Top-Ranked UConn routs Cincinnati 67-34

UConn’s Breanna Stewart is learning she doesn’t always have to

shoot well to dominate a game.

The Huskies sophomore star hit just four of 15 shots and scored

12 points in a 67-34 win Sunday over Cincinnati. But she also had

12 rebounds, four steals and two blocks in leading the Huskies

defense, which held the Bearcats to 13 baskets on 53 shots.

”Coach has always been on me about, just keep moving, be

aggressive,” Stewart said. ”Obviously if your shot’s not falling,

you can still impact the game in different ways.”

Moriah Jefferson and Bria Hartley each added 12 points for

Connecticut (13-0, 1-0 American Athletic Conference), which won its

first ever American Athletic Conference game despite being held 19

points below its season average.

Cincinnati (7-5, 0-1 American), which is winless in nine

meetings against the Huskies, was led by Jeanise Randolph who had

15 points and 10 rebounds.

The Huskies held Cincinnati scoreless for the game’s first six

minutes and led 16-0 before Kayla Cook got the Bearcats on the

board with a 3-pointer. UConn led by 13 at halftime and used a 16-3

run in the second half to put the game out of reach.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had seven points during the Huskies early

run, but also picked up three early fouls and had to sit for the

final 14 minutes of the first half and didn’t score again.

”We kind of got stuck, and we stayed stuck for the rest of the

first half,” said UConn coach Geno Auriemma.

Cincinnati responded by scoring 14 of the next 20 points and

outscoring UConn 20-17 the rest of the half. A 3-pointer by Marley

Hill just before the halftime buzzer cut the UConn lead to

33-20.

Cincinnati cut the lead to 35-24 before UConn took control.

Hartley went end-to-end after rebounding a missed jumper by Bianca

Quisenberry to give UConn a 51-27 lead and force a Cincinnati

timeout.

”It’s always good to win a game when you’re not making shots

and you have to find other ways to compete and get into the game,”

Hartley said. ”Even though our offense wasn’t good today, we were

able to come out and play well defensively.

UConn, which came in shooting almost 52 percent from the floor,

was held to 41 percent, including 36 percent in the first half. But

the Bearcats were worse, shooting 25 percent, hitting just 13 of 53

shots from the floor.

Mosqueda-Lewis said that had a lot to do with Stewart getting in

the passing lanes and disrupting the Bearcats’ offense.

”Coach has been talking about how we have to be complete

players and we have to be mature,” she said. ”When you miss

shots, you can’t disappear, especially when you’re as good a player

as she is. You have to do other things.”

The Bearcats’, who came in on a five-game winning streak, also

got a bit banged up. The team’s leading scorer, Dayeesha Hollins,

went out in the first half after hyperextending her right elbow

diving for a loose ball. She returned, with that elbow heavily

wrapped, and finished with just five points. Forward Alexis Durley

also went down hard after a first-half foul by Stefanie Dolson and

came back into the game with her right shoulder wrapped.

”I think Day’s (injury) is a little more serious,” said

Cincinnati coach Jamelle Elliott. ”I just hope with some treatment

these guys will be ready to go in a couple days.”

The Huskies played five Top 25 teams during their non-conference

schedule, with Baylor still to come in January, winning those games

by an average of 22 points. The conference schedule promises to be

less of a challenge. UConn and Louisville are the only ranked teams

in the American and they will face each other twice.

UConn is 64-7 against AAC opponents with six of those losses

coming to Rutgers, a team they have not lost to in the last five

seasons. The other defeat came against Louisville, in 1993.

The Huskies took time during Sunday’s game to honor their

national championship teams from 2003 and 2004, unveiling plaques

on the arena’s wall of honor. Several former players attended the

ceremony, but star Diana Taurasi was not among them. She is playing

basketball overseas.

UConn now heads south for a New Year’s Day game against Central

Florida. Cincinnati will visit SMU.