Jan. 10, 2012
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut guard Bria Hartley just wanted to have fun again.
Hartley and Tiffany Hayes each scored 19 points and No. 3 UConn bounced back from its loss to Notre Dame with a 96-35 rout of Providence on Tuesday night.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Stefanie Dolson added 12 points for the Huskies (13-2, 3-1 Big East), who extended their home-court winning streak to 94 consecutive games.
"Everyone is really excited with the way we played tonight," said Hartley, who hit all seven of her shots. "It just makes the game fun again. You don't want to go into games like Notre Dame where you should have won, or you could have done something differently to win that game. But you come out here tonight and you know you played really hard and you left everything out on the floor."
Lauren Okafor scored eight points to lead Providence (9-8, 1-3 Big East), which was coming off an upset of No. 21 DePaul.
The win was UConn's 168th in a row against an unranked opponent, a streak that dates back to 1999. The Huskies haven't lost at home to a team outside the Top 25 since March 1993 - a span of 259 games. That was the same year the Huskies last lost back-to-back games in the Big East.
UConn shot 65 percent from the field while holding the Friars to 15 baskets on 50 attempts. The Huskies had 29 assists on their 36 baskets. All 11 players scored.
"It was one of those wins where your team feels really good about the win because everybody had a hand in it," said UConn coach Geno Auriemma.
The game was sloppy early, as the teams combined for 13 turnovers in the first 10 minutes. The Huskies, who turned the ball over 27 times in their loss to Notre Dame on Saturday, had five of those.
But UConn made eight of its first 11 shots. Hartley had 15 points at the break, and played just seven minutes in the second half.
A give-and-go layup from Kelly Faris to Hartley made it 41-13, part of a 21-4 run that broke the game open. The Huskies led 48-17 at halftime.
Hayes took over the scoring burden from there, scoring 13 points after intermission. She hit six of her eight shots and her 3-pointer put the Huskies up 63-23 less than five minutes into the second half.
"This was definitely something we needed," said Hayes. "This is going to help us in the future because it's a confidence booster."
The win was UConn's 27th in a row over Providence, which was hoping to give the Huskies a good game after beating DePaul 60-52 on Saturday. That was the Friars first over a ranked opponent since they beat Pittsburgh three years ago.
Providence hasn't beaten Connecticut since March 7, 1993 in the semifinals of the conference tournament.
"They play at a different speed that's almost like men," said Providence coach Phil Seymour. "The way they run the floor, the way they push the ball, the way they execute, it's different and there's not a lot of teams that's like that."
Teya Wright, who came in averaging over 14 points and just under 11 rebounds a game, had just six points and four rebounds in this one.
Hartley has scored in double figures in six consecutive games. She has scored over 20 points three times, but wasn't in the game long enough to extend that to four.
The loss to Notre Dame ended UConn's 57-game conference winning streak. But the Huskies have been good at bouncing back. They haven't lost two in a row in the Big East since falling to Providence and Louisville in March of 1993.
They are 47-0 after a loss since then, and Auriemma said he was pleased with the way his team was able to bounce back.
"They were concerned about my job," he joked. "So, I appreciate that."