Women's NCAA tournament 2019 -- UConn dominates in Katie Lou Samuelson's return

David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports

Katie Lou Samuelson looked just fine in her return to the court for the Connecticut Huskies. Her team looked even better.

Samuelson, the Huskies' second-leading scorer this season and fourth all-time for UConn, made her return to the lineup after missing four games with back spasms. In return, UConn, playing very much like the No. 1 seed it is not this year for the first time since 2006, rolled to a 110-61 women's NCAA tournament first-round win over Towson in Storrs, Connecticut.

While it wasn't the 140-point explosion of last season's first-round blowout against St. Francis, the Huskies were sharp and efficient from the outset and cruised to their 27th consecutive opening-round win.

Napheesa Collier and Christyn Williams led the way in a first half in which UConn shot 69.4 percent from the field and led by 40 at the break. Collier had 18 points and Williams 15 before halftime.

Samuelson injured her back in the second-to-last game of the regular season against Houston and proceeded to sit out the finale against South Florida and the entire AAC tournament. The Huskies struggled in that first game without her against the Bulls, but they regained their dominant form in the conference tournament.

Samuelson moved well in her return against the Tigers, showing no ill effects, but did ease herself back into the flow.

She picked up three assists and two rebounds before launching, and making, her first shot, a 3-pointer from the left wing with 8:20 left in the second quarter. Four minutes later, she made her second 3-point attempt. UConn was 15-of-29 for the game from 3.

Samuelson played the third quarter but sat out the fourth, applying a heating pad to her lower back on the bench. Her final line was 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting, 6 assists and 5 rebounds.

Collier ended her night early in the fourth quarter as well, finishing with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Williams had 21, and Crystal Dangerfield scored 20.

This marked the fourth straight first-round game that UConn has exceeded 100 points.