- Associated Press - Saturday, January 6, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Napheesa Collier is quietly helping No. 1 Connecticut keep rolling along.

The junior forward who topped the Huskies in scoring and rebounding a year ago had a season-high 25 points, along with 11 rebounds, to lead the Huskies to a 100-49 rout of South Florida on Saturday night.

Collier also paced UConn (13-0, 3-0 American Athletic Conference) in field goal percentage and blocked shots, while ranking second on the team in steals, as a sophomore.

She’s off to another solid start, even if her contributions have largely gone unnoticed.

“We actually talked about that today among the coaches, that because she had such a phenomenal year last year, it seems like she’s really struggling this year. Yet, by any other stretch of the imagination, she’s having a great year,” Huskies coach Geno Auriemma said.

“But today, you know, that’s more like it. She had the same shots she’s been getting all year. Just a different look about her and a lot more confidence,” Auriemma added. “She did things with a little more authority as opposed to being a little tentative. I don’t know if she could sustain that, but we’ll see.”

Collier made 12 of 15 shots en route to her fourth double of the season, 21st overall. Katie Lou Samuelson sat out much of the first half with three fouls, but finished with 15 points in 22 minutes. Azura Stevens added 15 points off the bench.

The Huskies never trailed, shooting 54 percent from the field and hitting the century mark for the third time this season while playing stifling defense in holding USF star Kitija Laksa scoreless.

Laksa entered the game ranked second in the AAC in scoring at 21.5 points per game. She missed all 11 shots she attempted, including eight 3-pointers.

Laura Ferreira also had a tough night shooting for USF (12-4, 2-1), missing all nine of her 3-points attempts and finishing 1 for 16 for two points.

Overall, the Bulls shot 27.8 percent (20 of 72) from the field, including 7 of 31 (22.6 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc.

“I don’t think that’s just our defense,” Auriemma said. “It’s just a bad night by them.”


UConn: The Huskies never gave USF a chance to gain confidence, hitting four of their first five shots to open a quick 9-2 lead. The Bulls never got closer than seven the rest of the way. It’s UConn’s 43rd consecutive road win and extended an impressive winning streak over unranked opponents to 143. The Huskies haven’t lost a true road game to a team not ranked in The Associated Press poll since Dec. 21, 2004, at Arizona State - a stretch of 112 games.

South Florida: The Bulls have made the NCAA tournament and been a regular in the Top 25 the past three seasons but continue to struggle against top teams. They’ve also lost to Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Michigan State and dropped out of the rankings last week for the first time this season.

“It’s one game,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said. “We have to put it behind us.”


UConn improved to 24-0 all-time against USF. The teams played three times each of the last three years, with just two of the games (14 on March 9, 2015, 16 on Jan. 10, 2016) being decided by fewer than 20 points. The Huskies won by 65, 28 and 56 last season.


Attendance was announced as 6,659, well over USF’s average home crowd of 2,463 the season. In fact, since UConn began playing the Bulls during the 2002-03 season, the Huskies have attracted eight of the nine largest crowds to the Sun Dome for women’s basketball.


UConn: Return home to face UCF on Tuesday night.

South Florida: At Temple on Wednesday night.


More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 .

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