UConn women roll over Cincinnati in AAC Tournament
UNCASVILLE - Let’s see, there was a question about team chemistry and one about Sunday’s opponent, East Carolina. Then there were a few inquiries dealing with Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ quest to become women’s college basketball’s all-time leading 3-point scorer and another 30 win season.
There were no questions about the game in the post-game press conference that took all of about 10 minutes. I mean what are you going to ask after UConn dusted Cincinnati, 93-34, in the 2nd annual Huskie Invitational at Mohegan Sun otherwise known as the American Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Championship.
Are you going to ask Geno what his strategy was in the second half? Or how did that man-to-man defense work? Nah. What you see is what you get and here’s an often repeated analysis that you can use in most UConn games.
The Huskies were impressive and in a totally another league than Cincinnati. Apologies to one of Geno’s former best, Bearcats coach Jamelle Elliot, who could only watch and be pained and maybe be real admiring deep down.
This is the third time the two teams have met and UConn has scored over 90 points in all three meetings while Cincinnati has not gotten out of the 30s, the final margins being, 65, 60 and 59 points.
“I thought except for the first three or four minutes we did a lot of really, really good things and out really good players played really good and that’s what you want this time of year,” said UConn coach Geno Aueriemma.
That’s about it in a nutshell. The Huskies were not challenged in any way, shape or form and now move on to play East Carolina (21-9), a 77-71 win over Temple in the early afternoon game at 5:30 Sunday.
But, there is beauty in this type of mundane and it was on display here. The Huskies’ passing was pristine and resulted in 26 assists on 37 baskets. If there was an open man UConn found the target with precision.
Six UConn players scored in double figures led by Mosqueda-Lewis with 18 points. Breanna Stewart followed with 13 points and Morgan Tuck, Moriah Jefferson and Gabby Williams all had 12 points apiece.
Mosqueda-Lewis was a terror in the first half, draining four 3-pointers while scoring all of her points.
“I think as a shooter you know when you’re hot obviously when the ball goes in. When it goes in, it goes in,” said Mosqueda-Lewis. “I think it is just the feeling you have. I felt really confident every shot I took in the first half. I just started off well.”
The Huskies shot 56 percent from the field (37-66). Stewart added 12 rebounds, recording her seventh double-double of the year. Meanwhile Jefferson narrowly missed a double-double with nine assists.
There was some defense, too. Cincinnati was limited to just 26 percent shooting (14-55) and Kiah Stokes registered three blocks to move past Tina Charles and into third place for most blocks in UConn history with 305.
This was a clinic with little drama and with the victory a 10th straight 30-win season (30-1). How important is that milestone to the Huskies?
“I think we really just want to play hard throughout the season and take it one game at a time so if you win every game and keep going then you end up getting to 30 wins, “ said Jefferson. “I think it is just important to try and play every game the same way.”
UConn handled East Carolina easily in their two meetings this season, posting an 89-38 win the first time around and then following that up with an 87-32 win Jan. 28. Still, Auriemma likes the matchup.
“(East Carolina) has a group of athletes they can put out on the floor that can play a number of different ways and not every team can do that. They do a really good job of forcing you to play their tempo,” said Auriemma. “They are not an easy team to play because they can do so many things. They can affect the game with defense and are a really, really good offensive rebounding team. This matchup I kind of like it.”