No. 3 UConn 72, Villanova 49

Tiffany Hayes and UConn’s five-guard lineup overwhelmed

Villanova.

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

Huskies harassed the Wildcats into 23 turnovers in No. 3 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.

We were hoping to have enough success where they missed enough

3s so that it didn’t hurt us,” Auriemma said. ”So then we could

still play our regular lineup. But I thought Villanova shot the

ball really well from the three-point line today, so it forced us

to go the other way. I thought we did a good job with the pressure,

and Villanova doesn’t turn the ball over very much, but they turned

it over a lot today.

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.”

Bria Hartley, who played 39 minutes, led Connecticut with four

steals. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Tiffany Hayes each had 3 of the

Huskies 15 total.

Kelly Faris led the Huskies with seven rebounds.

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.

”We had trouble with their press,” Villanova coach Harry

Perretta said. ”Going with five guards made it very difficult to

guard them.”