Hayes and Dolson lead UConn women past Fairfield
STORRS, Conn. (AP)
After slumping the last few games, Stefanie Dolson finally put together a solid outing.
Dolson scored 22 points making 11 of her 13 shots to lead No. 2 Connecticut to a 93-40 win over Fairfield on Thursday night.
She had scored just 24 points total in her previous four games.
''She's been struggling a little bit,'' Auriemma said. ''She's a pretty prideful kid and she wants to be really good. And I think she sees it as `Well, I did this last year so this year I'm supposed to do this.' And when it wasn't happening for her I think she got a little frustrated.''
Fairfield had no answer for the 6-foot-5 sophomore center.
''Our coaching staff can keep saying `Don't let Dolson get two feet in the paint,' '' Fairfield coach Joe Frager said, ''But they're kind of looking at me like `Coach, I'm really trying. I'm throwing my 160 against her and it's just not really cutting it right now.' ''
Not much of what the Stags did cut it against UConn (11-1), which connected on 59 percent of its shots. Tiffany Hayes also had a big night for the Huskies, scoring a game-high 23 points in the rout.
But it was Dolson, who dominated play right from the start against the smaller Stags. She scored 14 of the Huskies' first 16 points.
''Obviously Fairfield doesn't have a kid big enough to handle her 1-on-1,'' UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ''But I thought she did a pretty good job of getting herself to the spots where she wants the ball. And we just have to keep doing a better job of getting her the ball in those spots.''
Desiree Pina had 12 points to lead the Stags (7-4), who had won four straight games prior to Thursday.
Brianna Banks and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 12 points each for the victors.
Auriemma wasn't particularly happy with his team's performance in its last game - a 48-point thrashing of the College of Charleston in South Carolina. But after an eight-day break for the holidays, he was pleased with Thursday's 53-point blowout.
With Dolson controlling play in the paint, the Huskies raced to an 8-0 lead. Although the Stags clawed back to get within two points at 10-8, UConn ran off another 12 straight points to firmly seize control. Dolson scored the first six of the latter run, which ended when a Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis 3-pointer made it 22-8 Huskies.
''I'm pleased with the way I played,'' said Dolson, who left the game with 13:48 still on the clock and did not return. ''I think I demanded the ball a lot more inside, I finished pretty well tonight. The guards did a great job of getting me the ball.''
The home team's lead only ballooned from there, quickly reaching 20 and nearly getting to 30 before the halftime break. UConn led 49-20 at the half, having already forced Fairfield into 14 turnovers and gained a 21-5 advantage in rebounds.
It was more of the same in the second half for the Huskies, who went on a 12-2 run behind Hayes and soon boosted their lead above the 40-point plateau.
The Huskies have won eight straight games against their in-state rivals, though this was the first meeting between the schools since the 2001-02 season.
During a halftime ceremony UConn's 2002 national championship team were inducted as Huskies of Honor. Among those in attendance for the festivities Thursday were Sue Bird, Maria Conlon and Svetlana Abrosimova.