STORRS, Conn. – A trio of Huskies were named Naismith Trophy national semifinalists on Thursday, as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Junior Gabby Williams (Sparks, Nev.) and sophomores Napheesa Collier (O’Fallon, Mo.) and Katie Lou Samuelson (Huntington Beach, Calif.) each claimed a spot on the Naismith top-10 list, heading into the postseason.
UConn was the only program to have more than one athlete represented on the list of 10 semifinalists. The four finalists for the 2017 Naismith Trophy will be announced on March 17, 2017. UConn has won more Women's Naismith Trophies than any other school -- now with a total of 10. Former UConn standout Breanna Stewart won the award the past three consecutive seasons and is the third Husky to win the award in multiple seasons.
Williams is currently third on the team, averaging 13.0 points per game. She currently leads the squad in assists (152) and steals (79) and is second in rebounds (255) and blocks (37). Her 2.7 steals per game ranks third overall in the league and she also stands fourth in the conference in assists per game (5.2) and rebounds per game (8.8). Williams recorded the fifth triple-double in UConn history at East Carolina (Jan. 24) this year where she racked up 16 points and tied her career-highs in both rebounds (16) and assists (10). She also eclipsed the 1,000-career-point milestone after shooting a perfect 7-7 for 15 points against Temple on Feb. 22.
Sophomore duo Collier and Samuelson are both currently averaging over 20 points per game. Collier is second on the team and in the league in scoring, averaging 20.4 points per contest. She leads the Huskies in rebounds (260) and blocks (56) and is second in steals (52). Her 68.6 field-goal percentage is the second-best percentage in the nation and the top overall in the conference. In UConn’s regular season finale at USF, Collier topped her career-high from less than a week prior, accumulating 39 points on 15-19 shooting. The 39 points marked the fourth-highest single-game total ever scored by a Husky and was only seven-points shy of Nykesha Sales’ school record.
Samuelson sits atop UConn’s leaderboard and leads the conference in scoring, averaging 20.7 points per game. Her 93 three-point field goals made are the most of any player in the league and the seventh most of anyone in the nation. Samuelson scored 94 points over a three-game span this season, including back-to-back 30-plus performances. She boasted a career-high 34 points on the road at Tulsa on Jan. 17, shooting 13-18 from the floor and a remarkable 7-12 from three-point range. She sits second on the team and in the league in three-point field goal percentage (.413) behind junior Kia Nurse.
The three Naismith semifinalists and the rest of the Huskies will face the winner of Memphis vs. Tulsa in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals on Saturday, March 4 at Mohegan Sun Arena. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m.