Nov. 24, 2013
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Playing against the No. 1-ranked team in the country, St. Bonaventure approached it like any other game. But UConn is not just any other opponent.
The Bonnies wanted to focus on their effort and execution. The Huskies had a similar approach.
UConn scored 31 consecutive points in the first half and went on to an 88-39 win over St. Bonaventure on the final day of the Hall of Fame Classic on Sunday.
Kiah Stokes scored a career-high 19 points and added eight rebounds and four blocks. It was the fourth straight game she scored in double figures.
Stefanie Dolson had 16 points and 15 rebounds for UConn (8-0), which won all three game of the round-robin tournament by an average of 54 points. The Huskies beat Boston University on Friday and Monmouth on Saturday.
Gabrielle Richmond led St. Bonaventure (7-2) with nine points. Katie Healy had seven points and 11 rebounds. The Bonnies won two of three games in the tournament, beating Monmouth and BU.
The Huskies shot 57.6 percent, matched a season-high with 27 assists, and had a season-low five turnovers. The Bonnies shot 28 percent and were outscored 58-16 in the paint
"We kept fighting. I really was proud that until the end we kept going hard," St. Bonaventure coach Jim Crowley said. "We had a couple stretches where we hung our heads and allowed too many easy scores, but I thought for the most part we really tried to do a lot of the things that we work on and we do."
The smallest margin of victory for UConn this season is 17 points against No. 8 Maryland. The Huskies also beat No. 3 Stanford and No. 14 Penn State both by 19 points.
"I don't think there's been one game where we haven't played well defensively," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "From that standpoint, I've been thrilled with how we've played defensively."
UConn has a week to prepare for its next game. The Huskies played Ohio State on Dec. 1 and UC-Davis on Dec. 5.
But the next big test comes Dec. 17 at No. 2 Duke following an extended break for examinations.
"It doesn't really matter to us who we're playing. We're ready to play Connecticut basketball," Dolson said.
UConn took control early against St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies went scoreless for more than 10 minutes in the first half, allowing UConn to go on a 31-0 run. The Huskies led 55-22 at halftime.
"You play in this environment, you play against a team that is that talented, but their main focus is their effort. And then their second focus is playing together, and the third is their execution, and they do them all well," Crowley said. "I think that's a great benefit for us to say `Hey, we were able to play hard.' Did we have success? Not a lot, but we were able to play hard."
"I think we're a pretty good team right now, but we always want to do better," Stokes said. "The Stanford game, we won by 19 but we weren't at our best."
UConn played the last six games without Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, a preseason All-American, and Morgan Tuck, another key player. Both played have been sidelined with injuries and are expected to return in 3-5 weeks.
The Huskies have been using nine players, including two walk-ons. But Auriemma has been pleased with the way players have stepped up.
"I think they responded pretty much the way I thought they would respond. Everyone responds well when you tell them, `You're going to play more,' " he said.