NEW ORLEANS — Napheesa Collier had 26 points and 12 rebounds as the top-ranked Connecticut women’s team held off Tulane, 63-60, last night to push its record winning streak to 101 games.
Katie Lou Samuelson scored 15 consecutive UConn points in a second-half spurt and finished with 17. Gabby Williams added 14 rebounds for the Huskies (26-0, 13-0 American Athletic).
“We’re not as good as everybody thinks we are and today was a perfect example of that,” Huskies coach Geno Auriemma said. “They think that every shot that they take is supposed to go in and then when it doesn’t go in they pout and they feel sorry for themselves and act like 12-year-olds and that’s exactly what happened today. Not every shot is supposed to go in. God isn’t punishing you. Figure out a way to help us win the game.”
Kolby Morgan led Tulane (16-11, 7-7) with 19 points. Leslie Vorpahl had 16, and Tene Thompson 14.
The Green Wave pulled within two points three times late, but could never get a defensive stop.
Finally, they got the ball with four seconds left, but Thompson’s desperation three-pointer fell short.
UConn scored the first 10 points of the game as Tulane went scoreless for nearly the first four minutes and didn’t make a field goal until 4:27 had elapsed.
Collier had 10 points in the first quarter and scored the first seven points of the second quarter as the Green Wave missed their first nine shots. She had 17 of her team’s first 25 points before Crystal Dangerfield’s three-pointer with 22 seconds left gave the Huskies a 28-18 halftime lead.
That was the lowest first-half point total for UConn this season. The previous low was 30 in the season opener when the team trailed Florida State by four points before prevailing, 78-76.
Despite the struggles, the Huskies continue to take care of business as they start trying to build momentum heading into March.
Tulane should have opened some eyes with their effort and they have two more regular-season games to try and build their postseason resume after falling to a .500 conference record.
UConn returns home to play Temple on Wednesday night in its quest for a 102nd straight win.