No. 1 UConn routs Tulsa, extends winning streak to 105 games (Mar 4, 2017)

Connecticut's Napheesa Collier, center, splits the defense of Tulsa's Kendrian Elliott, left, and Jessica Pongonis, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the American Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals at Mohegan Sun Arena, Saturday, March 4, 2017, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) UConn’s players understand the history they are making with every victory.

The top-ranked Huskies routed Tulsa 105-57 on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament to extend their NCAA-record winning streak to 105 games and give the program its 12th consecutive 30-win season.

”It’s pretty cool to carry on this tradition and make it part of the culture,” said Gabby Williams, one of six Huskies to reach double figures. ”It’s not that easy at all to do that, so the fact that this program has done it that many times and that we’re able to continue it on, it’s pretty special.”

Napheesa Collier scored 24 points to lead UConn. Katie Lou Samuelson, who shared the conference player-of-the-year award with Collier a day earlier, added 19 points and Williams chipped in with 17. Natalie Butler scored 13, Crystal Dangerfield had 11 and Saniya Chong added 10.

It was the 19th game this season in which the Huskies (30-0) never trailed.

They shot 62 percent from the field and hit all 20 of their free throws.

”We do have a level of focus because it is the tournament,” Collier said.

Tulsa stayed in the game for the first 5 minutes and was down 8-7 despite making just three of its first 10 shots.

But Williams hit her first six shots and the Huskies led 25-12 after the first quarter. UConn scored the first seven points of the second quarter and the rout was on. A 3-point play by Natalie Butler gave UConn its first 30-point lead at 49-19.

It was 58-24 at halftime.

Erika Wakefield had 15 points for Tulsa (10-21). The Golden Hurricane lost seven of its final nine games but beat Cincinnati on the road to end the regular season and held off Memphis 60-55 in the opening round of the tournament.

”The season itself has been kind of a roller coaster, but the kids never stopped fighting,” Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman said. ”I’m proud of the way our team finished the year, and I think we have a lot to look forward to.”

BIG PICTURE

UConn: Guard Kia Nurse returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous four games because of a chronic stress problem in her right ankle. She played 15 minutes, scoring two points.

”She looked OK,” coach Geno Auriemma said. ”When you haven’t played in a long time, that’s what you’re going to look like, you’re going to look OK.”

Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane struggled to overcome deficits this season. Tulsa fell to 1-15 when trailing at halftime. Wakefield said the team’s goal was just to give UConn a good game.

”I think we did that in the first quarter,” she said. ”We played them really hard, they just separated themselves in the second.”

BY THE NUMBERS

UConn is 80-0 in league play since the formation of the American Athletic Conference, including 10-0 in the postseason tournament. UConn has won 29 consecutive conference quarterfinal games, dating back to the school’s days in the Big East.

UConn also has won 130 straight games against unranked opponents, dating back to a loss against St. John’s in February 2012.

The Huskies have reached the 30-win plateau in 20 of the last 22 seasons.

”In the end, that means you have a great program, not just a great team that pops up every couple of years,” Auriemma said.

IN-STATE

UConn improved to 49-1 over its last 50 postseason games played in the state of Connecticut and is 13-0 at the Mohegan Sun. The Huskies likely will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament in Storrs and are expected to be play in Bridgeport during the regionals.

STAT OF THE GAME

UConn had 27 assists in the game and just five turnovers.

UP NEXT

UConn: The Huskies face UCF in the semifinals on Sunday. The Knights beat Tulane 61-57 in Saturday’s first quarterfinal. UConn beat UCF by 36 points in their only regular-season meeting in Orlando on New Year’s Day.

Tulsa: Season over.