By Carl Adamec
HARTFORD, Conn. — Even at full strength, the Oakland (Mich.) women’s basketball team figured to have its hands filled with second-ranked UConn Wednesday night.
But without preseason Summit League Player of the Year Bethany Watterworth and leading scorer Olivia Nash, who are out with the injuries, the Golden Grizzlies could not compete.
All-American Bria Hartley has a season high 19 points as UConn has taken a 61-12 halftime lead over Oakland at the XL Center.
Coming off a 13-day break for fall semester final exams and after a stirring pregame ceremony to honor the 26 victims of the shooting last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, the Huskies delivered a quick knockout.
Hartley and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis opened the game with 3-pointers. Stefanie Dolson followed with a basket and six straight points by Hartley made it 14-0. At that point, UConn coach Geno Auriemma called off his team’s full-court pressure.
Not that it mattered. Oakland shot 8 percent (2 for 25) in the first half and only a 7-for-8 effort from the foul line got the Grizzlies into double figures.
Breanna Stewart, who came off the bench as Caroline Doty got the starting nod, added 10 points as did Mosqueda-Lewis. Heather Buck entered the contest with 4:47 left in the half, the 100th game of the fifth-year senior’s career.
UConn is short-handed on its bench as sophomore center Kiah Stokes (right shin) and freshman forward Morgan Tuck (right knee) are out with injuries.