No. 3 UConn 72, Villanova 49

After No. 2 UConn used full-court pressure to turn a potentially

close game into a blowout, Villanova coach Harry Perretta is hoping

his team can take the lesson.

Connecticut’s Tiffany Hayes scored 14 of her 22 points in the

second half and the Huskies forced 23 turnovers in a 72-49 win on

Saturday.

”We had trouble with their press,” Perretta said. ”I thought

it was a good game, but they’re a younger team and in the end we

couldn’t sustain the pace. Going with five guards made it very

difficult to guard them. I did a poor job early on of not putting

them in the right position.”

Hayes scored 14 of her 22 points in the second half and the

Huskies harassed the Wildcats into 23 turnovers in No. 2 UConn’s

72-49 win on Saturday.

Connecticut scored 21 points off those turnovers and turned what

was a competitive game with just over 12 minutes to play into a

blowout.

”We tried doing the same things we always do, trying to pick up

full court pressure and Villanova isn’t an easy team to press and

trap against,” Huskies coach Geno Auriemma said. ”But once we got

the pressure deep into their backcourt, I think we unsettled

them.”

Rachel Roberts scored 16 points for the Wildcats, who got within

five points when two baskets by Emily Leer made it 41-36, but

Connecticut (14-2, 4-1 Big East) answered by scoring 12 of the next

15 points to retake control of the game.

”I was hoping we’d have enough success where (Villanova) missed

some threes,” Auriemma said. ”But Villanova makes it very, very

hard to defend them. We had to change some things up and the

pressure with the guards had an intended effect. I think there was

one stretch there when they had eight turnovers.”

Hayes scored 10 straight points during a four-minute

stretch.

She scored a layup, nailed a 3-pointer, ripped through the

Villanova defense for another layup and finished with another

3-pointer to give Connecticut a 58-42 lead with less than six

minutes to play.

”My teammates were finding me,” Hayes said. ”We worked on

some of the (five-guard) stuff during practice this week. I like

it. It’s faster paced and it gives us a lot of good looks and it

creates a lot of steals.”

Villanova (11-6, 2-3) went 7:49 without scoring in the first

half, turning a 15-11 lead into a 26-15 deficit. Connecticut went

into halftime leading 37-26.