Dec. 21, 2011
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Connecticut bounced back from a rare regular season loss with a 48-point win on Wednesday night. But the No. 2 Huskies struggled to shoot, turned the ball over and generally expected a lot more after losing just their second regular season game in four years to No. 1 Baylor.
"Come out of a big loss like that and that's how we react? That's not a good sign for us," junior guard Kelly Faris said.
The Huskies (10-1) befuddled the College of Charleston in their 72-24 win. The Cougars (2-8) made just seven of their 49 shots (14 percent), turned the ball over 24 times and went 19 minutes without a field goal. Charleston's 24 points were just four away from the best defensive effort ever by the Huskies.
Connecticut's offense shot just 44 percent, committed 14 turnovers and had their lowest scoring first half of the season with just 27 points.
"It's an ongoing process. Three days ago we were beating the No; 1 team in the county with four minutes left in the game," Huskies coach Geno Auriemma said. "Now we're trying to find out how we get 11 new players in here because none of them are motivated."
The Huskies were coming off a 66-61 loss to top-ranked Baylor on Sunday and now haven't lost back-to-back games since March 1993 - a streak of 665 games that started two seasons before Auriemma won his first of seven national titles with the Huskies.
"The secret is in the scheduling. Never schedule a really good team after a really good team. So if things go bad, you have something to fall back on," Auriemma said. "That is one record I can't explain. There's nothing we talk about. After we lose a game we don't say, by the way, we don't lose two games in a row."
The hangover from the Baylor loss seemed to hang around at the start of this game. Connecticut missed its first nine shots, finally getting on the board when Faris hit a 3-pointer with 15:30 left in the first half. The Huskies never did trail, because Charleston didn't score its first points until Christy Hewitt hit a layup that made it 10-2 Connecticut with 11:35 to go in the opening half.
The Huskies held the Cougars scoreless for another eight-minute stretches in the first half, taking a 27-6 lead on Faris' second 3-pointer of the half with just over two minutes to go. They led 27-8 at the break, but it was still wasn't the Huskies' best defensive first half this season - they held Farleigh-Dickenson to five points earlier this year.
"We're pretty good at masking things. We can hide just about anything. We can hide it against any team we play, even at Baylor," Auriemma said.
Connecticut kept pouring it on in the second half, scoring the first 18 points of the half before Megan Fischer's 3-pointer cut the Huskies lead to 45-11 with 11:45 to go and ended Charleston's 19-minute streak without a field goal.
Jazz Green's 3-pointer with 1:46 to go cut Charleston's deficit to 66-23 and assured the Cougars wouldn't go down into Connecticut history as the opponent who scored the least against the Huskies. That still belongs to Quinnipiac, who scored just 20 against Connecticut in December 1998.
Green scored eight points, including back-to-back 3s late in the second half, while Fischer led Charleston with seven points.