Nov. 22, 2013
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STORRS, Conn. (AP) - Injuries have left top-ranked Connecticut with just three frontcourt players for the next month or so.
Fortunately for the Huskies, they are three pretty good ones.
Stefanie Dolson, Breanna Stewart and Kiah Stokes combined for 58 points on Friday as the Huskies routed Boston University 96-38 in the opening round of the Hall of Fame Challenge tournament.
Dolson followed up the first triple-double of her career a 23-point, 10-rebound performance against the Terriers. Stewart led the Huskies (6-0) with 25 points and added seven rebounds and six assists. And Stokes chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds.
"We know that we have to step up, because there is only three of us," said Stewart, who also blocked four shots. "We know that we're going to have to play more minutes, but at the same time, we want the defenses to have to try their best to not let the ball get into the paint."
UConn outscored the Terriers 52-8 in the paint. The Huskies held BU to 27 percent shooting while hitting 56 percent of their shots.
UConn used a 34-3 run in the first half to take control of a game that was tied after the first 5 1/2 minutes.
Freshman Saniya Chong had 15 points, hitting four of her six shots from 3-point range.
Clodagh Scannell topped Boston University (1-4) with nine points.
"We are a small team and over the years we've figured out how to play small," BU coach Kelly Greenberg said "However, against a UConn-type team, that's going to hurt us. It certainly did tonight."
Boston University actually led twice in the game, the last time at 5-4 as UConn hit just two of its first nine shots. But a 3-pointer from Chong capped a 13-0 run that gave the Huskies a 20-7 lead midway through the half.
A 3-point shot from Scannell broke that streak, but accounted for the Terrier's only points over the next eight minutes. It was 45-13 at the break
"I thought the first 5, 6, 7 minutes, the opportunities, we just didn't take advantage of," coach Geno Auriemma said. "There just didn't seem to be any crispness to what we were doing. I thought after that first 8 or 10 minutes or so, everything looked way better. I thought our defensive pressure and defensive intensity was way better."
Connecticut is in the midst of playing a string of four games in five days with only nine players, and two of those are walk-ons.
This was the fourth straight game the Huskies have been without forwards Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Morgan Tuck.
Mosqueda-Lewis, a preseason All-American, sustained a nerve contusion to her elbow during a win over Stanford a little over a week ago, and Tuck had minor surgery the day after that game to repair cartilage in her right knee. Both are expected to miss about a month.
The Huskies will have played 10 games by Dec. 5 and will have just 12 more before February.
Dolson has reached double figures in rebounding in four straight games, the first time the senior has accomplished that feat. She hit 10 of her 18 shots from the field, including a 3-pointer.
The senior center scored 26 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and had out 11 assists in the Huskies' win over Oregon on Wednesday, the second triple-double in the program's history.
Dolson has been playing more minutes than usual because of the injuries to Mosqueda-Lewis and Tuck. Her 30 minutes Friday marked the fifth consecutive game she has played that much.
"I'm definitely not quite used to it, but you can't let yourself get tired or anything," she said. "I felt a bit sluggish in today's game, I'm not going to lie."
The game was the first between UConn and Boston since 2006. UConn has won eight of their 12 meetings, and the last six games.
The Huskies have won 52 straight games in November dating to a 71-65 loss to North Carolina on Nov. 21, 2004.
The Terriers began a string that sees them playing eight of their next nine games on the road.
The tournament continues Saturday in Storrs, and Sunday in Hartford. Connecticut faces Monmouth on Saturday - the Hawks are 0-4 after losing the early game Friday to St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies, who won 61-55 to improve to 5-1, face the Huskies Sunday at the XL Center.