No. 1 UConn dominates UCF, extends win streak to 88
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) During a game such as Sunday when top-ranked Connecticut dominated overmatched UCF in the first 4 1/2 minutes, it’s about where the Huskies can improve as a team.
Turnovers were a slight issue for Connecticut on Sunday even as it built a 32-point lead in first half on the way to an 84-48 win to push their winning streak to 88 games.
The Huskies made passes that Geno Auriemma isn’t used to seeing his team make.
He challenged his players at halftime to work on improving something and most importantly to lock in and not make the mental mistakes the led to the uncharacteristically high number of turnovers.
”Some of the passes that we threw today were bizarre, some of things we did with the ball today were bizarre. For us to have 21 turnovers that’s a lot,” Auriemma said.
”That’s when you get careless or you get maybe caught up in the game has gotten out of hand. Those things are from a concentration standpoint and being able to play. Good players don’t do that regardless of what the score it.”
The Huskies didn’t play to the level expected of a perennial power team, but there was still little UCF could do to take advantage.
Forward Napheesa Collier and guard Katie Lou Samuelson dominated. Gabby Williams was productive across the board with 15 points, six rebounds, four assists, three blocks and three steals.
Collier led the Huskies with 22 points and five assists and Samuelson added 17 points in a game in which they shot 63 percent from the field and led by as many as 40 points.
But Connecticut left CFE Arena more focused on what it has to do better going forward.
”I think for stretches we did well but on offense we had 21 turnovers so that is like unacceptable,” said Collier, who committed four turnovers. ”I think we need to focus more on that and not making plays like that.”
The Huskies (13-0, 1-0) moved within two victories of matching their NCAA record of 90 straight wins and set the NCAA record with 31 straight road wins during their American Athletic Conference opener. UConn also extended its winning streak against unranked opponents to 100 games.
The Knights (10-4, 0-1 AAC), who are in a rebuild under first-year coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, came away feeling as if they won some small battles against the top team in the nation.
In addition to the turnovers, UCF also limited Connecticut to just seven offensive rebounds.
Aliyah Gregory led the Knights with 18 points while Zykira Lewis added 15 points.
”That’s the highest there is, not just in our conference but in the country,” Abrahamson-Henderson said.
”I really talked about yeah I wanted to fight, I wanted to see who would show up, yeah I wanted to see who would be really fearless out there and I really thought Aliyah did a great job it and (Zykira) came a little bit in the second half.
”Film was the best thing. We are going to show them all the things they could do against the best team in the country.”
Connecticut: The Huskies are the superior team and that was evident from the start as they built a double-digit lead within the first 4 1/2 minutes and in the second quarter extended their advantage to 32 points. Williams, Collier and Samuelson were dominant.
UCF: The Knights played hard at times, but they simply were outmanned. Early in the first quarter, the Knights forced Connecticut into turnovers on three of four possessions, but they were only able to get a 3-pointer during that stretch.
UConn: The Huskies had some lapses, but it wasn’t enough to warrant a change in the polls. They thoroughly dominated an overmatched opponent.
Connecticut: The Huskies host East Carolina on Wednesday.
UCF: The Knights play on the road at Cincinnati on Wednesday.