UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Napheesa Collier scored a season-high 37 points as No. 2 UConn, playing without injured All-American Katie Lou Samuelson, pulled away from East Carolina 92-65 Saturday in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament.
UConn (29-2) beat the Pirates last month in Hartford by 63 points, a game in which Samuelson scored 31. She hurt her back in a game last week and the Huskies say she won’t be back before the NCAA Tournament.
Minus Samuelson, UConn led just 24-22 after a quarter and 46-39 at halftime. Olivia Nelson-Ododa, who started in Samuelson’s place, finished with 17 rebounds and five blocks.
Collier, who hit 15 of her 20 shots, had 29 points in the first 20 minutes. She totaled 13 rebounds.
Crystal Dangerfield and Christyn Williams each scored 16 points and Megan Walker added 14 for UConn.
Lashonda Monk scored 20 points and Alex Frazier added 13 in her final game for East Carolina, which lost for the first time in four games and finished the season 16-15.
The Huskies outscored ECU 46-26 in the second half.
East Carolina: The Pirates, who beat SMU 50-48 in overtime in the first round, are now 1-3 in AAC quarterfinal games. It was ECU’s third tournament lost to UConn, which improved to 11-0 all-time against the Pirates.
UConn: The Huskies, who have never lost an American Athletic Conference game, are now 16-0 in the six AAC tournaments. UConn has won 30 consecutive conference tournament games, dating back to the old Big East.
East Carolina’s season is over.
UConn: The Huskies will be trying to reach 30 wins for a 14th consecutive season when they face South Florida in the semifinals on Sunday. The fifth-seeded Bulls beat Tulane 61-52 in the tournament’s first round on Friday and topped Houston 72-55 earlier on Saturday.