TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 3/1 University of Connecticut women’s basketball team opens its 2016-17 regular season slate Monday on the road at No. 12/12 Florida State. The game will be televised on ESPN2 with radio coverage on the UConn/IMG Radio Sports Network.
The Huskies are coming off two exhibition victories, most recently trouncing Pace University 95-32 Sunday afternoon at the XL Center. Five Huskies finished with double-digit point totals, including junior forward Gabby Williams (Sparks, Nev.), who led the team with 24 points, 17 of which came in the opening minutes of the game. Redshirt-junior center Natalie Butler (Fairfax Station, Va.) added 16 points and five rebounds in the win and sophomore Napheesa Collier (O’Fallon, Mo.) posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
UConn will kick off its 2016-17 campaign ranked third in the AP Top 25 Poll and first in the USA Today Poll. The Huskies were unanimously chosen the American Athletic Conference favorite for the fourth consecutive season and junior guard Kia Nurse (Hamilton, Ont.) was deemed Preseason Player of the Year by the league.
Nurse and sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson (Huntington Beach, Calif.) each claimed a spot on the preseason All-Conference First Team while Williams and Collier were selected to the All-Conference Second Team leading up to the season.
Under 32-year head coach Geno Auriemma, the Huskies are 27-4 in season openers have won the last 20 regular season debuts. UConn enters the year on a 73-game win streak after a perfect 38-0 season last year. The Huskies have not recorded a loss since November of 2014 when they fell short of Stanford, 88-86 in overtime.
The 2015-16 national champions are undefeated 8-0 in the all-time series against Florida State. The two met last season during the Hall of Fame Classic when UConn defeated Florida State 73-49 at Mohegan Sun Arena in December of 2015.
The Seminoles capped off last season with a trip to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, finishing with a 25-8 overall record. FSU hosted Jacksonville State prior to the Huskies to open their season with a 73-62 victory Friday. Junior forward Shakayla Thomas led the Seminoles on Friday with 16 points closely followed by Imani Wright, who transferred to FSU from Baylor, with 13 points.