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UConn Women rout Temple

POSTED January 11, 2014
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

BRIDGEPORT - The UConn women's basketball team makes you pay for your mistakes and Temple found that out the hard way Saturday afternoon.

The Huskies had 21 steals and 14 blocks while four players scored in double figures in an 80-36 rout of the Owls at Webster Bank Arena.

UConn doesn't come to this neck of the woods often and the Fairfield County fans really turned out to see the top-ranked Huskies. A record-tying crowd of 9,274 packed the arena and did not go home disappointed.

Bria Hartley led UConn (15-0, 4-0 American Athletic) with 19 points. Hartley hit three 3-pointers and had four steals. Moriah Jefferson had a strong game with 13 points, six assists and four steals and Breanna Stewart (12 points) and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (11 points) also reached double figures.

Temple (8-7, 2-3) hung around for the first 15 minutes or so but ended up making too many mistakes. The Owls had 27 turnovers and were eventually overwhelmed by the Huskies' defensive pressure.

"I liked our approach and we were able to hang in there and really compete for about the first 15 minutes or so," Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said. "Unfortunately the game is 40 minutes and they just had too many weapons for us. We had way too many turnovers and it started to snowball on us and once it got rolling we couldn't stop it."

Stewart scored in the lane to give the Huskies their first double-digit lead, 24-14, with 9:09 left in the first half. UConn pushed the lead to 39-22 at the half and then erased any hopes of a Temple comeback early in the second half.

The Huskies scored the first six points of the second half in 1:31. Jefferson was the focal point, recording three steals and a layup during that mini run that ballooned into a 28-5 surge over the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Jefferson was aggressive on both ends of the floor all game long. She harassed Temple's guards up and down the floor and found room to operate on the offensive end, scoring on drives or finding open teammates.

"Moriah set the tone for us defensively to start the second half and we really just played off her," Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. "Defensively we have been good just about all season and we were especially good in the second half today."

Hartley (11 points) and Jefferson (8) set the tone in the first half as UConn's weapons inside Stefanie Dolson and Breanna Stewart got into foul trouble with three and two fouls respectively. Hartley and Jefferson picked up the slack offensively and Kiah Stokes came off the bench and solidified the lane and had eight rebounds and two blocks in the first 20 minutes.

Stokes finished with 18 boards and three blocks to go along with six points.

"Kiah did a great job rebounding the ball and blocking shots," Auriemma said. "She does those things well and she really works hard at those things so that never surprises me. Once she gets more assertive on the offensive end then she'll really have something going."

Nine different Huskies scored in this one while Erica Covile led the Owls with 13 and was the only Temple player in double figures. 

Connecticut next plays on Monday at No. 9 Baylor. The Bears will be the sixth ranked team The Huskies have played this and Connecticut has won its first five matchups with ranked teams by an average of 22 points and no ranked team has come closer than 17.

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