PHILADELPHIA (AP) Moriah Jefferson had 25 points, eight assists and eight steals to help No. 1 UConn beat scrappy Temple 85-60 on Sunday for the Huskies' 61st straight victory.
Breanna Stewart added 24 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and six blocks for the Huskies (24-0, 13-0 American), who have won 101 straight games against non-ranked teams. Except for a blemish against St. John's on Feb. 18, 2012, UConn has victories in 278 of its past 279 games against non-Top 25 opponents.
For the most part those games have been over by the half with UConn routing overmatched opponents by nearly 44.7 points a game. Temple wouldn't go down quietly.
''I don't think we did anything better than them,'' Auriemma said after the 85-60 victory on Sunday. ''I told them at halftime, we're only up 10 points because we have three All-Americans on the floor and they don't. Some days you look around and say why did we win? We have better players than you do. When our better players play great it's hard to beat us.''
The Owls (17-8, 11-3) outscrapped the Huskies, diving for nearly every loose ball, and weren't intimidated by the team that beat them by 55 points a month ago.
They just didn't have enough firepower to pull off the monumental upset.
For the most part games against unranked teams have been over by the half with UConn routing overmatched opponents by nearly 44.7 points a game. The Huskies (24-0, 13-0 American) only had a 10-point lead at the half but then Jefferson and Stewart took over.
''(Stewart) and Moriah have a pretty good sense of what needs to be done,'' Auriemma said. ''(They) made a lot of shots in the second half.''
UConn, which is 278-1 against non-ranked teams since December 2004, had won its first 12 conference games by an average of nearly 50 points a game. This one was different though. The Huskies opened a 25-16 lead early in the second quarter before the Owls rallied. Trailing 27-25 with 6:39 left in the half, Donnaizha Fountain blocked a shot by Stewart at one end of the court. After celebrating the block of the two-time AP player of the year, she came down and made a 3-pointer to give Temple a 28-27 lead. The Huskies then closed the half with a 13-2 run, including scoring the final 10 points of the period to go up 40-30 at the half.
Temple (17-8, 11-3) was able to get within six points in the third quarter on a layup by Feyonda Fitzgerald, but could get no closer as UConn slowly pulled away behind its two senior All-Americas.
Fountain scored 15 points and Alliya Butts added 14 for the Owls.
''I'm super excited about my team's performance today,'' Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said. ''For 3 1/2 quarters we really competed, really worked hard going against a giant - the best team in women's basketball. The way we conducted ourselves and handled ourselves is something we should be proud of. We fought and kept fighting.''
SELLOUT CROWD: Cardoza was pleased with the sellout crowd of 3,392 fans that turned out for the game.
''It's No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the conference,'' Cardoza said. ''Bring the No. 1 program in the country to your home, you're supposed to sell out. People want to see UConn. We had a lot of people here cheering for us.''
While the Huskies usually draw well on the road, making most away contests feel like home games, there was a spirited pro-Owls group on Sunday. They constantly did their best to silence UConn cheers with loud boos.
UConn: The Huskies have won the last seven meetings with the Owls since a defeat in the 1981-82 season. ... Auriemma is 29-0 all-time against former players and/or assistants as head coaches, including going 6-0 against Cardoza. ... With her eight assists, Jefferson moved past Sue Bird into fourth place on the Huskies' career list. ... The only non-ranked team to come within single digits of UConn since its loss to St. John's was the Red Storm in 2013, who lost by six points according to STATS.
Temple: This was the largest crowd to see a women's game at McGonigle Hall surpassing the 2,646 that saw UConn play there last season. ... The six-game winning streak was Temple's longest since they won 14 straight in 2011-12.
UConn: hosts Cincinnati on Wednesday.
Temple: visits Memphis on Thursday.
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