No. 1 UConn women have no problem getting road win vs. No. 2 Duke
No. 1 Connecticut came into Cameron Indoor Stadium and did something no other team in women’s basketball has been able to do.
The Huskies dominated Duke.
UConn routed the second-ranked Blue Devils 83-61 on Tuesday night behind 21 points and a career-high seven 3-pointers from Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis in her first game back from an injury.
Breanna Stewart had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Huskies (11-0), and Stefanie Dolson had 14 points and Bria Hartley finished with 13.
UConn shot 49 percent, held the Blue Devils without a field goal for a critical 8 1/2-minute stretch while pushing its lead well into the 20s and turned the 52nd meeting of Nos. 1 and 2 into the latest blowout in this series.
”I think I would be less than honest if I said I thought we could come in here and win by 20,” said coach Geno Auriemma, who earned his 850th career win. ”Simply because we haven’t played in (12 days). We weren’t sure what we were going to get from (Mosqueda-Lewis and Morgan Tuck). And I thought Duke being at home and they’ve got a bunch of upperclassmen … it would be a little bit different.”
UConn won its seventh straight in the series — and the previous six were decided by an average of nearly 30 points.
Chelsea Gray had 13 points and Haley Peters finished with 11 for Duke (10-1), which had its 24-game winning streak at Cameron snapped — a run that dated to UConn’s last visit in 2011.
”We didn’t do what we needed to do defensively,” coach Joanne P. McCallie said. ”We didn’t rebound the way we need to rebound. And we showed little patience on offense at critical times.”
The Huskies, the only visitors to beat Duke on its home floor since 2008, now have done it three times since anybody else has found a way to do it once.
They also spoiled the Blue Devils’ undefeated start with a rout for the third time in four seasons.
Stewart did much of the early damage in her first appearance in front of the Cameron Crazies – or at least what was left of them, with the Duke students on winter break. She was four points shy of the career high she matched last month against Oregon.
And every time Duke threatened to make a run, the Huskies found a way to get Mosqueda-Lewis a clean look from behind the 3-point line. She was especially accurate from the corners while showing no signs of rust after missing eight games with a nerve contusion on her right elbow.
”I don’t think we would have won the game the way we won it without her,” Auriemma said.
The Blue Devils, who spent the second half trying to claw their way back into the game, pulled to 65-52 on Elizabeth Williams’ layup with just under 8 minutes left.
After a timeout, UConn worked the ball around the perimeter to Mosqueda-Lewis, who swished her fifth 3 to restore the Huskies’ 18-point lead and help them pull away for their 17th straight win.
”That’s something that coach has been telling me since last year — that I need to shoot every shot like it’s the last shot, and shoot every shot like it’s an important shot,” Mosqueda-Lewis said.
Tricia Liston and Alexis Jones each finished with 10 points for Duke, which earned just five free throws and was 4 of 18 from 3-point range.
”Horrible shot selection,” McCallie said. ”Chucking up shots.”
The Blue Devils were denied their first win over a No. 1 team since 2007 – and were in serious danger of being run right off its home floor in the first half.
Stewart scored 15 points in the half, and 12 of those came during the 13-minute span in which the Huskies outscored Duke 35-11 and turned a one-point deficit into a 38-15 lead.
”You can’t necessarily win a game in five minutes, but you can lose a game in five minutes if you don’t do certain things, and then your body language and the way you react in those five minutes,” Auriemma said. ”If we score enough points during those six minutes and you don’t, it’s going to be hard to catch up.”
For the Blue Devils, this one couldn’t have started much worse. They missed 12 consecutive shots during that drought before things finally started to click late in the half behind Gray.
She reeled off six straight points before Chloe Wells’ 3-pointer with 35 seconds left in the half pulled Duke to 41-26.