Top-ranked UConn routs UC Davis 97-37

Top-ranked UConn has been banged up, but barely challenged while

playing 10 games in the first month of the season.

Bria Hartley scored 20 of her 25 points before halftime as the

undefeated Huskies finished that stretch by routing UC Davis 97-37

on Thursday night.

Breanna Stewart added 19 points, 13 rebounds and five assists

for UConn, which was playing with just six scholarship players

because of injuries. It was the Huskies’ final tuneup before a

showdown on Dec. 17 with No. 2 Duke.

”With finals coming up and the end of the semester, it’s kind

of nice to be able to focus on schoolwork and at the same time

prepare for Duke,” Stewart said. ”After a while, fatigue gets to

you. But it just makes us in better shape.”

The Huskies used an early 22-0 run to break this game open and

led by 43 points at halftime.

Hartley outscored UC Davis 20-17 by herself in the first half.

The senior guard was 8 of 9 from the floor during the game,

including all five she attempted from 3-point range.

She became the 19th player at UConn to reach 1,500 points in her

career.

”It means a lot,” Hartley said. ”I try my best to contribute

to this team and I’ve always been kind of a natural scorer, so I’m

going to go out there and score for my teammates.”

Sydnee Fipps scored 13 points and Kelsey Harris had 12 to lead

UC Davis (2-5).

The Aggies were able to stay in the game for a while, with the

help of a clock malfunction that kept both teams off the court for

about 5 minutes in the first half. After that, it was all

UConn.

The Huskies kept the Aggies from scoring for almost 6 minutes,

turning a 13-7 lead into a 35-7 advantage on a 3-pointer from

Saniya Chong.

Idit Oryon had a 3-point attempt blocked by Breanna Stewart on

the other end, but Fipps grabbed the ball and put it back up and in

to end that scoring streak. Fipps had nine of the Aggies’ 17

first-half points, but also picked up three fouls.

”It’s tough to score in the paint against a team like UConn,”

UC Davis coach Jennifer Gross said. ”(Fipps) found ways to split

into gaps and protected the ball really well and used different

sides of the basket to score. I was really impressed with her

early. I was disappointed when she got into foul trouble.”

Brianna Banks’ free throw gave the Huskies their first 40-point

lead, 55-15, and UConn led 60-17 at halftime. Banks had eight

points, the only one of UConn’s scholarship players who didn’t

reach double figures.

Stefanie Dolson had 18 points, and Moriah Jefferson had 11

points and nine assists. Chong finished with 10 points.

The Huskies opened the second half on a 9-0 run.

Connecticut center Kiah Stokes sat out the game as a precaution

after rolling an ankle in practice on Wednesday. She had been

averaging 8.2 points and 9 rebounds this season. UConn has played

the last eight games without Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, a preseason

All-American, and Morgan Tuck, another key front-court player.

Mosqueda-Lewis, a preseason All-American, sustained a nerve

contusion to her elbow during a win over Stanford on Nov. 11, and

Tuck had minor surgery the day after that game to repair cartilage

in her right knee. Both are hoping to back for the Duke game.

The win was UConn’s 91st in the last 94 non-conference games.

The Huskies also have now won 65 of the last 68 games they have

played in Hartford.

The biggest ovation of the night came for a Stamford couple,

Denis and Britta Nayden, who were honored before the game for

donating $3 million to the basketball program. Denis Nayden is the

former CEO of GE Capital. Both he and his wife are alumni.

The gift includes $1 million toward the school’s basketball

training facility, a $40 million facility that is set to open in

the spring. They also have agreed to spend up to $1 million,

matching any gift for the center from former UConn players, and

another $1 million for scholarships for student athletes and

trainers.

UConn has 58 former basketball players who have played in either

the NBA or WNBA.

UC Davis stays on the East Coast for another few days and visits

Hofstra on Saturday.

The Aggies have never beaten a Top-25 opponent 12 tries. They

lost to No. 6 Stanford in November, 66-48. This was their first

meeting with UConn.

The Huskies won’t play again until they visit the Blue Devils on

Dec. 17.

”That’s like, the matchup of the year,” Hartley said.