No. 2 UConn women rout No. 8 Texas A&M 81-51
HARTFORD, Conn.—Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma has been pleasantly surprised by how well his team has been playing so far this season.
The second-ranked Huskies have run through their opponents, winning by an average of 43 points including Tuesday night's 81-51 win over No. 8 Texas A&M.
"We're a little bit ahead of where I thought we'd be," Auriemma said. "We talk a lot about how good we could be and right now we just keep trying to find that out."
Tiffany Hayes and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis each scored 14 points to lead a balanced offense in the Jimmy V Classic that saw six Huskies in double figures.
"We have a very well rounded team and we'll get it inside, we'll get it outside and hopefully that's harder to scout," said Kelly Faris, who had 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Huskies (8-0).
The victory was UConn's 91st straight at home, extending its NCAA record. The Huskies' last home loss came in the 2007 Big East championship game to Rutgers.
"It's too early to anoint them as a Final Four team," Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said. "I'd be greatly surprised if they aren't. We're not there yet."
Caroline Doty had 11 points as UConn put six players in double figures. She sat out the final 30 minutes of the Huskies' win over Towson on Nov. 30 after suffering a concussion. She showed no ill effects against the Aggies.
"Caroline was great tonight, was happiest for her she's been struggling so much," Auriemma said. "We got a lot of things we need to work on down the road."
UConn has opened up the season with eight straight home games. The only ranked team the Huskies played before Tuesday night was then-No. 3 Stanford, which UConn beat 68-58. They begin the Big East season at Seton Hall on Friday before a showdown with No. 1 Baylor on Dec. 18.
"We've been home. Kids haven't felt what it's like to play on the road," Auriemma said. "That will come on Friday then the Baylor game."
With the score tied 5-all, UConn went on a 20-6 run to take a 14-point lead with 8:17 left in the first half. Kelsey Bone's layup with 16:12 left was the Aggies' only basket during the burst as they missed 14 straight shots after that. White's jumper with 7:15 left in the half ended the drought, but Texas A&M could only get within 10 the rest of the half. Mosqueda-Lewis' 3-pointer with 3:16 left gave UConn a 34-17 advantage. The Huskies led 36-24 at the half.
Texas A&M pulled to 38-28 early in the second half, but UConn put the game away with a 12-2 burst. Hayes, Doty and Mosqueda-Lewis all hit 3s and Bria Hartley added a three-point play.
"It happens so quickly," Auriemma said. "I looked up and couldn't believe we were up 20-something."
Texas A&M (6-2) was coming off its first loss of the season, falling to then-No. 13 Purdue on Sunday. That was the first defeat for the defending national champions since they lost to Baylor in the Big 12 finals last March.
Tyra White scored 14 to lead Texas A&M. Sydney Carter had just two points. She came into the game having missed her last 15 shots. She missed her first 11 against UConn before finally converting a jumper with 9:28 left in the game that made it 63-43.
"I promise you it's a slump. nothing going on with her," Blair said. "Carter has to get better."
UConn had 24 assists on its 32 baskets.
It's the second straight season that the Aggies played in the Jimmy V Classic. They lost by three to Duke last season before going on to win their first national championship.
"We didn't do a good job out there," Blair said. "We'll get better. Don't give up on us. We weren't a whole lot better at this time last year and we turned into a pretty good ball club. We lost our composure out there in the second half, that's all correctable."
UConn has played in the event three previous times, losing its last two games against North Carolina in 2005 and 2006. The Huskies are locked in to play the next two years against Maryland in a home-and-home set.
"It's an awareness game," Auriemma said. "It's a game to make you aware of what the fight is and make you understand where the fight started, what's being done about it every day. UConn we should be in it every single year. There's a special bond with UConn people and Jimmy V people."
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