We've seen the future and it includes Katie Lou Samuelson playing like one of the best players on the court. The UConn commit, and the No. 1 high school player in the country, came off the bench Saturday to score 22 points for the U.S. Under-17 national team in their opening FIBA world championship match against China.
The U.S. went on to win 69-41.
“It felt awesome,” Samuelson said, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “It’s been such a long time because I had to sit out our exhibition games. It’s just a great feeling to finally get out on the floor.
Samuelson has battled injuries and illness in recent weeks but was healthy enough to contribute in the opening game.
“I just was trying to score within the flow of the game without forcing anything," she said. "My teammates got me the ball. I was hitting in the second half, and they really found me. I think I can give the credit to them for finding me and coach leaving me in the game.”
A day later, Samuelson again led the way, this time as the U.S. revenged an exhibition loss to France, beating them when it counted Sunday, 88-40.
The Americans never trailed in the game and Samuelson, who wasn't available for the exhibition because of illness, added 17 points. Asia Durr, considered the other No. 1 high school player in the class of 2015 -- and one who is on UConn's recruiting radar -- added 14 points.
“It feels good,” Durr said. “We came out, we fought hard and we played our butts off and we won by 48. So it was a great feeling.”
The U.S. will play Mali Tuesday, the final game in Group D.