Huskies Blow Away A&M

HARTFORD, Conn. – There was a point Tuesday night midway through the game between No. 2 Connecticut and No. 8 Texas A&M when coach Gary Blair had his defending national champions playing zone defense.

"And then we were in HTM," Blair said. "You know what that is? Hope They Miss. That's all it was. Normally we can make people miss."

But there's nothing normal about going against the Connecticut women at this stage of the season. Not the way the Huskies (8-0) are playing. Not the way they play at home –whether it is Gampel Pavilion or the XL Center. The home winning streak is now 91 games after a very impressive 81-51 victory over the Aggies.

That "Hope They Miss" concept wasn't going to work – and Blair knew it. Six players scored in double figures as the Huskies shot 51.6 percent from the floor, 35 percent from three-point range, and 90.0 percent from the free throw line.

Tiffany Hayes and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis led the way with 14 points each. Kelly Faris and Bria Hartley each had 13. Caroline Doty was next with 11 and Stefanie Dolson had 10 points to go with nine rebounds and two blocks.

With UConn pressing on defense, attacking on offense and playing a pace that clearly exhausted the Aggies and forced Blair to burn timeouts in the second half, this turned out to be a lopsided affair.

"We just come out with high intensity," said Doty, who was 3-for-4 from three-point land. "We have plays that aren't based off of set things. It's more based off reading the defense. To know that we have so many threats, we always have five threats on the floor at all times. When there's an extra rebound or a hard screen or a backdoor cut, we're reading each other very well on offense. We just do whatever we need to win."

UConn scored 18 points in the first 6 ½ minutes of play, led 36-24 at halftime, and then gradually built the lead to 20 and then 30. UConn's biggest advantage was 33 (79-46) after two free throws by Brianna Banks (four points) with 1:55 to play. In addition to the balanced scoring, UConn had 24 assists on 32 baskets and only 11 turnovers.

Bria Hartley led UConn with eight assists. Hayes had seven and Faris six.

"I thought Tiffany and Kelly pretty much led the way and the rest of us followed," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "We do have a tendency to be careless with the ball but today we kept our composure and we let the offense flow. We weren't in a hurry to make a play.

"Just about everything was working today. If anybody said we expected to beat Texas A&M by 30 tonight, that's not realistic. But when you are willing to go at that pace for 40 minutes, I think the other team just gets a the point where they go, ‘I can't keep this up.' You can see it in their face sometimes."

UConn rode the hot hand of Faris to open up a 17-point lead in the first half. The Aggies then put together a mini-run at the end of the first half, outscoring the Huskies 7-2 in the final three minutes, to pull within 36-24 at halftime. Faris was 5-for-6 from the field, including a three-pointer, for 11 first-half points. She scored UConn's first five points, including that three-pointer – but Tyra White (14 points) matched her output and tied the game at 5.

"It's the team effort thing," Faris said. "Everybody is on the same page. We had fun out there. There were smiles, there was laughter and everyone was pumped up because is in synch with each other and we get things done.

"We feel good about it when we reflect on the practices we had that we worked on this, worked on it and worked on it and then it comes out in the game. Those are the things that get us going and keep us going throughout the game."

UConn's fullcourt press bothered the Aggies, who had 14 first-half turnovers. The Huskies converted those mistakes into 17 points. UConn also outscored A&M 14-8 in the paint. White was 4-for-10 from the field in the first half and the rest of the Aggies went 5-for-19.

"Teams that pressure do not like being pressured back," Blair said. "We lost our composure completely in the second half. There are so many things we need to fix. It's going to be a laundry list when we get back home.

"But there's been 91 other teams that got beat in this house. Geno has done an incredible job."

UConn vs. Maryland in 2012

UConn will be back in the Jimmy V Women's Classic in 2012 and will face Maryland on Monday, Dec. 3, with the site to be either the XL Center in Hartford or Gampel Pavilion in Storrs. ESPN made the announcement Tuesday in conjunction with The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The 11th annual game will be televised on ESPN2 the night before the men's Jimmy V Classic from Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The game will mark the first meeting between UConn and Maryland. The Huskies will be making their fifth appearance in the Jimmy V Women's Classic, while the Terrapins will appear for the second time, and first since 2007.

"UConn should be in the Jimmy V Classic every single year," Auriemma said. "Coach [Jim] Valvano was an assistant coach here with Dee Rowe and Dee still has tremendous ties to the family. I think there's a special bond between the UConn people and the Jimmy V people."


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