Nov. 11, 2012
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STORRS, Conn. (AP) - Breanna Stewart's UConn debut went about as well as she could have hoped.
The 6-foot-4 freshman scored 21 points, grabbed five rebounds and had four steals Sunday as No. 2 Connecticut routed the College of Charleston 103-39 to win its 17th consecutive season opener.
"Just waiting and looking forward to playing my first game here was something that I was itching to get at," she said. "And now that it's finally here, I'm really satisfied with what happened."
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 19 points, hitting 5 of 10 shots from 3-point range. Stefanie Dolson came close to recording a triple-double, finishing with 11 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. UConn had six players in double figures, and every member of the team scored.
Alyssa Frye scored 14 points and Latisha Harris had 13 to lead the College of Charleston (1-1), which scored the first basket of the game, and just 14 others. The Cougars opened their season on Friday with a 56-38 win over Coastal Carolina.
UConn hasn't lost a season-opening game since 1995 and hasn't lost an opener at home since 1990. The Huskies are now 27-1 in home openers under Geno Auriemma.
Mosqueda-Lewis had 11 points in the first 2 minutes, hitting her first three 3-point attempts, and the Huskies raced to a 19-2 lead. Stewart, who tied Maya Moore's record for the second-most points scored by a Connecticut player in her freshman debut, had the first six points of her UConn career during that run.
Fans got an early glimpse of her potential when she blocked a Charleston shot at one end, then ran the floor for a layup at the other to give the Huskies a 25-7 lead. She hit 8 of 11 shots from the field.
Jen Rizzotti holds the UConn freshman debut scoring with 23 points.
"She is the one player on the floor who nobody has an answer for," said Auriemma.
The Huskies led 57-13 at the half. UConn shot 64 percent from the field, while holding Charleston to 25 percent. The Huskies outrebounded the Cougars 44-28; Mosqueda-Lewis had eight of those.
Stewart, forward Morgan Tuck and guard Moriah Jefferson make up UConn's most heralded recruiting class since the 1998 group that included Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird, Asjha Jones and Swin Cash. Tuck finished with 15 points and six rebounds. Jefferson had four points and four assists.
Auriemma didn't shy away from having all three on the floor at the same time.
"He has faith that we know what we're supposed to do out there and that we can do it," said Tuck.
The three freshmen played together this summer, helping the U.S. national team to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U-18 Championship.
"These three freshmen have really, really good basketball instincts," said Auriemma. "So when they're out on the floor, they make things happen that no matter how old you are, you could be here 10 years, and still not make the plays that these three make."
Connecticut cruised Sunday despite being without its top player. Junior guard Bria Hartley, who averaged 14 points a game for the Huskies last year, sprained her left ankle playing for USA Basketball in August. A recent MRI showed she also has a partial ligament tear, and could miss the Huskies' first four games.
UConn men's coach Kevin Ollie, back from his team's season-opening upset over No. 14 Michigan State in Germany on Friday, watched the first half of the game with his 11-year-old daughter, Cheyenne.