No. 4 UConn routs UVa 83-44, extends home winning
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — UConn won its first two games by 11 and 13 points and the players started hearing the talk that they will not be as dominant as Husky teams of the past.
They are tuning that out.
Megan Walker scored 15 of her 19 points in the first half and No. 4 UConn blew out Virginia 83-44 on Tuesday night, two days after routing Temple by 29 points.
“That was reminiscent of my freshman year when I was just watching, but now I’m a part of it,” Walker said. “You know, putting teams away, having fun, getting the crowd involved.”
Christyn Williams added 17 points for the Huskies (4-0), who extended their home winning streak to 96 games.
Senior Kyla Irwin had a career-high 13 points off the bench and freshman Anna Makurat had her best game as a Husky with 10 points.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma said he was excited for both those players, but more so for the idea that his team may be developing some depth.
“It doesn’t really matter who it is,” Auriemma said. “Our depth has to be somebody. It doesn’t matter who...we’re only asking them to do a little bit.”
Jocelyn Willoughby scored 13 points for Virginia (2-3), which was coming off a three-point loss at home to No. 13 Kentucky.
The Cavaliers took an early lead, going up 9-5 on a 3-pointer by Lisa Jablonowski, who had just two of those all last season on 20 attempts.
But that was the last field goal Virginia would get for 10 minutes.
UConn scored the next 17 points, taking the lead for good on a driving layup by Williams. The Huskies led 26-10 after the first quarter and scored the first seven points of the second quarter.
Virginia had just two field goals, both from 3-point range, in the second quarter and trailed 42-17 at halftime.
“We got a little tired, but they are good,” Virginia coach Tina Thompson said. “They are just really good. There is a reason they are the No. 4 team in the country. All though our kids played hard, they are a lot.”
Olivia Nelson-Ododa, in foul trouble for much of the first half, scored seven of her nine points in the third quarter as the Huskies extended the lead to 64-34. UConn’s center added four blocked shots, giving her 17 for the season.
But while she was on the bench, Irwin filled in admirably. The 6-2 senior hit all four of her shots, pulled down six rebounds and dished out five assists.
“I’m so happy that now I have this expectation that I’m going to come off the bench and do something,” Irwin said. “I think we’re capable of some really good things this season.”
Virginia: The Cavaliers came into the game giving up just 54 points per game and holding opponents under 32 percent shooting. UConn got its 54th point midway through the third quarter.
UConn: The Huskies have not lost a home game since falling to then top-ranked Baylor at the XL Center in February, 2013. They haven’t lost on campus in Storrs since January, 2013, when they fell by a point to Notre Dame.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
UConn scored 20 points off 19 Virginia turnovers. The Huskies gave the ball away 10 times, but those turnovers did not result in a single point for the Cavaliers.
It wasn’t exactly the Macarena, but you might call it the Makurat-rena. Auriemma threw his arms in the air and did a pirouette when Makurat hit her first 3-pointer of the season in the first half. The Polish sharpshooter had been 0 of 10 from behind the arc coming into the game. She was 2 of 6 on Tuesday.
“(He’s) always sarcastic,” she said. “I finally hit it. Maybe he was happy? I don’t know.”
HE SAID IT
Auriemma noted that while the Huskies have struggled at times this season, they are undefeated and that seems to be getting lost in the comparisons to the past.
“It’s interesting the way we look at it, because of what we expect and the way outside people look at it,” he said. “So, we’re going to have to change our lenses.”
Virginia: The Cavaliers head home to face two in-state rivals, Old Dominion on Sunday and James Madison on Nov. 30.
UConn: The Huskies head out on a three-game road trip beginning with a game at Ohio State on Sunday.
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