Kia Nurse, Megan Walker lead UConn women past Temple
PHILADELPHIA — It was business as usual for the top-ranked UConn women’s basketball team.
After hearing it from Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma for their effort in a win over Tulsa, the Huskies responded in a major way during Sunday’s 113-57 win over Temple at McGongile Hall.
Kia Nurse had 24 points and Gabby Williams had a career high 11 assists to lead the Huskies to the convincing win. Perhaps even more importantly, the Huskies received quality production off the bench from freshman Megan Walker and sophomore Kyla Irwin.
Walker had a career best 22 points to go with six rebounds and five assists while Irwin added seven points.
UConn was well on its way to victory by halftime but for good measure the Huskies erupted for 34 points in the third quarter going 15 of 20 from the field with 11 assists. Williams had six of those assists.
Temple (9-9, 1-5 in the American Athletic Conference) hit its first two shots as Khadijah Berger drained a 3-pointer and Mia Davis scored on a three-point play to give the Owls the early 6-0 lead. The Owls held the lead for 2:26. Nurse scored on an offensive rebound putback and a Williams basket gave the Huskies the lead with 6:51 left in the first quarter.
The Owls, who up 99 points to Houston the last time out, held UConn’s high-powered offense in check for a while. At the end of the first quarter, the Huskies were up 28-18.
UConn (18-0, 7-0) opened the second quarter on a 12-3 run as Walker had five points and Azurá Stevens four to put the Huskies up by 19. UConn led 56-32 at halftime.
Napheesa Collier had 13 points and eight rebounds, Stevens added 13 points while Williams and Dangerfield had 12 points each.
Temple, which lost all-conference guard Alliya Butts for the season with a knee injury in the preseason and 6-foot-4 sophomore Shannen Atkinson to a hip injury, came into the game attempting to clog the lane as Temple coach and former UConn assistant coach Tonya Cardoza wanted to prevent the Huskies from getting layups even if it meant giving up open shots on the perimeter. Nurse had three 3-pointers and Dangerfield two in the first half.
Junior All-American Katie Lou Samuelson missed the game due to an ankle injury suffered in Thursday’s win over Tulsa. Stevens got the start in place of Samuelson.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma was very critical of the play of his reserves after the Tulsa game, but Walker came in and gave the Huskies some quality minutes in the first half and Kyla Irwin hit a 3-pointer.
Williams moved past Renee Montgomery and into eighth play on UConn’s career steals list.
Former Career High star Tanaya Atkinson had 15 points as she moved Pam Blough and into fourth place on Temple’s career scoring chart. Davis led the Owls with 19 points.
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