Sunday, November 19th, 2017

No. 1 UConn finishes Texas swing with 81-48 win over Southern Methodist

Published on February 25, 2014

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DALLAS – While Southern Methodist (16-11) offered top-ranked Connecticut (29-0) a challenge early in the game, Bria Hartley and Breanna Stewart led the Huskies to an 81-48 win over the Mustangs Tuesday night at Moody Coliseum. SMU did manage to set a record for regular season attendance, with 4, 091 fans showing up for the contest including several relatives of UConn’s Moriah Jefferson, a native of nearby Glenn Heights. For her homecoming, Jefferson finished with nine points, five rebounds and five assists.

For a good portion of the first half, SMU appeared to be on the way to making sure that the contest would not be an embarrassing repeat akin to the 102-41 blowout they suffered on UConn’s home floor February 4 in Storrs. Korina Baker help fuel the Mustang’s early offensive success while the Huskies had a slew of turnovers that stymied their usual prolific output.

SMU’s defense also led to an unusually high amount of turnovers for UConn. The Huskies turned the ball over eight times in the first half, three shy of their season-high of 11.

“It was a weird first half,” said UConn coach Geno Auriemma. “We get out to such great starts the majority of the time. When we don’t, we get a little bit out of our rhythm and we start doing things too quickly. We couldn’t get anything to drop.”

UConn’s slow start was partly due to the early foul trouble of senior center Stefanie Dolson. By the 10:27 mark, she had two personal fouls, both committed within a minute of each other.

“When Stefanie came out of the game, I thought we really struggled with our halfcourt offense,” surmised Auriemma. He indicated that during a timeout the emphasis turned to “getting into the lane, taking the ball to the basket and getting to the free throw line.”

The Huskies did manage to halt the output of the American Athletic Conference leading scorer, SMU’s Keena Mays, rotating guards to cover her defensively. Mays averages 20.8 points per game but ended the first half with just three and the entire game with 13 points along with seven rebounds.

In the latter part of the first half, UConn began to pull away and ended the first stanza leading 37-17.

“The last five minutes of the first half was really good basketball by us,” said Auriemma. “There’s no magic formula for coming out and making your first ten shots.”

Stewart had 16 points in the first half while no SMU player had over five. The second half was business as usual for the Huskies as they dominated SMU and played with precision, racing out to extend their lead by 30 after a layup from Kiah Stokes at 11:56.

SMU coach Rhonda Rompola joked during her postgame comments that “hey, we cut the margin in half” referring to her team’s performance in Connecticut earlier this month.

“They move the ball well,” she said of UConn. She also praised the play of leading scorer Hartley.

“Their post players draw so much attention in the paint and that leaves people like Hartley open for a second, and the thing about somebody like Bria Hartley, she doesn’t need much room. She hit a couple of tough shots today with people in her face and you know that’s what great players do.”

Hartley finished with 25 points and seven rebounds. Stewart’s totals included 23 points, five rebounds and four blocks.

In addition to Mays’ double figures, SMU senior forward Akil Simpson had 11 points plus six rebounds.

Both teams return to action Saturday. SMU travels to South Florida while UConn hosts Rutgers. Prior the game the Huskies will honor seniors Dolson and Hartley.


 

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