Nov. 23, 2012
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands (AP) - Four games into the season, and nobody has come within 30 points of Connecticut.
Freshman Breanna Stewart had 20 points and 10 rebounds as the second-ranked Huskies continued to roll through the Paradise Jam tournament with an 81-39 win over Marist on Friday night.
Marist (2-3) was led by Emma O'Connor who had a career-high 18 points, but fouled out with just over 4 minutes left in the game.
"We beat a pretty solid team," said UConn coach Geno Auriemma. "We didn't play great, but we played good enough. When we had great possessions we scored, and then there were times when we just had empty possessions. As we go along in the season we'll fix those."
Connecticut blew the game open early, holding Marist without a field goal for more than 13 minutes while building a 42-14 halftime lead.
Jefferson said the team enjoys playing defense.
"It's hard-nosed and push up on everybody," she said. "I think I fit in well on the defensive side."
UConn (4-0), which routed Wake Forest 95-34 on Thursday, will close out the tournament Saturday against No,. 14 Purdue. The Boilermakers also are undefeated in the tournament and beat the Deacons 67-53 earlier Friday.
UConn opened the game in a full-court press and hit four of its first six shots from 3-point range. They used a 9-0 run to jump out to an early 17-5 advantage.
It was 22-9 before the Huskies went on their decisive 18-0 run, sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers from Stewart.
But it was the defense that dominated. UConn forced 15 first-half turnovers, and Marist shot just 23 percent from the field for the half and just over 25 percent for the game.
The Red Foxes made a little run to open the second half, scoring the first five points. But they went on another scoring drought during a 9-0 run put UConn up 64-28 midway through the half.
The Huskies shot 50 percent from the field hit 13 of 29 shots from 3-point range. They outrebounded Marist 42-23.
Junior guard Bria Hartley, who played in her first game of the season Thursday after missing the first two with an injured left ankle, played just 13 minutes and finished with a single point, but led the team with five assists.
Her scoring wasn't needed. Stewart took care of that, making eight of her 12 shots. It was the first career double-double for the 6-foot-4 freshman.
"You'll definitely see a lot more of those," said Faris. "She works hard to get those and obviously it shows how much of a versatile player she is."
She is averaging 18 points a game.
The Huskies haven't lost a regular-season tournament game since being beaten by Vanderbilt in the 1992 Hilton Head Super Shooting, a streak of 48-consecutive games.
UConn improves to 316-4 in its last 320 games against unranked teams, and are now 4-0 all-time against Marist, a team they hadn't faced since 2005.
Marist will finish its tournament Saturday against Wake Forest.