STORRS, Conn. – Six Huskies earned spots on the 2016-17 American Athletic Conference All-Conference teams, as announced by the league Thursday. Gabby Williams (Sparks, Nev.), Napheesa Collier (O’Fallon, Mo.) and Katie Lou Samuelson (Huntington Beach, Calif.) were placed on the All-Conference First Team while Kia Nurse claimed a spot on the Second Team and Saniya Chong was named to the third team.
In addition to a spot on All-Conference First Team, Williams was deemed the conference’s 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year.
Williams became the seventh-ever Husky to receive a conference Defensive Player of the Year and fifth straight after Moriah Jefferson earned the recognition last season. Prior to that, Kiah Stokes picked up the designation in 2014-15, Stefanie Dolson took home the honor in 2013-14 and Kelly Faris grabbed the accolade in 2012-13.
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). She currently ranks among the top-five in the league in four statistical categories, including rebounding (8.9 per game), field-goal percentage (.591), steals (2.7 per game) and blocks (1.5 per game). In a record-setting year for the junior forward, 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.
UConn’s sophomore duet, Collier and Samuelson were both unanimous selections to the All-Conference First Team as they both currently average over 20 points a 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. Samuelson was the third Husky this season to eclipse the 1,000-career-point mark after she recorded 16 points in the regular season finale at USF.
A 2016-17 CoSIDA Academic All-American, Nurse earned herself a spot on the All-Conference Second Team after helping UConn reach its 100th-consecutive win against No. 6/6 South Carolina on Feb. 13. Nurse was one of two Huskies to play in all 100 games, but has since been out due to injury. She currently averages 12.8 points per game and ranks third on the team and fifth in the conference in assists per outing (4.2). She scored a career-high 33 points this season against DePaul on Dec. 1, 2016. Nurse became the 42nd member of UConn’s 1,000-point club after recording 15 points at East Carolina on Jan. 24.
Chong is second in the nation and first in the league in assist/turnover ratio (3.66). The senior guard has dished out 106 helpers, the second most of anyone on the team, with just 29 turnovers on the year, the fewest of any UConn starter. Her 3.9 assists per game rank seventh in the conference. Chong had a season-best showing against, No. 20/21 at the time, USF where she tied a career-high 20 points on 8-10 shooting, 4-6 from three-point range in addition to a career-best eight assists.
In her rookie season, Dangerfield saw time in 23 games and earned the start in six contests. Her 3.6 assists per game ranks among the top-10 in the league. Dangerfield had a career-best performance in UConn’s second game of the season against No. 2/4 Baylor where she racked up 19 points, shooting 8-14 from the floor and 3-5 from the three-point line. She recorded a career-best nine assists on two occasions first at home against Dayton on Nov. 22 and then on the road in the regular season finale at USF on Feb. 27.
The league will announce its selections for Player, Coach, Freshman and Scholar-Athlete of the Year at a press conference on Friday, March 3 at 2 p.m.
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