Connecticut completes preseason, easily handling Philadelphia 93-28 behind Stewart, Tuck

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HARTFORD, Conn. – After Connecticut’s first preseason game against Gannon last Friday, Husky coach Geno Auriemma commented that playing Division II opponents are all about the same in terms of opposition and results.

It turns out he was right, as the Huskies followed their 101-35 victory over Gannon by defeating Philadelphia 93-28 in front of 6,108 at the XL Center in Hartford.

After Monica Schacker hit a three pointer to give Philadelphia the lead, 3-2, UConn went on a 28-0 run to blow the game open, ending the first half with a 50-13 lead.

Breanna Stewart was dominant inside, as one would expect with Philadelphia’s lack of size, scoring 12 points, pulling down 10 rebounds, dishing five assists, and blocking five shots in the first half alone. She finished with 14 points (7-for-11 shooting), 11 rebounds, six assists, six blocks and two steals in 20 just minutes of play.

“The toughest thing about being the favorite is not losing focus,” Stewart said post game, “and I think our coaching staff really helps us stay focused for one game at a time.”

After only shooting 2-for-15 from three-point range in the first half, the Huskies came out and promptly ran their offense to yield back to back three pointers, as they methodically extended their advantage.

In what was a pretty complete team performance, five other Huskies joined Stewart in double figures, led by Morgan Tuck with a game high 16 points. Saniya Chong had 13, while Bria Hartley and Kiah Stokes each had 12.

Tuck, fully recovered from knee issues that plagued her last year, is showing a confidence lacking last season.

“I feel like I’m playing like I want to play” Tuck said about the mental as well as physical struggle that goes with playing injured. “I’m happy with how I’m playing and not feel ‘man, I didn’t play that well today.’ I’m just trying to go out there and react to the game.”

Schacker was the one bright spot for Philadelphia, finishing with 16 points.

After winning their two preseason games by an average of 65.5 points, UConn will officially kick off their defense of the national championship Saturday against Hartford, something Auriemma is looking forward to.

“I don’t think anyone wants to play anymore of these,” he said smiling.

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