Napheesa Collier and UConn used a strong second half to turn their final nonconference game into a rout. Collier had 31 points, 16 rebounds and six assists, and the fourth-ranked Huskies beat 11th-ranked South Carolina on Monday night.
Katie Lou Samuelson added 29 points for the Huskies , who blew open a close game with a huge third quarter in which they outscored the Gamecocks Samuelson scored 14 points in the game-changing period.
Collier added eight as the two seniors continued to carry UConn. Shot the ball well or played well in general," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said.
We did a lot of really great things in that quarter on both ends. That pretty much ended the game right there. She left the game with just over a minute left and got a big hug from Auriemma.
But there can't be anywhere a player that's playing better or does more for their team than Napheesa Collier does. That's not possible. I haven't seen every game, every week in every conference.
There's something about her that's rare — you just don't see it. You don't see it at all.
She's made 25 of 39 shots from the field the in past three games. The victory was the 89th straight at home for the Huskies.
Bianca Cuevas-Moore scored 25 points and Te'a Cooper had 20 to lead South Carolina , which had won 13 of its past 14 games. South Carolina got off to a hot start, hitting 10 of its first 12 shots to build a lead. UConn closed within at the end of the quarter.
The 27 points equaled the most points the Huskies had given up in a period this year, matching the total DePaul had in the third quarter of a point loss by the Blue Demons.
UConn continued its burst to start the second quarter and took its first lead of the game on Crystal Dangerfield's 3-pointer. The teams traded the lead for the rest of the half with the Huskies ahead at the break.
Collier had 15 points and eight rebounds at the half. We need to put four quarters together.