Jefferson leads No. 2 UConn women to 92-50 win over USF
STORRS, Conn. (AP) The UConn Huskies continue to turn their conference games into easy wins.
Moriah Jefferson scored 15 points, added seven assists and grabbed six rebounds as the Huskies routed South Florida 92-50 on Sunday.
So far this season the Huskies have beaten their conference opponents by an average of 45.8 points. Last season UConn went 18-0 in the American Athletic Conference’s first year and won the conference tournament.
”I don’t know that it would change no matter what conference we were in,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ”We have some pretty good teams in our league. It’s just that sometimes, with us being in the league, they don’t get a chance to show it.”
South Florida came into the game riding an eight-game winning streak and was tied with the Huskies atop the standings. That didn’t last long.
”I don’t know that when people play against us it’s a fair test or fair evaluation of who they are,” said Auriemma, whose team also has routed the likes of Notre Dame and Duke this season and has won 62 of its last 63 games.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis led UConn (16-1, 6-0) with 18 points while Breanna Stewart had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Morgan Tuck added 15 points.
Courtney Williams scored 23 to lead USF (14-4, 5-1).
UConn led by 18 points and halftime and used a 17-0 run in the second half to put the game away. The Huskies held USF without a point for 8 1/2 minutes as the Bulls missed 12 consecutive shots.
”We just continued to push our tempo the entire game, and they got tired and could not stay with us,” Stewart said.
Jefferson scored on a layup after the opening tip and the Huskies never trailed. UConn ran the floor, pressed on defense and jumped out to a 9-0 lead.
A 3-pointer by Mosqueda-Lewis gave UConn its first double-digit lead at 16-6. She scored on a fast break to push the lead to 20 at 42-22 and the Huskies went into halftime leading 49-31.
Tuck and Jefferson combined to go 10 of 11 from the floor in the half and scored 23 of the Huskies points.
”We knew they were a tough team to play against, so we really wanted to come out and try to hit them first,” said Jefferson, who hit all six of her shots from the floor.
USF had been holding opponents to 33 percent shooting and an average of 58 points a game and just two of them, Maryland and Penn State had scored more than 70. UConn shot 51 percent from the floor and held USF to 26 percent.
”I wouldn’t have thought that we’d get up here and get drilled by 42,” said USF coach Jose Fernandez. ”We’ve taken worse teams up here and that hasn’t happened.
USF : The Bulls winning streak ends one-game shy of a school record. USF won nine consecutive games twice, the first time in 1972, the program’s first year of existence. The team matched that during its run to the 2009 WNIT championship.
UConn: Kiah Stokes had seven blocked shots to give her 251 for her career. She is just three behind Stefanie Dolson for fifth place on the school’s all-time list.
HOME COOKING: UConn improved to 299-19 at Gampel Pavilion, where they have won 147 of their past 151 games. Their first shot at getting their 300th win at the arena will come on Feb. 9 when the defending national champions host top-ranked South Carolina.
USF: The Bulls travel to Texas for a game Wednesday night against Houston.
UConn: The Huskies head to Florida to take on UCF on Wednesday.