Women's basketball: UConn Huskies earn Team of the Week honors
The UConn Huskies are doing everything but resting on their impressive laurels as the 2016-17 season gets underway. Facing arguably the nation’s toughest opening schedule with a new-look roster, the four-time defending national champions have now won 78 straight games after wins at No. 12 Florida State, at home over No. 2 Baylor and on the road at LSU to earn NCAA.com Team of the Week honors.
With stars Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson having graduated to the WNBA after last season, UConn opened the season as the No. 3 team in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll. If the opening two weeks are any indication, UConn is again showing the nation that it is not wise to underestimate the Huskies. UConn’s current winning streak sits only behind the team record of 90 straight set from 2008-10 and the UCLA men's record of 88 consecutive victories.
The Huskies were pushed to the limit in their season-opening win in Tallahassee, Fla. over Florida State, before prevailing 78-76 on Nov. 14. Napheesa Collier scored 28 points and had a big block in the final few seconds to lead UConn to the victory. Florida State had a chance to make history at the end, but Imani Wright's last-second 3-point attempt was short. Saniya Chong scored 16 points and Katie Lou Samuelson added 14 for the Huskies.
On Nov. 17, UConn freshman Crystal Dangerfield scored 19 points and Samuelson added 16 as the Huskies scored a 72-61 victory over second-ranked Baylor. Playing beneath their NCAA-record 11th national championship banner at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn., UConn broke away from a 54-all tie in the fourth quarter, outscoring Baylor 18-7 down the stretch to secure the victory.
Win No. 78 in a row came on Nov. 20 at LSU, with UConn winning 76-53. Samuelson hit seven 3-pointers en route to a career-high 28 points, Kia Nurse added a season-best 15 points along with eight assists, Dangerfield added 10 points and Gabby Williams grabbed 10 rebounds as UConn handed LSU its first loss of the season.
Even with the quick start, UConn will face more formidable obstacles over the next several weeks as they attempt to rewrite their own history. The Huskies will face nationally ranked teams in DePaul (Dec. 1), Texas (Dec. 4), Notre Dame (Dec. 7), Ohio State (Dec. 19) and Maryland (Dec. 29) before entering American Athletic Conference play in January. The game against No. 1 Notre Dame will be played on the Fighting Irish’s homecourt in South Bend, Ind.
Honorable mention for Teams of the Week included: California, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Quinnipiac, South Dakota State and Western Kentucky.