Haley Jones, a 6-foot-1 wing player from Santa Cruz, Calif. That followed a recent decision by another top recruit, Aliyah Boston, a post player from Worcester, Mass. Which followed the departure last spring of the Azura Stevens to the W. Which inflamed the sting of last-second defeats to Notre Dame and Mississippi State in the past two national semifinals.
The first game was against the Netherlands national team on 14 August in Rome, Italy. Collier led the team in points and rebounds with 16 and 11 respectively helping UConn to a 68—52 in over the national team. The next day, the two teams faced off again.
Nurse was present for this game and contributed 18 points, although high-scoring honors went to her teammate Samuelson with 23 points. UConn won the game 88— Samuelson repeated her scoring performance with 23 points, while freshman Walker was the leading rebounder with nine.
Dangerfield had 88 assist with no turnovers. Samuelson scored 15 of her points in the first quarter, helping the team to a point lead — the team then continued on to a —45 victory.
UConn held a slim lead at halftime 37 — 36, playing without Collier who had injured her ankle in the prior game. However, in the third quarter the Huskies were outscored 25—10 and ended up losing the game 79— Samuelson was the high scorer with 17 points but only hit one of her 6 3-point attempts.
The starters were the four returning starters from the previous year plus Dangerfield. Stevens came in off the bench and recorded 15 points and four blocked shots in the game.
Nurse was the leading scorer with 19 points, while both Williams and Collier had nine rebounds each.
UConn won the game easily 82— Both teams were ranked number one in the preseason polls. Ashland's Laina Snyder had a double double with 12 points and 10 rebounds while Julie Whorley led the team in scoring with 17 points.
For the Huskies, nurse led all scorers with 21 points hitting all of her seven shots from the field. Stevens and Williams each had double doubles, with Stevens scoring 16 points and pulling down 11 rebounds while Williams had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
UConn won the game — The Huskies had the good fortune to return three first-team All-American's the only team in Division I women's basketball to do so this year. The fourth starter for the team, Nurse, was the starting guard on the Canadian Olympic team.
The fifth starter was sophomore Dangerfield who had a good but uneven freshman year. However, she reached double figures in scoring halfway through the first quarter, and ended up hitting six of seven 3-point shot attempts.
The Huskies opened up a 49—14 halftime lead. For the first time in four years, the opening game did not follow a successful national championship bid, so the team potentially could interrupt their back-to-back winning streak extending from — That streak was never seriously threatened in this game is UConn ended up with the win 78— It was the 22nd consecutive year that UConn has won their opening game.
The Golden Bears led 4—3 early, but scored 23 of the next 25 points to take control of the game. The Huskies had a point lead at the end of the first quarter, and cruised to an 82—47 win. The team unveiled a banner to honor Rebecca Lobo before the game to reflect her inclusion in the Naismith Hall of Fame in September.
UConn's best shooter Samuelson had injured her foot in the prior game and was not able to play. Despite that every starter for UConn scored in double figures led by nurse with 21 points. It was the first start for Azure Stevens who had transferred to UConn from Duke and sat out the prior season.
She had a double double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. The game was tied early at seven points apiece but the Huskies went on a 19—2 run to take control. Both teams struggled with ball control, combining for 45 turnovers.
The final score, in favor of the Huskies was 97— She is no longer on crutches and wearing a walking boot which she could be seen wearing along the sidelines shouting encouragement to her teammates.
Despite playing the number five ranked team in the country, her teammates responded, opening up a point lead at one point and ending with a 78—60 win over the Bruins. They took on Michigan State, their first unranked opponent of the season, but a team with a 4 and 1 record.
Stevens, who felt she had not performed well against UCLA, stepped up with 25 points, 16 rebounds and five assists to help UConn to a 96—62 win.
She also reached the thousand point mark for her career, with scored at Duke. However, it was familiar ground for Williams, who led her high schools team to the state title in in that arena. She also spent time in the arena watching her father and her sister who both played basketball for Nevada.
The game was set up as a homecoming game for the senior Williams. She scored 18 points although her coach Auriemma emphasizes her defensive prowess. Stevens had a double double with 17 points and 14 rebounds but the offensive star of the team was Nurse, scoring on all eight of her three-point attempts, and ending up with 27 points.
It was the first ever nationally televised game for Nevada. UConn won 88— Connecticut lead at the end of the first quarter by four points, but the Irish responded with a 24—4 run to take a seven-point lead into halftime.
The third quarter was close but Notre Dame extended the lead by a single point to enter the fourth quarter with an eight-point lead.
Williams was battling migraines, and ineffective in the first half when she scored only two points on one of seven shooting and did not play the second half. Despite missing two of the top players, UConn outscored Notre Dame and the fourth quarter, ending up with 80—71 victory.
Five Huskies scored in double digits.
Despite missing most of the fourth quarter Samuelson was leading scorer with 18 followed closely by Stevens with The Huskies quickly quashed any notion that the Blue Demons would christen their new arena with a win. Really in the game, UConn went on a 14—2 run, aided by back-to-back three-pointers from Dangerfield to set the tone for the game.
Samuelson was cleared to play what started off slowly missing several over early shots but she ended up hitting half of her field-goal attempts to lead the Huskies with 20 points.
It was not a one-person show as six different players scored in double figures. Collier had a double double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. The final score in favor of the Huskies was — The game itself almost seem like an afterthought, as it represented wins for head coach Geno Auriemma, but Oklahoma tried to spoil the celebration.
The Huskies had a point lead at halftime — the Sooners cut that deficit to seven points midway through the third quarter when Connecticut responded with a 13—3 run to build the lead back to 17 points.
After the final gun sounded on the 88—64 win the celebration began. Auriemma was treated to tributes from former players and a Hall of Fame jacket as well as a cake, but he wasn't expecting to see many members of his inaugural team in attendance.
The win moved Auriemma into company with two other women's basketball coaches who have reached the thousand win mark. In an odd coincidence, the third member of the club, Sylvia Hatchell , reached the milestone a few hours earlier. Auriemma reached the milestone faster than any other coach doing so with only losses.