournament time.
The Huskies shot 10/16 in the third and were able to get to the line, going 9/10 from the line in the third quarter alone to give themselves a 29-12 win in the quarter to take an 18-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Both teams traded baskets throughout the fourth quarter to the tune of a 24-24 tie in the quarter and a 97-79 UConn victory.
The story behind the dominance of the Huskies in this one after the first quarter was the duo of Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson. Collier was filling up the stat sheet, finishing with 31 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists and zero turnovers. She also put up those 31 points on a very efficient 15/23 shooting. It was about as impressive of a performance as Geno Auriemma could’ve hoped for.
Samuelson went for 29 points and 7 rebounds, while also putting up four assists but four turnovers to go with it. She was however an efficient 10/19 from the field and even more impressively she was 8/8 from the line, playing a big part in the Huskies going 17/19 from the line as a team.
Bianca Cuevas-Moore put up 25 points and Te’a Cooper put up 20 points to lead the Gamecocks, but ultimately South Carolina didn’t have enough fire power to overcome the great games from Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson and the 19 points on 7/8 shooting from Christyn Williams. UConn was also able to dominate in the paint and bully South Carolina on the glass to pull away from the Gamecocks in the third quarter and make a statement win.