By Carl Adamec
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Over the past two decades, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team has had a knack of playing to a sellout or school-record crowd.
Whether it be Holy Cross or Boston College in New England, Tennessee or Georgia down south, Oklahoma in the midwest, or just about anywhere in the Big East, the Huskies have a way of shining when the lights are on.
Saturday’s game against the University of Hartford, UConn’s first in-state road game in 21 years, was no exception.
The second-ranked Huskies placed five players in double figures, led by Breanna Stewart’s season high 27 points, as they walloped Hartford 102-45 before a sellout crowd of 3,508 at Chase Family Arena.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (21), Kelly Faris (18), Bria Hartley (15), and Stefanie Dolson (10) joined Stewart in double figures.
UConn (10-0) led wire to wire. Hartford, coached by former UConn star Jennifer Rizzotti, was within 12-7 on a beautiful move by Alyssa Englert with 14:38 left before the Huskies broke it wide open.
Stewart and Mosqueda-Lewis combined for 13 points in an 18-0 run that put the Huskies ahead by 23. After a free throw by Englert, UConn put together eight unanswered points including six by Faris to make it 38-8. Two free throws by Stewart accounted for the 51-15 halftime score.
Hartford (8-3) got no closer than 35 in the second half. Daphne Elliott had all of her team high 10 points in the first half for the Hawks.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma has never lost a game (35-0) against a team that had one of his former players or assistant coaches as a head or assistant coach. He is also 29-0 against in-state opponents since taking over in Storrs in 1985.
It was the first in-state road game for the Huskies since they beat Fairfield 60-58 on Dec. 10, 1991. Pam Webber’s 3-point basket with 45.5 seconds left erased a one-point and capped a 10-2 game-closing run. It was also UConn’s first trip to Chase Family Arena since Dec. 23, 1990. The Huskies received 18 points from Wendy Davis and a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds from Kerry Bascom in a 57-43 win.
Up next for UConn is No. 1 Stanford a week from today at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal faced No. 10 Tennessee in Knoxville in a 4 p.m. start.