Feb. 5, 2013
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STORRS, Conn. (AP) -
Connecticut guard Bria Hartley hopes she's finally rounding into form.
The junior guard, who missed much of the preseason and the first two games of the year with an ankle injury, had 20 points Tuesday night, to help the third-ranked Huskies to a 94-37 rout of Marquette.
"It has felt like I was a step behind, being out for that long and then coming back and not being able to play the way I wanted to - not improving, note getting better at certain things," Hartley said. "The only thing you can do is just work hard, keep pushing yourself. I tell myself; eventually it's going to get better."
Hartley, who was 0 for 7 from 3-point range Saturday in a six-point win over St. John's. She hit 5-of-7 against the Golden Eagles, tying a career high.
She came in averaging just over 8 points a game after putting up 14 a game last season.
"She played hard," said Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who led the Huskies with 24 points. "She was the Bria Hartley I remember. We need Bria Hartley to play like the old her. We need her to score in double digits every night. We need her to be aggressive on defense and make sure she's penetrating and making things happen for our team."
Mosqueda-Lewis also made some things happen, hitting her first eight shots and her first five 3-point attempts.
Six Huskies scored in double figures, including all five starters. Caroline Doty added 12 points, making all four of her 3-pointers for the Huskies (21-1, 8-1 Big East), who were coming off a lackluster six-point win at St. John's.
Brookly Pumroy had 11 points to lead Marquette (11-11, 3-6), which has never beaten UConn in nine attempts.
Marquette opened the game with a 3-point basket from Chelsie Butler, but that was the only lead the Golden Eagles would enjoy.
UConn responded with a 19-0 run, capped by Doty's third 3-pointer of the game. A pair of free throws from Kelly Faris gave the Huskies their first 30-point lead at 38-8 midway through the first half and the rout was on.
Coach Geno Auriemma had criticized Mosqueda-Lewis recently for not looking for her shot as much as she should. She responded by hitting all seven of her attempts in the first half Tuesday, including five from behind the arc. Mosqueda-Lewis now leads the nation with 67 3-pointers. She came into the game ranked second in accuracy from behind the arc hitting just under 50 percent of her attempts.
"I never want her out of the game, ever," Auriemma said. "Tonight she didn't commit one foul. I want it to be like that all year. I don't want her to even think about fouling anybody. Because I know that in a three-minute stretch, she's going to blow the game open. That's how much confidence we have in her."
Marquette, meanwhile, made just six baskets as a team in the first half, shooting 20 percent from the floor. They went into the locker room trailing 62-17 at halftime.
UConn did not let up much in the second half, leading by as many as 58 points. The Huskies were 15 of 23 from 3-point range and shot 55 percent from the floor.
"They jumped all over us," said Marquette coach Terri Mitchell. "Tonight was brutal and we just have to find a way to move on."
Stefanie Dolson returned to the UConn lineup after missing the St. John's game with a stomach bug and chipped in with 15 points. With the junior center on the bench, the Red Storm matched the Huskies, scoring 26 points in the paint. UConn had 30 inside points Tuesday, to just 14 for Marquette.
"It was something that I don't want to go through again, cause it was really weird," Dolson said of sitting out a game. "It felt good to be out there and playing with the team, and playing the way we did."
Katherine Plouffe, Marquette's leading scorer, was held to just four points. She didn't score in the teams' first meeting this season, an 85-51 UConn win on Jan. 12.
The game was the first in a three-game road trip for Marquette, which heads to Villanova and Cincinnati before going home to host No. 2 Notre Dame on Feb. 17.
UConn played without backup point guard Brianna Banks, who will miss the remainder of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right leg.
Banks suffered the injury during the first half of the Huskies' 71-65 victory over St. John's on Saturday. The school released the diagnosis on Monday and said surgery would be scheduled in the coming weeks. The sophomore from Newnan, Ga. had been averaging 7.3 points and 1.7 assists in just over 17 minutes per game. She was shooting 47.9 percent from the field.