Dec. 9, 2011
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SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (AP) - No. 2 Connecticut delivered a swift knockout Friday night, scoring the first 20 points in a 70-37 victory over Seton Hall. But the Huskies also had an offensive funk that the Hall of Fame coach hadn't seen from his young team all season.
"It was really weird," Auriemma said. "I was saying the first 10 minutes was kind of productive, we got some things done. Everything else was a struggle. I don't know how to describe it, there was no rhythm or flow to it. A lot of missed shots. Maybe it's this gym. A lot of times we come down here and it's not exactly stellar basketball."
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Tiffany Hayes and Caroline Doty had 15 points apiece for Connecticut, which next faces No. 1 Baylor on Dec. 18.
The nation's top two teams met last season in Hartford and UConn came away with a one-point victory.
"I think we have a couple things we need to work on this week in practice," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "We'll be ready by that date."
On Friday, there was no such drama.
The Huskies (9-0, 1-0 Big East) quickly took the spirited crowd out of the game. UConn hit four 3-pointers during the opening burst, and Kiah Stokes capped the run with a layup 7 minutes into the game.
"We have better offensive players than they do," Auriemma said. "For us it was getting the right people enough shots in the beginning. Our pressure got us some shots."
It took another minute before the Pirates (5-5, 0-1) got their first points - two free throws by Alexis Brown. Seton Hall's first basket didn't come until its 14th shot with 8:27 left in the first half when Brittany Morris converted a three-point play. That made it 30-5. The Pirates wouldn't get within 22 the rest of the game.
"The press was the difference, you can't prepare for Connecticut's pressure," Seton Hall coach Anne Donovan said. "You can prepare with your own players, but it doesn't simulate what you see game time. The difference of the game after that point was he took the press off. We talked long and hard about taking care of the basketball. We didn't take care of that from the beginning to the end."
UConn opened the season with eight straight home games and ran through its opponents. The Huskies won by an average of 43 points, including a 30-point rout of No. 8 Texas A&M on Tuesday night.
Playing its first road game did give UConn a little trouble in the second half. After Bria Hartley's layup with 15:34 left made it 55-23, the Huskies went more than 9 minutes without a point as Seton Hall was able to cut the deficit to 23. Hartley finally ended the drought with a lay-in with 6:25 remaining and the Huskies cruised the rest of the way.
"There's no excuse for the offensive players we have to go without scoring, that's inexcusable," Auriemma said. "We're too good to do that. We're too good a team to throw it at the rim and run back."
After taking a few days off for exams, the Huskies will travel to Waco to face the Lady Bears before heading to the College of Charleston.
The Huskies have won 56 straight Big East regular-season games. It's the fourth longest conference streak ever, trailing Texas, which won 124 consecutive games in the Southwest Conference from 1981-1990. The Huskies have dominated the Pirates over the last 18 years, winning 43 of the last 44 meetings. The lone loss came on Jan. 5, 1994.
Jasmine Crew scored 12 points for Seton Hall.
"It felt good to have the students come out and support us," Crew said. "Hopefully they'll continue to do that."
The game featured the last two Olympic coaches. Donovan led the U.S. team to gold in the 2008 Beijing Games, while Auriemma will coach the Americans next year in London.