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Analysis: Samuelson, Collier prove clutch in close win over Oklahoma

UConn remains undefeated on the season thanks to senior leadership from Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Albany at Connecticut
The senior leadership of Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier led UConn to a 10-0 start after a close game.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Following an academic break to focus on exams, the 9-0 UConn Huskies traveled to Lloyd Noble Center to take on the Oklahoma Sooners, who entered the game with a 3-6 record.

In terms of injuries, UConn’s Megan Walker sat out the previous two games due to illness, but was included in tonight’s starting lineup with the regulars, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Crystal Dangerfield and Christyn Williams. As for the Sooners, three freshmen were among the starting five: Taylor Robertson, Madi Williams and Tatum Veitenheimer.

UConn Huskies (72) at Oklahoma Sooners (63)

Despite Taylor Robertson giving UConn a taste of its own medicine, the resilient Sooners fell short.

Threes are a big part of UConn’s diet, but Oklahoma’s defense, which held UConn’s offense to just 59 points late in the fourth quarter, refused to lose that way. Instead, the Sooners, as Notre Dame did weeks prior, challenged UConn, who finished 2-for-17 in three-point field goals. Adding insult to injury was Sooners freshman Taylor Robertson, Wednesday’s Midwest version of Katie Lou Samuelson, who converted 6-of-12 from downtown.

Despite their seventh loss of the season, the Sooners kept UConn modest in the first half — they took advantage of UConn’s seven turnovers and scored on nearly 93 percent of their drives. Outside of Robertson’s production, Madi Williams tried to rescue the Sooners as well with the Sooners’ lone double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds).

Though they had to wait until there was 1:50 left in the third quarter to record their first three of the night, the Huskies couldn’t be more grateful for the responses by Napheesa “Cool Hand” Collier and Katie Lou “Keep Calm” Samuelson. Of 10 games played thus far, Collier snatched her seventh double-double (23 points, 17 rebounds), while her sister-in-arms, Samuelson, had her second consecutive double-double (20 points, 11 rebounds) against Oklahoma.

UConn’s ‘Homesick Tour’ continues into January

UConn Huskies at California Golden Bears

When: Saturday, Dec. 22, at 3 p.m. ET

Where: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA

How to tune in: Pac-12 Network, ESPN 97-9

UConn Huskies at Baylor Bears

When: Thursday, Jan. 3, at 9 p.m. ET

Where: Ferrell Center, Waco, TX

How to tune in: CBS Sports Network, ESPN 97.9