No. 2 UConn 70, Seton Hall 37

Even Geno Auriemma was puzzled by this one.

No. 2 Connecticut delivered a swift knockout Friday night,

scoring the first 20 points in a 70-37 victory over Seton Hall. But

the Huskies also had an offensive funk that the Hall of Fame coach

hadn’t seen from his young team all season.

”It was really weird,” Auriemma said. ”I was saying the first

10 minutes was kind of productive, we got some things done.

Everything else was a struggle. I don’t know how to describe it,

there was no rhythm or flow to it. A lot of missed shots. Maybe

it’s this gym. A lot of times we come down here and it’s not

exactly stellar basketball.”

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Tiffany Hayes and Caroline Doty had 15

points apiece for Connecticut, which next faces No. 1 Baylor on

Dec. 18.

The nation’s top two teams met last season in Hartford and UConn

came away with a one-point victory.

”I think we have a couple things we need to work on this week

in practice,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. ”We’ll be ready by that

date.”

On Friday, there was no such drama.

The Huskies (9-0, 1-0 Big East) quickly took the spirited crowd

out of the game. UConn hit four 3-pointers during the opening

burst, and Kiah Stokes capped the run with a layup 7 minutes into

the game.

”We have better offensive players than they do,” Auriemma

said. ”For us it was getting the right people enough shots in the

beginning. Our pressure got us some shots.”

It took another minute before the Pirates (5-5, 0-1) got their

first points – two free throws by Alexis Brown. Seton Hall’s first

basket didn’t come until its 14th shot with 8:27 left in the first

half when Brittany Morris converted a three-point play. That made

it 30-5. The Pirates wouldn’t get within 22 the rest of the

game.

”The press was the difference, you can’t prepare for

Connecticut’s pressure,” Seton Hall coach Anne Donovan said. ”You

can prepare with your own players, but it doesn’t simulate what you

see game time. The difference of the game after that point was he

took the press off. We talked long and hard about taking care of

the basketball. We didn’t take care of that from the beginning to

the end.”

UConn opened the season with eight straight home games and ran

through its opponents. The Huskies won by an average of 43 points,

including a 30-point rout of No. 8 Texas A&M on Tuesday

night.

Playing its first road game did give UConn a little trouble in

the second half. After Bria Hartley’s layup with 15:34 left made it

55-23, the Huskies went more than 9 minutes without a point as

Seton Hall was able to cut the deficit to 23. Hartley finally ended

the drought with a lay-in with 6:25 remaining and the Huskies

cruised the rest of the way.

”There’s no excuse for the offensive players we have to go

without scoring, that’s inexcusable,” Auriemma said. ”We’re too

good to do that. We’re too good a team to throw it at the rim and

run back.”

After taking a few days off for exams, the Huskies will travel

to Waco to face the Lady Bears before heading to the College of

Charleston.

The Huskies have won 56 straight Big East regular-season games.

It’s the fourth longest conference streak ever, trailing Texas,

which won 124 consecutive games in the Southwest Conference from

1981-1990. The Huskies have dominated the Pirates over the last 18

years, winning 43 of the last 44 meetings. The lone loss came on

Jan. 5, 1994.

Jasmine Crew scored 12 points for Seton Hall.

”It felt good to have the students come out and support us,”

Crew said. ”Hopefully they’ll continue to do that.”

The game featured the last two Olympic coaches. Donovan led the

U.S. team to gold in the 2008 Beijing Games, while Auriemma will

coach the Americans next year in London.

Doug Feinberg can be reached at

http://twitter.com/dougfeinberg