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UConn Women Rout ECU 84-41; Clinch Share of AAC Title

Feb. 20, 2016

Final Stats |  USATSI Gallery 

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) Breanna Stewart and No. 1 Connecticut had a rather easy time during their final trip of the regular season.

They picked up a share of another conference title, and if all goes according to plan, the Huskies won't leave their home state again until they head back to the Final Four.

Stewart had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and UConn clinched a share of its third straight American Athletic Conference crown by routing East Carolina 84-41 on Saturday night.

Stewart finished two blocked shots shy of her first triple-double, but those eight pushed her past Kara Wolters for second on the school's career blocks list.

''Every night is a possibility that a triple-double's going to happen,'' coach Geno Auriemma said. ''That's kind of why our record is what it is.''

Freshman Katie Lou Samuelson added 19 points in what Auriemma called ''probably the best game she's played here'' while Natalie Butler finished with 11 points for the Huskies (26-0, 15-0) in their 63rd straight victory.

UConn shot 47 percent, held East Carolina to 24 percent shooting, forced 22 turnovers and scored 20 straight points in the first quarter.

I'Tiana Taylor had 12 points for the short-handed Pirates (10-17, 4-11). They have lost seven of eight.

''We dressed seven kids,'' East Carolina coach Heather Macy said, ''and they just kept fighting and fighting.''

The Huskies were the first No. 1-ranked team to visit East Carolina in 32 years. Now they can probably get comfortable in their home state for a while.

They have three home regular-season games left before the conference tournament in Uncasville, and they're a lock to both host an NCAA Tournament subregional in Storrs and play the regional round in Bridgeport.

They hope they won't have to leave the state again until they head to Indianapolis for their ninth straight Final Four.

''It will be really good to just settle in and be in the same place for a couple weeks, anyway,'' Auriemma said. ''Learning how to travel and learning how to be a good road team ... those are big factors in why players are good and why teams are good.''

This one was all Huskies from the start: Samuelson scored 15 points during a first quarter in which the Huskies all but put the game away while going up 27-4. After one quarter, Stewart had blocked more shots (four) than the Pirates made (three).

HIGHLIGHT REEL

No play was prettier than the early sequence that started when Moriah Jefferson took a long pass near the free-throw line with her back to the basket. She delivered a behind-the-head pass that hit Samuelson in stride, and the freshman hit the layup that put UConn up by 20 points in the final minute of the first quarter.

STAT SHEET

Stewart has 377 career blocks, 19 shy of Rebecca Lobo's school record. Auriemma says ''every great shot-blocker has to want to be a shot-blocker'' and credits her timing and her length for her development in altering opponents' shots. ''Players that play against (Stewart), they're just not used to seeing that on a regular basis,'' he said. ''They think, `I've got this shot,' and all of a sudden, they don't.''

TIP-INS

Connecticut: The Huskies have forced at least 20 turnovers in 11 straight conference games.

East Carolina: The Pirates' seven points in the first quarter was a season low for any quarter. ... This was just the third time a No. 1 women's team came to Minges Coliseum - which hasn't played host to a men's team ranked higher than No. 5 (Memphis, 2006).

UP NEXT

Connecticut plays host to SMU on Wednesday.

East Carolina plays at Memphis on Wednesday.


 

 

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