Tahirah Williams (Montclair, N.J.) led all scorers with 17 points, while adding seven rebounds, as she finished the night with career highs in points and rebounds. Kaili McLaren (Washington, D.C.) added 10 points, tying her season-high performance at BYU one week ago.
With the win, UConn improves to 6-0 on the season while winning 29 consecutive home games, which is the longest streak in the nation. Holy Cross falls to 1-6 on the year, dropping its second consecutive game after its non-league loss to Western Illinois on Sunday.
Four out of the five starters for the Huskies scored in double figures as Maya Moore (Lawrenceville, Ga.), Tina Charles (Jamaica, N.Y.) and Renee Montgomery (St. Albans, W. Va.) each had 13 points. Montgomery’s three three-point field goals moved her past Maria Conlon (170) for seventh on the Huskies’ all-time list with her current career total of 172. Moore’s 13 points marked her sixth game this season with double-figure points and the 42nd of her career. She has now scored in double figures in 42 of 44 career games.
Jacquie Fernandes’ (Pawcatuck, Conn.) five points and four rebounds were both career highs for the junior as she made her first career three-pointer with 1:51 remaining in the first half. Freshman Tiffany Hayes’ (Lakeland, Fla.) seven rebounds tied her career high as she pulled down the same number against Rhode Island on Nov. 22.
A 10-0 run to open up tonight’s contest sparked a 22-2 UConn lead as the Crusaders were held to just a single basket in the first 5:16 of play. Moore led the Huskies with 11 points in the first 13:10 of the half as she played just seven minutes of the first 20.
Caroline Doty (Doylestown, Pa.) continued her hot hand as she was 3-for-3 from three-point land in the first half as Williams added eight points and five rebounds, shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from the floor. The UConn bench contributed 19 points as every UConn player saw minutes before the break while holding a 63-14 lead heading into the locker room.
The Huskies continued to add to their lead as they began the second half with a 15-0 run before the Crusaders scored their first points of the half on a three-pointer by Whitney Fremeau at the 13:47 mark.
Briana McFadden was the only Holy Cross player to reach double figures as she finished the night with 10 points. She hit two of the Crusaders’ four made three pointers of their 27 attempts.
Holy Cross finished the game with 12 turnovers as the Huskies capitalized with 23 points off those mistakes. UConn also out-rebounded the Crusaders 44-28 as they shot 65.5% (38-for-58) from the floor, including a 42.1% (8-for-19) from behind the arc. The Huskies held the Crusaders to 21.3% from the field on 13-61 shooting, including a 12.9% (4-for-31) performance in the first half. Holy Cross also shot just 4-for-27 from the three point mark for 14.8% on the night.
UConn will follow a 10-day break for final exams by traveling to Madison Square Garden for a meeting with Penn State in the Maggie Dixon Classic on Sunday, Dec. 14. Tip is set for 2:30 p.m.
-UConn has won 29 consecutive home games, the longest streak in the nation.
-UConn now has won 13 consecutive regular season home games against non-conference opponents after tonight’s win.
-UConn is now 199-11 all-time when playing as the nation’s No. 1 ranked team in the AP Top 25
-The Huskies are now 155-54 all-time in the month of December and have won 80 of their last 83 in the month, including 17 consecutive games.
-UConn is 17-2 all-time against Holy Cross and has won the last 16 meetings. After tonight’s win, they are a perfect 12-0 vs. Holy Cross when playing at home.
-The Huskies are 28-3 all-time against the Patriot League opponents and have won 27 consecutive games against opponents from the Patriot League.
-UConn is 87-2 in its last 89 games at Gampel Pavilion.
-The Huskies have opened the season 6-0 for the fourth straight season and the 12th time in the last 13 seasons.
-UConn has won 92 consecutive games against non-ranked foes.
-UConn is 227-3 in its last 230 games against opponents not ranked in the AP Top 25.
-With tonight’s win, Connecticut owns a 21-game winning regular season winning streak against non-conference opponents.
-UConn will take a 10-day hiatus without a game for exams following tonight’s win over Holy Cross.
-UConn will play only one other home game in the month of December (31st vs. Hartford) following tonight’s meeting with Holy Cross.
-UConn outscored Holy Cross 28-4 over the opening 7:06.
-The four field goals made by Holy Cross in the first half are the fewest allowed by UConn in a half since December 29, 2007 against Hartford when it allowed two field goals in the second half.
-Renee Montgomery’s three 3-point field goals moved her past Maria Conlon (170 made) for seventh on the Huskies all-time list. Her current career total is 172.
-Caroline Doty was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc tonight and has made 10 consecutive three-point field goals dating back to November 25, 2008 against BYU (three-game span). This is a school record for consecutive three-pointers made. The NCAA record was 14 set by Deana Lansing of Portland in 1996.
-UConn has made at least one 3-point field goal in 224 consecutive games.
-Maya Moore’s 13 points marked her sixth game this season with double-figure points and the 42nd of her career. She has now scored in double figures in 42 of 44 career games.
-Caroline Doty’s 11 points marked her fourth career game in double figures.
-Renee Montgomery’s 13 points marked her 16th consecutive game with double-figure points and the 79th of her career.
-Jacquie Fernandes’ five points and four rebounds were both career highs. She also made her first career 3-point field goal.
-Tahirah Williams’ 17 points and seven rebounds were both career highs. This was also her first career game scoring in double figures.
-Kaili McLaren’s 10 points marked her second game this season scoring in double figure and the eighth of her career.
-Tiffany Hayes’ seven rebounds tied a career high.
-UConn has scored 90-plus points in five straight games. The last time it accomplished this feat was the first five games of the 1998-99 season.
-UConn had six players score in double figures tonight. The Huskies have had at least five players score in double figures in every game this season.
-Holy Cross was held without a field goal for a stretch of 16:13.
-UConn put together a 32-0 run, their longest of the season, over a stretch of 13:53 that spanned both halves.
-UConns 58-point win (96-37) was its largest margin of victory since defeating Stony Brook by 63 points on November 11, 2007 (98-35).
University of Connecticut
Remaining in focused in this game:
“You go into a game and you if you have the right mind set you are going to play well. If you don’t, you are going to struggle. We didn’t do anything differently to get ourselves ready from a mental standpoint for tonight then we did from Sunday night. I think that is one reason we were able to play the way we played. Obviously, Holy Cross is not the team we faced a couple years ago and other times. Neither are we. We played the way we want to play for the most part. It is going to be like this regardless of who we are playing or where we are playing.”
Coaching against a friend:
“I worry at times what the benefits are of something like this, if it is not beneficial for both. It is a 50-point game at halftime and you don’t want it to be like that. It is not an easy game to play. It is hard to come out of the locker room at halftime.”
Scoring run from the first to second half:
“I know they were missing one kid who played in the Missouri game and then [Bethany] O’Dell got hurt, I think, in the very first couple possessions. They were already, I think, behind the eight ball and it made it even more difficult to get the shots that they needed to get. Every shot they got was rushed. Whenever somebody doesn’t score for an extended period of time you can only attribute a little bit to the defense. I don’t think anybody’s defense is that good to keep people from scoring for twenty minutes. I gotta believe if you look at the tape you will see a lot of open shots they just didn’t make. But it does start to snowball when you get in that situation. I said this other day, I really believe this, the pressure to score when were making shots like we were in the first half today and last week. The pressure to score becomes so great for the other team every miss makes it a little more difficult to make the next when. Every time you miss you know you are going down three, six, nine and eleven. It makes the next shot much more difficult than it would have been, especially tonight.”
How do you feel after a game like tonight where you put up those types of numbers?
“It was basically doing what Coach told us to do in practice and play hard. It doesn’t matter who we play every night or if we’re playing against ourselves in practice. I’m just pretty happy about tonight.”
What does a game like this do for your confidence and do you think it can carry on the rest of the season?
“Hopefully – It will definitely help to boost my confidence and hopefully it does carry on throughout the season.”
Are these the type of moments you look forward to coming off the bench?
“Of course; it’s something I always look forward to, contributing and being a part of the team every time I come on the court when Coach calls my name. [I] always [have to] hustle, play hard, and do my job.”
Did you wonder at the beginning of the season what your role on the team was going to be?
“Basically my role as a player is to get Renee [Montgomery] and all the shooters open, be energetic and hustle, run the court, get rebounds and stuff like that. That’s what I look forward to doing every day.”
These past couple of games it seems you have adjusted yourself to the mix of these players, do you feel comfortable right now?
“I feel very comfortable. It’s easy because they are all such good players. I know that every one of them can draw my player to them which gives me an open spot so I can shoot the ball. My teammates make the game fun.”
Caroline, do you consider yourself a superior three point shooter if you were to evaluate yourself?
“I think before in high school, I was not really known to be a three point shooter. I have to adapt to my surroundings, and now I am trying to become a three point shooter.
Caroline, can you talk about the importance of coming out and playing this well coming off the big game against Oklahoma?
“I think it says a lot because Oklahoma was a huge win and I am still hyped about how well we played and how the turnout came to be. Just to come out the way we did was exciting. We had our goal to go on a run and we did that. It just shows that no matter what, we can do whatever we want.
College of the Holy Cross
Head Coach Bill Gibbons
How did Briana McFadden’s foul trouble affect the team?
“I think that (Briana) McFadden’s foul trouble coupled with (Bethany) O’Dell going out on the first play of the game. In the first couple minutes Renee (Montgomery) kicked her in the Achilles heel by accident and Renee went over and apologized to her. She tried to play on it but it just got worse and worse. It’s a bruised Achilles but we didn’t take any chances. So now you have McFadden in foul trouble, you have your second leading scorer on the bench in street clothes and your third leading scorer out of the game with an Achilles injury. We already up against it and now you don’t have your best players which makes it very difficult. I thought we competed much better, much harder and with much more passion and energy in the second half than we did the first half. Losing O’Dell meant more because she’s our leader on the court and our talker and I didn’t think we communicated at all in the first half which made it a lot worse.”
Can you compare this year’s UConn team to last year’s?
“I’ve been playing them for 25 years and I think last year they were much like this when we played them early. They had the two kids, Mel (Thomas) and Kalana (Greene), and they both got hurt. That lessened their depth. I think they were okay for a while, but it caught up with them as the season went on. This year I think they are just as good as that team if not better and as long as they can stay injury free I will predict right now they will win it all without question and have a great shot to go undefeated. I think they don’t have any weaknesses. They play great defense so they are going to be on every game because of their defense. If they shoot the ball the way they did against Oklahoma and the way they did against us, they are going to win games by a lot more.”
What do you take from a game like this?
“We’ve been doing this long enough and we have played them tougher in some games than others. We’ve gotten blown out, like tonight and others, but the one saving grace every time has been that no matter what the score read on the scoreboard that we became a better basketball team for having competed against the best in the country. Had we not played better in the second half I might be questioning that, but I thought we played with more energy, more talk. We call it Holy Cross intangibles and passion. If we can get better from that second half that’s what we will take from it, from playing against the best. I’ve done it every year that we have been in the Patriot league, which is now 19 years. We’ve made the final game of the Patriot league 15 times of the 18 years, which I am very proud of, and we have won it 11 times. I think the reasons are because we play Connecticut and the tough schedule that we play non-conference have made us better for our league which is our ticket to the NCAA’s.”