Storrs, CT — The defending national champions continue their winning streak after defeating the 12th ranked Ohio State 82-63 on Monday night.
UConn’s streak hits 85 with the help of Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson who added 27 and 26 points, respectively.
The veteran Huskies capitalized on three early turnovers from the Buckeyes to gain a 14-7 score mid-way through the first quarter. Buckeye’s Kelsey Mitchell drilled a long-bomb buzzer beater from the middle of the court to bring her team within three points at the end of the quarter — she would end with seven points in the first.
But UConn would shake it off in the second; going on a 6-0 run and extending the lead to 34-24 with just under four minutes left in the first half.
In a one-minute span, Ohio State’s Mitchell went eight straight and helped cut the Huskies lead to 40-34 going into halftime; Mitchel finished the half with 19 points, while the Huskies were led by Samuelson with 13 points.
“We came out of halftime really emphasizing that she had 19 points and we knew she was going to do that,” said Collier. “We tried to stay up on her and not let her shoot open threes like she was in the first half.”
Collier opened the second half with a wide open three and Samuelson continued putting in work in the third period with a smooth jumper and deep three to take a 47-36 lead in the first couple minutes. She was five for eight from the long range in the third quarter. Collier added 23 points and gave the Huskies their biggest lead of the game halfway through the third.
"The third quarter was really key for us in this game,” said Samuelson. “I think we kind of blew it open, and we knew that they were going to go on runs, but we knew that we were going to go on runs too and once we got that run in the third quarter we decided we wanted to keep it. We weren't going to let them back into the game.”
The Buckeyes couldn’t connect for 3:30, ended the third quarter down 20 points.
“To their credit, we came out of the locker room flat, but they took control of the game, but in general they got 28 points off of turnovers, and that was the difference,” said Kevin McGuff, Ohio State’s head coach.
“I thought our defense was actually ok, our kids played hard, but we just did not execute well enough offensively, and they are the best team in college basketball taking those turnovers and converting them into points.”
UConn opened up the lead in the fourth quarter; Collier finishing with 27 points and 11 rebounds, her seventh game where she’s scored over 20 points and second double-double this season. Ohio State’s Mitchell led the way for the Buckeyes with 23 points and 2 rebounds; Stephanie Mavunga finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds.
Ohio State will suit up next against the Winthrop Eagles on Dec. 21, and the Huskies will look to continue their winning streak on Dec. 21 against Nebraska on the same day.